“ Brand: Rotastak / Type: Exercise ball for hamsters and gerbils „
A hamster as a pet costs very little when you go to buy one, at around £6.00 - £10.00 they are an affordable little critter to buy and can provide much enjoyment for their owners. We have owned our Syrian Hamster, George for coming up to 2 years now and in that time has become a welcome addition to our home and family. Whilst hamsters themselves are cheap it's the other things you have to buy which can end you costing you a lot of money in the long run, they need a cage in which to live, sawdust to scurry around on, food to eat, bedding to sleep in and plenty of stimulation so that they don't become bored. Go into any Pets at Home store and there are shelves dedicated to toys and treats specifically designed for our furry little friends.
Exercise for a hamster is just as important to them as it is to humans and in most cases the cages that you can buy come equipped with a wheel which enables your hamster to run around to his heart's content. All hamsters seem to enjoy the monotony of running in one fixed spot for hours on end and George is particularly keen on his wheel which he makes a bee-line for the moment he wakes up. To give George something different to do and new places to investigate and see we bought him a play ball from Rotastak, a big, well known name in the pet industry - this on one hand was a great idea as the sound of George ceaselessly running in his wheel can try the most patient of people but on the other hand you are faced with the prospect of a hamster encaged in a plastic ball with little sense of direction and a fondness for bashing into anything and everything in its path.
The Play Ball is essentially a large, moulded plastic ball with a removable top which turns and locks into place. It is easy to open only requiring a twist of the wrist and your hamster can simply be placed within the interior. There are long cut out, grooved sections on the body of the ball itself presumably for ventilation and to allow air to get to your animal but are not as wide as a little foot can get trapped or stuck. They come in a variety of different colours (Georges is yellow) and are packaged as illustrated above and cost around £5.00 (see what I mean about additional costs?) which seems reasonable enough for what it is actually designed for.
I no longer have the 'directions for use' sheet that came with Georges ball but I seem to recall that it is recommended that hamsters should not be kept within the balls confines for more than 20 minutes at a time. Why specifically 20 minutes I'm not too sure, as George is more than happy to run around in his wheel for hours on end so why it isn't recommended to allow extended periods of use in a play ball I don't really understand, however we do try to stick to this recommendation and so George is allowed to be let loose for 20 minutes at a time on a regular occurrence.
Suffice to say George absolutely adores his play ball and the experience it offers him. Hamsters are naturally inquisitive and mischievous creatures anyway so it should come as no surprise to see that once they are placed within their ball that they shoot around getting into places which they really shouldn't. George is particularly fond of chasing our other pet around, a Yorkshire Terrier called Barney and it's a comical sight to see Barney darting around with a hamster in a ball in hot pursuit after him. Barney will tolerate so much before he becomes fed up being tormented and lets George know that he has had enough with a gentle nudge with his nose and resigning himself to relative safety on the sofa. This leaves George will a free path in front of him and he makes the most of the experience of having a good old explore and will happily roam from room to room seeking out dark corners in which to investigate.
The only downside with the play ball as far as I can see is nothing to do with the design or functionality of the item itself but more to do with the fact that a Hamster doesn't care where he bashes the ball into. If, therefore, you have nicely decorated walls or freshly painted skirting boards or doors don't expect your hamster to pay any attention to such minor details as they will happily crash into anything that dares to get in the way. George also has a habit of following us around so also be aware that the ball can hurt when it is propelled into your ankle so do bear in mind that you need to pay attention as to where it actually is, we have had more near misses at almost treading on the ball than anything else in our home which certainly makes it as much an experience for us as it is for George.
On balance though I do think these are a great idea, the play ball is durable with no sharp edges around the opening and can be easily cleaned out if your hamster decides to use one as a toilet. They are fun for both your pet and you and we have spent many an occasion watching George in his ball get up to mischief and he obviously loves it. We have never had an escaped Hamster on our hands when George is in his ball but judging by other reviews this can happen in some circumstances, whether George's ball is a different design or a newer or older model than some others I'm not sure - it is definitely a Rotastak one though.
Definitely recommended by me for any Hamster/Gerbil owner (the ball is suitable for either) the Rotastak Play Ball can be found in Pets at Home and independent pet shops although there are other makes available all offering the same product but in different packaging.
4/5 dooyoo stars seems fair to me, George loves his and we enjoy letting him loose around our home in it - do make sure that it is secure and you shouldn't have an escapee on your hands would be my advice.
When I first got my hamster, Colin from Pets & Home I had no clue really about the things he needed. Sure I owned a hamster once when I was younger but had pretty much forgotten about how to look after one! As a 36 year old adult wanting a small pet for my new home, my friend bought him for me and it was up to me to get what we needed and I rushed around the store spending lots of money and alot on very pointless stuff too I may add!
I bought him a Pets At Home ball in bright green which cost me about a fiver and he loved it. I'm a great fan of giving Colin his space and freedom as much as possible however I got sick of seeing him in a rather small bright green plastic ball that gave me a headache watching him due to its bright colour and as he got bigger he looked too fat for it, I couldn't see him properly which annoyed me greatly and he kept doing a Houdini and escaping it as the ends which open to get him in and out of just fell off and I'd spend ages having to track the wee devil down which then became a game to him and a worry for me!
I spotted this Rotstak Play Ball in Asda one night costing £3.82 and decided to get it. The option I purchased in it is appealed because it was see through, clear plastic and it had purple plastic click in ends and looked a bit bigger, more secure and robust for a hamster that likes bashing into anything within sight!
This plastic ball came in a clear plastic bag in two parts and these came hanging in store with a red and blue card to the top of. Simply on the front of that card we are told that it is Rotastak Play Ball 'For small Pets' and on the back of it contact details for Rotastak are given. You don't need loads of information about this or anything cos as soon as you open up the bag its all self explanatory even for an idiot (like me) lol.
The Ball Itself:
Comes in 2 halves as I have previously mentioned and it simply fits together by slotting it and clicking it in. It's round of course being a ball and you can always take it apart for easy cleaning. Be aware as well that although I own the clear option these do come in a variety of colours for you to choose from.
The ball is well ventilated with slots to it and there are like ingrained windows to it and its wipe clean. To both ends of the ball there are openings and sections that twist off to put your rodent in and then when its inside you simply twist them round to secure them into place and that is it.
It is recommended that you give your pet no more than 20 minutes out of an hour exercise in one of these balls which isn't stated on the packaging but something I have read in my hamster care books! Like us they need rests and potty breaks!
Colin loves this! Its of decent size and I like this one better than his old ball because its more sturdy and has a bit of weight to it which means he has to work slightly harder, thus getting some good exercise to make it move. Also the vents on this not being holes and more like very thin slots means when he poops (which he loves to do in his ball!) said poo doesn't go over my flooring and cos I can see through it well I can see when he's pooped to wipe it clean. They are ever so easy to wipe down too as they are smooth nd thick and no matter how hard he thumps around the walls and furniture etc it has never once collapsed on him.
However the openings to the sides of the ball which is how you get your rodent in and out can fall off and Houdini once again legs it. They work themselves free over time with being pressed and rolled on so I can't leave him unsupervised for a minute but they are not flimsy and this isn't a regular occurrence to be fair to the ball and I do on the whole find the ball to be very secure.
If Colin likes this then so do I. I hate to see him bored in his cage and he gives himself amusement and me greatly. Its a bit noisy when he clatters this around the room with it being plastic however it keeps him amused, fit and healthy so thats good enough for me!
Expect to pay about £4.00 a ball and like I stated earlier these do come in different colour options and I got ours in Asda.