“ Manufacturer: Woodlands / Type: Small Pet Toys „
Last year my brother was posted to Cyprus by the army. Thankfully they didn't put him in a box, they just let him get on a plane and take his family with him. Due to import rules and regulations and costs, however, his pet tortoise Percy was going to prove to be far too expensive to take with him. In a panic he asked Allan and me to take care of him till he gets posted to somewhere that won't charge him over a grand to get his little dude over there. Since then poor Percy has been living it up in a hand built enclosure in our living room. Lined as it is with black waterproof PVC it has been nicknamed Percy's Leather Porn Dungeon which fits in nicely with the fact that the little guy has a total foot fetish.
===Making things interesting===
Being a bit of a pervert and being that he has to live in it most of the time his enclosure needs to be as distracting and interesting as possible for him. Thankfully his idea of interesting is quite a bit different to ours. A few rocks and plants and he'll be quite happy to potter about in his enclosure all day. Since I wanted to make sure he was really happy I had a little search online for some ideas as to what else I could throw in to keep him entertained. Eventually I stumbled upon a fantastic little idea: a woodlands small pet play tunnel.
This tunnel is basically a little log with holes on each end and 6 holes up the length of it. It's actually made for hamsters, mice and other small animals so they can crawl in and hide. The holes are a bit small so it really is only the smallest of the small animals that will be able to fit inside. It's also very good for rodent's teeth as it's made from natural wood, meaning they can chew on it. I can even vouch for the fact that they love to chew on the stuff. We had a larger toy for Percy made by the same company from the same materials, but when we got it home it turned out to be far too big for Percy so we gave it to our friend's bunny who promptly and happily demolished it.
This play tunnel looks really great in his enclosure as the brown bark on the outside makes it look nice and natural. It really blends in brilliantly with his food bowls that look like rocks and his little house made out of another woodlands product.
===But Percy is not a Mouse...===
Correct, he is, in fact, a tortoise. As the play tunnel is only 6cm wide and about 20 cm long he's far too big to fit inside the log like a rodent could do, so what use does he get out of it? Lots! Tortoises need a bit of encouragement to be active sometimes and using this as a feeder really gets him moving. Rather than simply dumping his food in his bowl I try and hide it from him or put it somewhere difficult to reach (like on top of his house) which means he has to work a little for his food. I stuff this log full of leaves for him so he has to pull then out with his beak and use his feet to keep the log in place. His head fits inside the holes no problem so no food is ever left behind to go bad. In fact, this log is his favourite thing to eat from. Even if he's eating a pile of food from another part of his enclosure, as soon as he see's me pick it up, he runs across the enclosure to get it from me (yes, tortoises can actually run quite fast when they want to).
The only downside I have found with this isn't really a problem with the product, it's a problem with our mischievous pet. As well as eating from it, he enjoys rolling it around his enclosure. In the first enclosure I built him, the walls weren't incredibly high so his heat bulbs that lived at the top of the walls were a bit closer than they were now. Percy developed a bad habit of literally climbing the walls to try and knock the bulbs out of their clips. Once they were out of the clips and dangling dangerously into the enclosure, he'd happily leave them alone. Soon as you put them back in the clips, he'd run back to take them out again. Our first plan to stop him doing this was to dig a little bit of a ditch in the earth next to the walls so that if he did try to climb the walls, he wouldn't be able to reach. Within minutes he had marched over to the log and rolled it into the ditch to give himself a leg up to get the lights. Big sigh. That was solved by building an enclosure with higher walls and putting a little less earth into it.
Even though he no longer uses it to get to his lights, he still enjoys rambling over it. He occasionally lies across it on top of it and lifts his legs off the ground and rolls forward on it. Sometimes he'll lie lengthways on it like a cat on the back of a sofa with legs on either side of it.
===Long lasting freshness===
For Percy this will last a very long time as he doesn't chew on it. Obviously depending on your pet and how much they like to chew, the life of this can vary greatly. Percy also doesn't get inside it to leave any surprises which means it will last a lot longer. It doesn't seem to be effected by the moisture of the earth it sits on and also (unlike other items in his enclosure) hasn't taken on a dirty muddy look after few weeks, so retaining its fresh looks. I'm sure your pet wouldn't care, but I don't really enjoy staring at ugly mud covered stuff in my own living room so that point is more for the owner than the pet.
If your pets like to use it as a toilet, you may find yourself having to replace it sooner rather than later. Thankfully it's fairly cheap coming in at £3 so even if you have to replace it monthly (which even with little chewers, I don't see happening) it's not a huge outlay for the sake of your pet's sanity.
The woodlands play log is a pets at home product so if you want this one specifically, you will need to either go online (www.petsathome.com) or go down to the nearest store. You might be able to find other brands elsewhere that would be cheaper so it's always worth a look. If you have small rodents, it might also be a much cheaper idea to use cardboard tubes from kitchen roll to achieve the same effect (albeit not as snazzy looking). As ours sits in moist mud all day, I'd much prefer the wooden log to a cardboard tube.
This gets a full thumbs up from me, and it certainly gets all of Percy's clawed feet in the air too. He really enjoys it and it keeps him on his toes when hunting for food and off his toes when surfing on it. It's cheap, it looks good, it stands up to the moist mud. Most of all it has lasted and kept Percy entertained which is the most important thing. Five stars out of five from us both!
The Woodlands Small Pet Play Tunnel was a must-have buy on our last trip to the pet store. Woodland toys are great quality and made from natural wood. The tunnel is roughly 20cm long and 7cm high. The big openings on each end are quite big but the smaller holes at the sides are surprisingly small. We didn't think too much about that when we bought it; after all it cost less than 3£.
Lennon seemed to love the new addition to his play area instantly. He started climbing around on it and chewing it right away. Unfortunately it became quite apparent that he is a bit too big to fit through the holes that are cut into the sides of the tunnel. He can get through the main openings but cannot fit through the smaller ones. Lennon is not a particularly big hamster so that was quite surprising and disappointing.
He will still play with the tunnel and loves to hunt for food when I hide it in there. It is also great for him to chew on; the wood certainly helps to keep his teeth in good health and I'm convinced that his bar chewing got less since I got him all his wooden toys.
A very cheap and easy alternative to a shop bought play tunnel is making them yourself. Simply get a few empty toilet paper rolls, stuck them together and cut in some openings in the sides. You can determine the diameter of the holes yourself and you can build a real maze for you hammi in only a couple of minutes and without spending any money. Try to attach the tubes by cutting slits in one and sticking the other one to it - using tape might not be the best for your pet if they start chewing on it.
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Would I buy the Woodlands Small Pet Play Tunnel again?
Although I usually like Woodlands products because of their good quality I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with the Play Tunnel. It looks good and is certainly a great addition to any pet play area but it is definitely not suitable for grown Syrian hamsters. Lennon can get through the tunnel but he is way too big for the little holes in the sides.
I guess that it is a great product if you own dwarf hamsters or mice - they should fit through the openings without problems and will probably love playing hide and seek in the play tunnel. For under 3£ it is cheap enough and should last for a (pet) lifetime.
Apart from the play aspect it also helps maintaining a good teeth health for your pets; they well chew away on the wood keeping their teeth short and sharp. It provides a good alternative to all the plastic things that you can buy. I prefer buying natural products and not just colourful things that are not good to chew on - because Lennon will try it!
Overall I would award the Woodlands Small Pet Play Tunnel 07 out 10 stars - good for Dwarf hamster, mice and baby Syrians but rather pointless for grown up Syrian hamsters.