Written by Emily Cain
Enrichment doesn't have to be expensive! I've seen some really creative enrichment ideas that are made from everyday household items that you can easily find in stores or on Amazon.com. Here are ten of my favorites.
Click on the pink buttons below the enrichment for a link to purchase each item or see instructions.
Bottle Drying Rack Forager
Source: Lauren Culley on Pinterest
This is a great way to stimulate foraging behaviors for small animals. Just sprinkle small pieces of food and even some honey between the plastic blades of grass and your animals will spend lots of time extracting each treat!
Wine Rack Gym
This enrichment is so simple... just put it in the enclosure! Click here to view this item on our Enrichment Database and see what behaviors it elicits, which animals it can be used with, and preparation instructions.
Jewelry Organizer Explorer
Source: ToucanLadyBVI on YouTube
There are so many ways to use this enrichment, from spraying scents on novel substrates and stuffing them in the pouches, to putting small treats in each pocket. This enrichment isn't super sturdy, so be sure to use it with smaller non-destructive animals.
Source: Thijs Zonnenberg on Pinterest
By attaching a deck brush to a mini teeter-totter, you can make food-extraction behaviors a little more challenging! Just secure the deck brush to a wooden board and attach half of a small log underneath so it wobbles when animals apply pressure to the deck brush.
HaMSTER BALL FEEDER
Source: Rickey Kinley at Cincinnati Zoo
While this enrichment item is intended for small rodents, you can actually use it to put a spin on feeding time for aquatic animals! Cut a small hole in the side and fill the ball with fish. Watch your animals push it through the water as they try to access their snack!
Drying Rack Forager
Source: Lauren Culley on Pinterest
This is a clever way to get tree-dwelling and climbing animals foraging up high. Click here to view this item on our Enrichment Database and see what behaviors it elicits, which animals it can be used with, and preparation instructions.
Hanging Mop Head
This is an easy way to provide tactile-based sensory enrichment to many kinds of animals. Just hang the mop head in your animal's enclosure and let them investigate it. To keep things interesting, you can also spray scents on it or give it to another animal before use.
Source: Fleur Butcher on Pinterest
Drill holes in a durable cutting board and fill them with small foods like raisins. This enrichment is great for keeping animals busy because it is so time-consuming. It encourages creative problem solving and tool use to dislodge the raisins from the holes. Raisin boards are best for animals with the manual or oral dexterity to dislodge food from the small holes.
Use bucket lids to entertain your animals! This enrichment can be used with a variety of species. You can hang the bucket lids on the outside of mesh and put smearable foods on the outside to create a blind foraging opportunity for apes. You can also put them on the inside of the enclosure for canids and other animals who will enjoy licking the food off of the lid. Poke holes on either side of the lid and use zip ties or carabiners to attach them to caging.
Hanging Container ForageR
Source: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
This enrichment is great for giraffe and okapi since they have long tongues designed to grab leaves and branches, but a shallower version could be used for other species of hoofstock.
I hope you find this list helpful. If you have other household items that you use as enrichment, we'd love to see it! Click here to submit your creation to our enrichment database so we can create the most expansive catalogue of enrichment items possible. Contributing to our database means that animals all over the world can benefit from your creation!
If you like this blog post and want to see more content like this, please let us know in the comments. Happy enriching!