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‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…

In fact, if you have small pets, it’s highly likely that they will be extremely active after dark as most are crepuscular – meaning they’re active at dawn or dusk – or nocturnal.

So, why not make their Christmas extra special by getting them some toys, activities and nibbly treats that will provide hours of fun in the wee small hours? We’ve shopped around to find some ideal small pet presents...

For your gorgeous guinea pigs

Although crepuscular creatures, who are at their liveliest during dusk and dawn, guineas only sleep for short periods and are awake for up to 20 hours a day. One of their favourite things to do is a bit of exploring followed by hiding away in a safe place from where they can observe the world. So how about a willow tube or two to dart into and a snug and secure HayPigs!® Circus Hidey Hut™ to hide out in. Add some delicious Nature Snacks such as Winter Berry Bakes with cranberry and apple for your piggies to munch on as they peek out from their cosy hidey place and you’ll have some very contented piggies!

For your happy hamsters

Once these daytime snoozers wake up in the evening, they’re ready for a night of activity, which involves plenty of climbing and running about, so they’ll enjoy checking out a multi-level platform / bridge / ledge / adventure playground, handmade from 100% safe apple and ash wood and kiln dried pine. Or how about a their own mini log cabin which will provide hours and hours of hamster-friendly fun and a safe, cosy space to enjoy all the food they’ve stashed.

For your genial gerbils

Gerbils are diurnal, which means they are active during the daytime, although they enjoy frequent snoozes throughout the day and may turn their paws to some digging and tunnelling at any hour! So why not give them something fun to get their paws into – such as this selection of substrate for their cage, made from sphagnum moss, flax sprays, bark chips, beech chips, coconut chips and coconut husk. Add some cardboard tubes for running through and nibbling on. Gerbils like to see what’s going on so a flat rock placed in their gerbilarium will serve as a handy lookout point – a few tasty nuggets scattered around will encourage them make good use of it.

For your loyal rat pack

Rats are crepuscular and nocturnal animals and so are active at dusk and dawn and throughout the night. As well as enjoying a leg stretch on a large, sturdy rat wheel, which should be solid so they don’t catch their paws or tail in it, they love to put their intelligent minds to good use by problem solving. This rat treat puzzle toy is designed and made by rat lovers and is smaller than dog puzzle toys with narrower holes so your rat pack have to pick out their nuggets with their dexterous paws.

For your fun-loving ferrets

Although ferrets love to sleep for up to 20 hours a day, when they’re awake, they’re bursting with energy and ready to play – especially when there are yummy treats involved. Combine both with this interactive treat ball dispenser. Simply place some of your ferrets’
favourite nuggets inside, adjust the dispenser opening so that the goodies are dispensed as the ball tumbles around. And, as snoozing is one of a ferret’s favourite things, it’s important that they have a choice of cosy sleeping spots such as soft hammocks, and some fleecy blankets – ferrets love to make nests in them.

For your mischievous mice

Mice are crepuscular and nocturnal animals and so are active at dusk and dawn and throughout the night, when they like to climb and scurry about. For climbing fun, how about a Trixie Wood Flamed Tower to clamber up? Add a cosy Cuddly Castle which doubles up as a look-out spot or snoozing space or a Rosewood Sleep 'n' Play Cheese, which is an activity centre that can also be used as a house – tempt them by scattering some tasty nuggets around the entrance.

For your chilled-out chinchillas

Chinchillas are nocturnal and sleep during the day and are most active at night, between dusk and dawn. So, once the early evening sets in, they’ll be feeling ready for some serious activity. These fluffy, agile high jumpers – who can leap around six feet from a standing start – will love a selection of ledges at different heights to hop about on. Add some ramps and bridges to climb up (scatter some nuggets to make it even more rewarding), hammocks and hanging nest boxes to nap in, some wooden chew toys for gnawing on and some tasty Burgess Excel Lucious Leaves – a tempting mix of dandelion leaves, nettle leaves, red clover and ribwort – for guaranteed chinchilla satisfaction.

For your devoted degus

Degus are diurnal, which means, unlike many small furries, they're active during the day – although it’s possible they’ll enjoy their favourite activities of digging, running and exploring at any time of day or night! They’ll love checking out this wooden swing tunnel or gnawing on a hanging mini wreath. Degus also love to chew and carry stuff, so what better present than a selection of coconut leaf twists and yucca chunks to get their teeth into. To encourage foraging, scatter some tasty nuggets around their enclosure and some delicious

Burgess Excel Wildflower Forage, made with an enticing mix of rose, hibiscus, marigold and cornflower, which should keep them happily busy all through Christmas!

Is your pet a Burgess pet? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.

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GAME PLAN From ‘treat-seeking missions’ to indoor circuits, getting creative with cardboard box activity centres and paper bag wraps, we’ve lots of ideas for you to boost the feelgood factor for your four-legged friends.

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WILD AT HEART Inside every pampered small pet is the desire to exhibit their innate, hardwired, natural behaviours which reveal their wild origins. It’s the reason why bunnies want to dig and burrow, guinea pigs like to keep a watchful eye on what’s going on from a safe hiding place, hamsters stuff food in their cheek pouches and chinchillas prefer to sleep hunched up. Find out more about the natural and fascinating behaviours of some of our favourite small furries.

SHOW YOUR PETS THE LOVE Every pet deserves the best – from the right environment to the correct nutrition and plenty of attention from their human. So why not make a pledge to be the best pet owner you can possibly be?

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