Hamster Agility Equipment
Any items you use as agility equipment for your hamster needs to be stable enough for the animal's weight and have no sharp edges. The pieces of equipment need to be the right size too. Some Rat or Rattie Agility pieces of equipment may work for your full sized hamster but for the most part these items or pieces will be too large. You may be able to use a couple of items a mouse would use for agility for your full sized hamster, but most of these items will be too small. Just like Goldie Locks, your hamster needs the right sized pieces of agility equipment.
You can buy items already made up or make some yourself.
Items as simple as a empty cardboard paper towel roll can become an Open Tunnel or a Sea Saw Tunnel.
Most hamsters, like guinea pigs do not do much jumping...it is more about climbing. So it is very important that the equipment will hold their weight in a stable manner.
Hamsters can and do walk Balance Beams, but keep the piece lower to the ground then you would for, say a rat, as the Hamster does not have the long tail for balance. Make sure the Balance Beam also has a wide platform for the hamster to walk down.
This jump is made with a small dog toy tire tire and frame. It is one of the cutest pieces (in my opinion). It must have a stable frame to hold the gerbils weight should the gerbil climb through this piece, in training, rather then jumping through it.
The rope on top of this jump will be cut when I am sure just where I want the tire to hang.
Same basic Jump as the one above but made with any type hoop....needs to be very stable.
Hoop Jumps are jumps that the animal jumps through. It may have a round or triangle or even square are rectangle shape to it. The "hoop" could also be called a "ring". For hamsters many items could be used for the hoop.
The hoop of the jump is a separate piece that has a stand of some sort. Many are very decorative. The hoop may be attached with glue or screws or tied on with ribbon or string.
Most animals will easily be taught to jump through a Hoop Jump.
The Hoop Jump is such a fun piece for the spectators to see and watch the animals jump through. You may want to decorate not only the frame, but also the hoop itself.
Bar Jumps can come in many shapes and sizes. The important thing is that they stable and set for a fair height. Hamsters will not jump over the jumps like a gerbil or a rat will so you will need to keep the bars a bit lower for them.
The Bar Jumps should also be the right size for the animal. In other words, you would not want to use a set of Bar Jumps for your Gerbil or Hamster that were made for a Rabbit. A Dwarf Hamster might need smaller Bar Jumps then a Gerbil would. Certainly a Dwarf Hamster would need smaller equipment then a rat.
Bar Jumps are made so that the bars are adjustable. Each side of the jump must match the other so that the adjustments are even when set up.
These Bar Jumps (for any agility species) are usually where you see the Agility Art, if you will, on the Agility Course. Bar Jumps are often times wood cut out shapes and painted in detail. Many times the bars themselves are part of the art.
STATIONARY BAR JUMPS
Stationary Bar Jumps are made basically like a Bar Jump, but the bars are glued to the jump itself. They are not adjustable.
This Bar Jump is made with colored Popsicles Sticks and is stationary enough to support a gerbil, hamster, mouse, or young/baby rat.
Most hamsters (and mice) climb the jumps rather then jumping over them while running an agility course.
OTHER TYPES OF STATIONARY BAR JUMPS
This little wooden alphabet blocks are just the right size, stable and fun, you can write out notes or names or just silly words if you like.
This is a fun one for me....you may get a kick out of this if you knew...my husband's initials are DK.
WIRE "A" FRAME
For this Wire A Frame you may want to use a smaller sizing in the webbing of the wire. I like the larger wire as it teaches the smaller animals to reach (LOL once you teach them not to go through the wire and hang upside down)
These are two I use (photos coming soon). The first is approx 8" x 5" and is bent over at the first "squares" of the wire. I have found this size to be great for teaching the young ratties for the first time on a Wire A Frame.
The second is approx. 8" x 8" and is also folded at the first "squares". Both of these I have painted red with spray paint.
An "A" Frame is a "walk", if you will, that from the end is shaped like a capital letter A. It has some sort of planks, slats, or steps for the animal to climb up one side and down the other.
This piece is usually a favorite with animals....dog, cats, rats, mice, most animals really enjoy scaling the "A" Frame.
This is a fun "piece". Yes, Piece. All of the pools together make one piece.
The set of polls usually number from 5 to 7. The hamster weaves through them first to the left then to the right and so on.
For Hamsters I have seen many items used for hamsters. This can be set up as simple as pencils set into Playdough.
Make sure your stand or platform for the polls is sturdy and is holding the polls well enough so that if the hamster would happen to bump into them as it weaves through it would not knock any over.
For an Open Tunnel for a young (small) rat or a Hamster or Gerbil, 2" PVC pipe works well. It is light weight, easy to clean and can be painted or decorated if you desire.
Or you can use a fabric Open Tunnel. This one is a McDonald's Restaurant fabric print with purple polar fleece lining. It is approx.5 1/2" long with a 2 1/4" opening. It is machine or hand washable and I can let it air dry.
Toilet Paper rolls can be decorated and used, just watch for pee spots and start with a new one as needed.
The Closed Tunnel should have one end open and a drape in the "fabric" with a closed end.
This one I use for my hamster and gerbil. It is approx 10 1/2" long with a 2 1/2" opening. It is made with polar fleece that is washable.
Keep Balance Beams low for Hamsters. Make sure the platforms are at least 3" wide so that the hamster does not fall off the side while going across it.
A Teeter Totter is a smaller teeter Sea Saw. The Teeter Totter should be taught to your hamster long before teaching the Sea Saw.
A Teeter Totter should be approx 2" x 12" - 18". The pivot or teeter should not be any taller then 1 1/2" tall. 1" would be highly recommended.
Everyone loves to see the animals enjoying the Teeter Totter and the Sea Saw. There is a lot you can do to decorate the piece to make it fancy. Decorating however is not near as important as keeping it clean, so a coat or two of paint is necessary.
For a hamster you do not want the teeter of the Sea Saw too tall. Hamsters are made differently then a rat or a gerbil and they climb most of the equipment because they do not have the balance that the tailed rodents do.
Personally, for the safety of the hamster I think a Teeter Totter is high enough for a hamster to use.
If you do decide to build or buy a Saw Saw for a Hamster, the platform of the Sea Saws needs to be a minimum of 3" wide. A good length would be approx 15 - 18" long. I would sure not make this item too tall.
SMALL ANIMAL SEVEN PIECE AGILITY SET
This seven piece set (including the plastic storage box the items come it) is a great starter set for gerbils, regular and dwarf hamsters, mice, mouse, a small or very young rat, rattie, rats.
It comes with two Stationary Bar Jumps, one with two bars the other with three bars, a Triangle Hoop Jump, an A Frame, and a Open Tunnel as well as a Closed Tunnel.
While not competition equipment, still fun and functional and great for training and having a great time at home or with friends that also own small animals. It is also recommended for entertaining friends and family with your small pets antics!!
We sell these in our on site stores to encourage people to get started in this fun and exciting sport....small animals love the equipment and the time spent with you.
You can use it just as it is and or add jumps and other equipment as your small pet learns to manover the course you set up for it.
The contents of this page for Hamster Agility Equipment is still under construction. This site will be a work in progress, please check in often!
-- The Gerbil Agility Team
Tue, 11 Mar 2008 20:04:12 -0400