Bird Toys for Small Pets

by Keri K. on December 8, 2010

Ophelia and Marinka, two of my former rats

Ophelia and Marinka, two of my former rats

Before I had ferrets (and then added cats, and then a dog), I kept several rats as pets. I’ve had a whole colony of mice, too. They’re all smart, social, inquisitive little critters that deserve much more than a cage with nothing but wood shavings for a home. Luckily, there are lots of options out there now to help bring fun and function to your small rodent’s life.

One of the greatest resources I found when “decorating” my rats’ habitat was the section of bird toys. Not every toy intended for a bird is safe for a rat, hamster or mouse, of course, but it’s pretty easy to find many that are. Since most are designed to hang, they won’t take up valuable cage floor space and will stay nice and clean longer too. Plus, many add a splash of color that brightens up any cage.

SAFE small pet toy materials:

  • Wood
  • Sisal
  • Paper
  • Cotton
  • Stainless steel (like toy hanging chains, or bells)
  • Hard acrylic plastic

AVOID toys with rubber or soft plastic (like beads, which are often found on toys made for smaller birds like parakeets or cockatiels).

Toys should be multipurpose! Here are some great roles they can fill, along with a few of my favorite bird toy examples:

CHEWING – A rodent’s teeth grow continually throughout his or her life. They should always be provided with safe materials to gnaw. It helps keep their teeth trimmed, and provides them with relief from boredom. Try:

birdtoy_shredder

Super Shredder

NESTING – My rats spent a great deal of time personalizing their sleeping space with whatever they could collect. Offer them lots of different choices for bedding and nesting, including materials they can shred themselves. Try:

 

FORAGING – In nature, animals devote lots of their day searching for food. In captivity, that behavior keeps their mind active and engaged (and them slimmer, too). Hide food and treats inside toys to get them working. Try:

Mini Penguin Pinata

Mini Penguin Pinata

KEEPING ACTIVE – Mice and rats are incredibly agile and world-class climbers. Some perches made for bird cages can open up new levels of fun inside your small pet’s home. Try:

small pet supplies 468x60


Keri is a lead catalog designer for Drs. Foster and Smith and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from UW-Stout. She shares a small home with her husband, two Chinese Crested dogs, two cats, two ferrets, several reptiles and amphibians, and 30-some gallons of freshwater planted aquariums. See more articles by Keri K.

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December 8, 2010 at 11:29 am

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