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Old 02-11-2020, 11:45 AM   #1
Nakuzo
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Question Quick question about free roaming

About free-roaming, is the purpose to let the hamster run freely in my room or should I also add some toys, climbs, tunnels, etc? Will a big open hamster friendly (but mostly empty) space work?
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:52 AM   #2
sushi_78
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Default Re: Quick question about free roaming

The idea is to let the hamster run semi-freely (you'll probably want to restrict them to one room), but you can certainly put out toys and tunnels for them. Some dwarfs in particular might struggle with a big open space, I know mine would be really traumatised if I tried to let her free roam. If you notice your hamster sticking close to the walls, hiding or even refusing to move, that's probably a sign they are frightened by the open space, and they might do better in a smaller play pen.
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:56 AM   #3
LunaTheHamster1
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Default Re: Quick question about free roaming

It can be a bit of both. Depends on the hamster, some hamsters may be scared of a big open space so you may need to add things in the space. I can do both with my hamsters, sometimes i just let them run free in the hallway where there is just my shoes to run around and over, and a curtain to run behind (be careful they can't climb it!!!), other times I will add a load of items for them to run around in/over and a wheel.
I also use my conservatory in the summer which is full of my yoga bolsters/cushions which they like to hide/run around in. Again, I also add their own things and a wheel.
In the winter I use a big plastic storage box which is full of toys for them.
Experiment, I would say if your hamster moves around slowly, close to the floor and doesn't relax, or stays closely to the sides they may need more things to cover the floor space up a bit.
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:58 AM   #4
Nakuzo
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Default Re: Quick question about free roaming

Quote:
Originally Posted by sushi_78 View Post
The idea is to let the hamster run semi-freely (you'll probably want to restrict them to one room), but you can certainly put out toys and tunnels for them. Some dwarfs in particular might struggle with a big open space, I know mine would be really traumatised if I tried to let her free roam. If you notice your hamster sticking close to the walls, hiding or even refusing to move, that's probably a sign they are frightened by the open space, and they might do better in a smaller play pen.
Definitely not little Oscar. He usually runs non stop to all directions and climbs everything.
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:27 PM   #5
sushi_78
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Default Re: Quick question about free roaming

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Originally Posted by Nakuzo View Post
Definitely not little Oscar. He usually runs non stop to all directions and climbs everything.
In that case he'd probably love free roaming. I would suggest starting with some toys and hides scattered around until you find out what he likes.
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Old 02-11-2020, 06:30 PM   #6
Chicleteer
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Default Re: Quick question about free roaming

I used to let my hamster free-roam in a blocked-off area (a hallway) where I could sit on the floor with her. I agree with the others that an open space can be a bit scary for a ham, and what I did was make lots of tunnels out of cardboard (what I used was empty cartons from ten-packs of canned soda or seltzer that I cut and made into long triangular tunnels that don’t roll around) and she loved them. She would run from one to the next to the next to the next.... you get the idea. I think having things for your ham to explore is a great idea for free-roam space. Good luck!
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Old 02-18-2020, 06:53 AM   #7
Shadow Cat
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Default Re: Quick question about free roaming

My hamster can't seem to get enough space and it's a problem. She's escaped from her playpen by lifting up the sides so I'm looking into constructing a sturdier pen but haven't had the time yet. Yesterday I cleaned her cage and it was a race against time before she was loose! I'd love to just let her free roam in my bedroom but it's not an option, the room is too big and my bed is in the middle of the floor with too much stuff stored underneath. I'd never see her again! I haven't really handled her much yet either so catching her would be problematic.

She seems happy enough in her cage but whenever I take her out she's like FREEDOM!!!!! and goes a bit nuts.

Last edited by Shadow Cat; 02-18-2020 at 07:01 AM.
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Old 02-18-2020, 04:20 PM   #8
Vierville
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Default Re: Quick question about free roaming

If you have any plug extensions on the floor, make sure you cover them up or put children's plug protectors over them. Little hamster feet can easily go into one of those holes.

I would also provide some sheltered spots where your hamster can hide if they get scared of being in the open.
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Old 02-18-2020, 05:22 PM   #9
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Quick question about free roaming

Ours tend to stay round the edges of the room - go under the stairs, behind the sofa. I think they are less interested in toys when free roaming but like to have something to go under or behind (Newt liked to sit behind our laptop trays which are propped up against the wall). Some of it depends on the hamster. Newt would go anywhere and wasn't scared of anything. Current two tend to stay near one end of the room - not scared but like the darker area. They are very much in foraging mode when free roaming and will pouch anything so check the floors first. Scattering the odd treat would be fun for them to find. The also seem to pick the grungiest bits they can find! Embarrassing when they end up with a cobweb on their head.
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:20 PM   #10
Ria P
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Default Re: Quick question about free roaming

I doubt that a big open space would work because hamsters naturally look for somewhere to take shelter or hide in.

My Syrian didn't like the big playpen with various toys and would just sit and sulk most of the time. I tried him on our big bed and the first time he froze so i put him back in his cage. I tried again about a week later with me laying or sitting on the bed and he was fine with that but kept running to the edge and i was worried that he'd jump off before i could catch him.

The solution was free roaming in the spare room which doubles as a guest/motorcycle gear room. I checked this room inch by inch, made sure that all sockets were switched off and any cables out of reach. When he is in the mood for out of cage time which doesn't often happen, he will zoom along the edges of the room, strip wallpaper in a particular corner where i've placed a large cardboard envelope now so he can strip that instead and generally enjoy himself exploring. There are no hamster toys on the floor because he climbs in and out of boots, sits under a helmet to groom and munch seeds (he keeps a hoard in the helmet!) and he runs along under the futon and sits under motorcycle seats on the floor.
Two dwarf hamster live in this room now so there's usually a spillage of seeds on the floor for him to forage for.

My suggestion to you would be to try out various hamster friendly options to see what works for your hamster. Best to try an option more than once because a hamster may be cautious of something new but the second time it may feel familiar and be ok. If your hamster gets frightened or scared put him back in the cage immediately and try again in a few days. If he absolutely hates something abandon the mission altogether of course.
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