Safe indoor exercise for rodents and rabbits
Out of the cage and into the wilderness of the living room – rodent owners should let their pets out regularly, at best daily, to ensure that they receive sufficient exercise and stimulation. There are however a few things to keep in mind, says the team of experts from Maxi Zoo.
Hide electric cables
Electric cables from lamps, stereos or TVs represent a great source of danger for small animals that love to gnaw. You should therefore make these as inaccessible as possible, either by hiding them behind furniture or under a rug or with cable ducts from a DIY store. These serve as a protective covering for dangerous electric cables and can also be used for several cables at once.
Pack away gnawable objects
Get rid of all objects that your rodent could find and get their teeth into in the room that they are let out, particularly potentially dangerous objects. This includes everything made of plastic, styrofoam, rubber and so on.Guinea pigs or >rabbits can get hold of a plastic bag or a mouthful of a chair leg without coming to any harm, but you should nonetheless not take any risks. Offer alternative objects to gnaw on in the exercise area – rodent cobs, untreated wood or simply a handful of hay.
Move poisonous plants out of reach
Many indoor plants are poisonous for pets (ivy, the arum family, rubber trees, yucca palms, members of the spurge family like poinsettias, nightshades). Ever-hungry rodents don’t know the difference and will try them as soon as they get their paws on a leaf. For rabbits and guinea pigs, it is enough to put rubber plants etc. high up and out of reach. Just make sure that animals do not get hold of leaves that have fallen down. For skilled climbers like chinchillas or rats, the best thing to do is to banish poisonous plants from the exercise room.
Furniture, stairs and doors
There should be as few cracks and holes as possible in the room, especially if you have small animals. If a hamster disappears behind a cupboard, you might never see it again! Seal up all suspicious holes and block stairs. Don’t tilt windows open when animals are free and take care when opening and closing doors as guinea pigs like to follow their owners and wait behind doors! For hamsters or degus, it is better to build your own “outdoor enclosure”. You can set this up in the room do that your pet can let off steam without risk of electric shock or falling. In any case, you should never leave small animals unsupervised (for too long).
Dogs and cats do not belong in the exercise room! Even when your pets appear to otherwise understand, a loose small animal can awaken their hunting instincts. Guinea pigs in particular are easily frightened and prone to panic, even if the dog or cat really only wants to have a sniff. Never count 100% on “animal friendships”, especially not between hunters and potential prey.
Call into your local store today to discuss your small animals personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts