Sometimes it’s hard to mentally stimulate small animals because they are in their cage the majority of the time. However, finding ways to provide enrichment outside the cage can be a fun new way to interact with your small animal. Find some great tips and ideas below.
When giving a small animal a physical enrichment opportunity outside its cage, it is important to remember to:
- Have proper supervision
- Have food and water made available
- Ensure the room or exercise pen is secure to avoid escapes
- Ensure that the area is safe. Move objects that can be chewed or ingested.
- Stay away from young children, predators, other animals
- Use a non-slip surface
- Provide a hiding place for the animal to retreat to (e.g. igloo, box)
Toys are another great, enrichment option. Small animals enjoy items such as balls, empty tin cans, chewing blocks, paper bags, and crumbled newspapers. They also love things that they can carry, push, bury or hide. Place toys on the floor in an enclosure. In addition, toys can also be safely hung from the cage. Ensure that the toys are large enough not to swallow.
Rabbits in particular need to be brushed regularly to remove excess fur and to prevent matting. This activity provides human social interaction as well as enrichment.
Several species such as bunnies, rats, pot-bellied pigs, and guinea pigs enjoy agility. Agility offers both physical and mental stimulation and encourages bonding and social interaction for the participating individuals.
For more information, see Rabbit Basic Education-Training (rabbit jumping)
Another helpful resource: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rabbits/behaviour/agility