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Hamster Cages – Fundamental Tips and Ways on How to Choose One

The hamster cage is not a prison, but its home. The task of the owner is to make sure that he feels comfortable and safe there. In pet stores are a variety of cages for hamsters. Ask the seller how to choose a home for a rodent, it is not necessary. The store employee may be interested in selling the most expensive option or simply do not understand the physiology and needs of these animals.

The owner also does not need to know everything about hamsters, but information about how much space a tiny rodent needs and how different types of cages differ will be useful.

Basic parameters

The size

The minimum size on the bottom is 50×30 cm for dwarf species and 60×40 cm for Syrians . There is no maximum limit, but large cells are harder to wash, they take up a lot of space. Many give birth to a hamster as a pet just in the hope that it doesn’t take up much space.

The huge cages that can be seen in the pet store are designed for large rodents – chinchilla, guinea pig. Sold there and tiny – 20×25 cm.

A small cage can be put up for sale as a dwelling for dwarf species, but in fact they are used only for jigging of young animals, quarantine during illness, and mating. In other words – for the short-term maintenance of the animal.

It is a mistake to assume that a small hamster will have enough small space for living. Rodents clearly divide their home into zones: bedroom, toilet corner, pantry, dining room, space for games.

That zones did not intersect, the place should be enough. You can not clutter up the space inside.

Hamster Cage Types

Lattice

Metal with a plastic tray: one of the most common options for keeping a rodent. Benefits:

  • easy to clean and disinfect;
  • convenient to mount accessories (wheel, drinker, feeder);
  • constant flow of fresh air.

Disadvantages:

  • high noise level (the hamster gnaws the rods, shakes the cage);
  • open on all sides: the animal scatters the filler, is not protected from the cat;
  • while running and climbing the rods, the hamster can damage the paw;
  • lattice interfere with the observation of the animal.

Some minuses are eliminated by the manufacturer with a well-thought-out design. If the pallet is deep enough, the filler will not scatter. If the floors and the stairs inside are made of plastic, the chance of injury decreases. An example would be Ferplast “Criceti 15” – a large cage with a deep plastic tray. It is also suitable for connecting pipes or other modules.

Ferplast Criceti 15 cage

The design of such cells is about the same, but the color gamut is rich: the plastic part (pallet) is of various shades, and the metal bars are painted black or white. Girls will love the Ferplast Laura pink cage.

For reasons of aesthetics and fashion for an eco-friendly design, you can find a lattice cell made of natural wood. The “Hamsterville” Ferplast cage of bleached pine is even equipped with wooden accessories: a wheel, ladders and floors, a house, a feeding trough. But although the tree is impregnated with a special moisture-proof composition, it gradually absorbs odors and hardly washes.

Hamsterville Ferplast Cage

The wooden cage is equipped with a retractable tray that allows cleaning without removing the animal from the house.

Aquarium or showcase

Glass terrariums are rarely used to keep hamsters. Gone are the days when the dzhungarik was kept in the usual three-liter can. Advantages of the aquarium:

  • convenient to observe the pet;
  • less noise (the animal does not gnaw the twigs);
  • inaccessibility to the cat;
  • no scatter filler around.

A good review in this case is a doubtful plus: the transparent cage can be made of plastic, it is not necessary to keep the rodent “behind the glass”.

The disadvantages outweigh:

  • difficult to wash (heavy, glass is very easily soiled);
  • unsuitable configuration (high walls);
  • poor ventilation (greenhouse effect);
  • difficult to arrange equipment (wheel, drinker).

The height of the aquarium should be no more than 30 cm in order for the animal to have enough oxygen. Approximate parameters: 70x50x30 cm. It is forbidden to use a solid top cover. Leaving it completely open is also undesirable; a pet can escape. Usually close the glass house special mesh.

hamster aquarium

There are special aquariums for rodents with holes for ventilation and a sliding front wall. Their height is much less than that of aquariums for fish.

The wooden panoramic cell with transparent Plexiglas doors is called a showcase. They are made to order. This advantage: the house will be the right size, fit into the interior. This is a disadvantage – the price starts from several thousand rubles. The bottom must be made of plastic or stainless steel, otherwise the tree will quickly become unusable from the animal feces.

Disadvantages:

  • wooden window absorbs odors and begins to smell bad;
  • it is impossible to conduct high-quality disinfection after the death of a hamster;
  • bugs and insects can be brought into the tree. Treating wood is dangerous for a hamster who will sharpen teeth on it, and untreated wood is subject to deterioration.

A large three-story showcase looks very impressive, but is designed for jumping and climbing animals – a chinchilla, a rat. Hamster – a resident of the plains, he did not appreciate such a structure and may be injured when falling from a height.

hamster display case

If you need exactly a closed cell for reasons of purity, then instead of an aquarium and a shop window, you should look at the so-called dunes.

Single-tier wooden showcases of industrial production are most often designed for large rodents – rabbits, guinea pigs.

Plastic dune

Dune is a cage with transparent walls and a metal grill at the top for good ventilation. Combines the advantages of lattice cells and aquarium. An opening roof and a removable pan make cleaning easy. A closed cage does not allow the animal to scatter the filler around, and it is more convenient to watch the pet than through the grate.

dune cage

Lattice with plastic inserts

There are interesting options for which the lattice part is made of rods, and part is a plastic insert. They are distinguished by a rich bundle (floors, wheel, ladders, house), and most importantly their advantage – plastic pipes. There is an opportunity to purchase additional sections and pipes, creating real labyrinths and space for the game. Hamsters in nature run up to 10 km daily, so ensuring an adequate level of activity is the most important condition for rodent health.

Simple double-decker cages do not suit hamsters – the inhabitants of the plains do not have the concept of “height”, cannot land on all four paws, and may suffer from falling from above. Modular dwellings with pipes allow you to create a safe dwelling with 2-3 floors, and even more.

Some cool cells:

  • The IMAC rodent cage “Fantasy” 58x38x38.5 cm is suitable for the Djungarian hamster, very bright and beautiful due to color plastic – will serve as decoration for any children’s room;
  • The Syrian hamster will feel great in the three-level Ferplast “Duna Fun Large” terrarium 71.5x46x41 cm;
Ferplast Duna Fun Large  cage
  • The Ferplast “Circus Fun” modular cell is too small in itself, but it is possible to install pipes for connection with other collective cells: Combi, Lab;
Ferplast  Circus Fun cage
  • Spacious Savic “Hamster Metro” 80x50x50 cm is a super option for a hamster of any breed.
Savic Hamster Metro cage

How to connect two cages for hamsters

If there are two small cells, you can combine them, instead of buying one large cage grown pet. Grid houses are connected by removing (biting) bars or the whole wall and fastening them with a wire to another cage. For hamsters, horizontal expansion is preferred, rather than multi-storey mansions.

In some models there are special round holes in the walls, with a thread for attaching modules of the same company, expanding the area of ​​the house due to external space. The module can be a pipe, a corridor. Sometimes pipes are braided around the perimeter of the cell, and you can use them to connect two cells. The diameter of the corridor must match the size of the animal.

two connected cells

How much does a hamster cage cost

  • trellised with a plastic pallet $16 – $50
  • trellised wooden about $50 – $120
  • showcase: custom-made $50 – $450
  • dune $16- $40
  • combined modular $16 – $ 40.

The cheapest are metal in combination with a plastic pallet, but you have to buy additional equipment. Cheaply you can buy a used cage, but it must be from materials that can be disinfected. A wooden cage can only be new.

The cost of the cage is much higher than the cost of the animal itself, often people are not ready to invest big money in the purchase. Then it is better to take a simple, but spacious. The best hamster cage is by no means always the “coolest” in appearance, because the animals themselves lack color vision and notions about aesthetics. Metal sold at lower prices than plastic.

Different breeds have different standards.

Dzungarian and Syrian hamsters have significant differences, both in the nature of behavior and in size. Therefore, recommendations for choosing a cage for each breed will be different. Detailed information can be found on the links:

How much is a hamster with a cage

Often on ad sites, you can see offers to sell a hamster with a cage. In this case, the presence of the animal not only does not increase the price but on the contrary, makes the purchase quite profitable. Depending on the region, the price ranges from $16 to $ 450. When purchasing a hamster with a ready housing, you need to make sure that the cage is not too small, as is often the case.

Where to put a cage with a hamster

The animals are sensitive to changes in the situation, so it is better to decide in advance where to put the pet’s cage, and if possible not to move it. This place must be inaccessible to direct sunlight, protected from drafts. Do not put the cage too close to the battery.

There should be no indoor plants or other objects to which the curious rodent (curtains) can reach.

It is undesirable to allow other pets to the hamster house. Pets are protected as much as possible against noise (TV, music). The room should be fresh clean air (without tobacco smoke), a constant temperature of 20-22 C.

The rodent’s dwelling is located on a dais (table, chest of drawers). So it is more convenient to watch the pet, and most importantly – the hamster will not be frightened every time a person approaches.

Instinctively, the rodent perceives everything that it sees from above as a threat, because the main enemies of hamsters in nature are birds of prey.

Most consistent hamster requests bedroom. It should be noted here that a hamster is a nocturnal animal that produces an amazing amount of noise. For many, this makes it difficult to fall asleep, and the place for the cage is selected taking into account not only hamster needs, but also personal comfort.

Equipment

Expensive modern cells are equipped with the necessary accessories. If not, the equipment is purchased additionally:

  • a house;

The hamster should have a place where he hides, feels protected. Syrians fit the house 14-15 cm, and Dzhungarik about 10 cm. It must be without windows, otherwise the hamster can get stuck in the hole and die from suffocation.

Houses come from different materials. Optimal use of wooden without bottom, or high-quality plastic (firm Savic, Trixie, Ferplast).

tree house for a hamster

Ceramic is very beautiful, but it can be cold in your pet. Usually such a shelter is used as a summer reserve.

ceramic hamster house

An additional house can also serve as a wicker nest of straw, which will gradually be eaten by the tenant.

straw house for a hamster
  • wheel;

The ability to run is vital for hamsters , but in order for the wheel to benefit, not harm the health, it must be chosen correctly. It should be of sufficiently large diameter: for a Djungarian hamster, 16–18 cm, for a Syrian one — 18–22 cm. It is better if the surface is solid: a mesh or twigs can cause injuries to the legs.

standing wheel for hamster

Outboard wheel produces much more noise, attached to the bars of the cage. The standing wheel is well suited for the dunes, almost silent with proper care (lubricant) and a thick layer of filler. Material – plastic, wood or iron fine mesh (Trixie).

suspended hamster wheel

An unusual alternative to the wheel is a running plate. More information can be found in the article on wheels for a hamster.

  • drinking bowl.

Preferred sealed automatic drinkers (ball or nipple). The capacity may be small, as it is recommended to change the water to fresh every day.

automatic drinking bowl for hamster

A wheel, a house and a drinking bowl are a necessary minimum. You will need another feeder (small bowl).

If you equip a game complex with slides, tunnels, bridges and swings, then the hamster will be provided with everything for a happy and long life.

We have listed only the most necessary, information about other accessories can be found in the article that is necessary for the content of the hamster in the house .

It can be difficult to decide which cell to choose – so wide is the choice in modern pet stores and the Internet. For this, it is worth exploring the pros and cons of different types of cells.

Decision: Which types of hamster cages are available and which one is right for you?

The grid cage

The price-saving variant

This variant is the best known and most common way to keep a hamster. You can buy a cage for just a little money, but the requirements and quality of the animals often leave something to be desired.

Nevertheless, with a lot of patience and knowing what to look for, you can find a suitable cage. These often come with accessories, which is qualitatively based on the price of the cage – nevertheless, this does not mean insufficient.

While it will be difficult to find the perfect hamster paradise in online retail, there are offers that can make your pet a good life.advantages

  • inexpensive
  • sufficient for welfare
  • often accessories included

disadvantage

  • rarely found in species-appropriate dimensions
  • fast defects due to low quality
  • Insight from all sides (no privacy)

However, these can often have weaknesses in terms of handling and design; The perfect cage is hard to get this way.

Nevertheless, if you do not have too much time at hand and your hamster’s optimal posture should not become your main task of life, you can make a good choice that is sufficient and often even beyond.

The long-lived variant

Of course, there are also lattice cages to buy for a lot of money, which is often reflected in the quality. Not only will your pet be given a relatively high quality life, the cage will accompany him and possibly even generations later through life.

Incidentally, this variant is also not easy to find in line with welfare regulations. But if you have spotted a suitable product, you can enjoy it for years in many cases.advantages

  • longevity
  • mostly high quality
  • easy to use
  • good living conditions for your hamster

disadvantage

  • quite expensive
  • hard to find with enough space
  • Insight from all sides (no privacy)

Often in this price range to the 200 € or more, no or only minimal plastic on the cage to find; a lot of emphasis is placed on wood, plexiglas and grids of quality. Accordingly, the design is mostly stylish and access to the inside of the cage becomes straightforward.

So, if you plan to keep hamsters for a few years, and not just as cute animals for the kids, but as a real passion, then this variation would definitely be an option you should consider.

The terrarium

Although terrariums were originally not designed for hamsters, they are in many cases suitable for a species-appropriate attitude.advantages

  • easy cleaning
  • freely selectable bedding height
  • privacy

disadvantage

  • lack of ventilation

You can freely choose the litter height and the glass is easy to clean, as well as with a non-toxic paint (eg toy paint) painted wooden walls. Also, you have the whole upper width to get to your pet and mostly you can find a suitable terrarium for a fair price.

However, you must provide for better ventilation, as this often comes too short due to the actually imaginary residents.

The aquarium

Aquariums are a cheap and expresses well suited variant of the hamster attitude. They come in a variety of sizes, the glass allows a completely uncomplicated cleaning and there is enough air circulation, since there is no cover. You can also freely choose the height of the litter.advantages

  • good value for money
  • easy cleansing
  • good air circulation
  • freely selectable bedding height

disadvantage

  • Insight from all sides (no privacy)

However, you should attach opaque materials on at least two sides to make it easier for your pet to recover.

The homemade

This type of posture is by far the most optimal, as it has great potential to give your hamster the best possible life.advantages

  • create optimal housing conditions
  • Determine material yourself
  • own design
  • offer your hamster the best possible
  • Set budget yourself

disadvantage

  • Time and effort

You can not only set the size and the perfect interior, you can also customize the cage perfectly to your homey location and set the design freely. You also decide for yourself how much money you want to spend.

You can build a towering cage for a small total price, but of course invest a lot of money and create an absolute paradise where every detail fits.

In the following video you can see an example of what an absolute perfect enclosure might look like for your rodent; a true paradise for every hamster!

Purchase criteria: These factors allow you to compare and rate hamster cages

Here are some of the factors that you should consider when buying a hamster cage and that can help you in your decision.

  • size
  • security
  • air circulation
  • handling
  • equipment
  • design

Below you can read what the specific criteria are and why it makes sense for you to acquire a model based on the criteria or not.

size

Essential for a fulfilling life of your hamster is of course, as already mentioned several times, the appropriate cage size. 50cm² floor space and 60cm height is absolute minimum, we recommend 1m² or more – no upper limit is set.

Whatever type of accommodation for your pet you choose, make sure that the measurements are correct and allow a species-appropriate attitude.

security

Another important factor is safety. So that your hamster can not hurt you should make sure that there are no sharp edges or too high mounted platforms.

Your rodent may be as dangerous as other quadrupeds. If you also have dogs or cats next to your hamster, make sure that the cage is fully secured; ie no open roof or other openings that could lead to unwanted contact between your pets.

air circulation

To give your hamster fresh air in its cage, always make sure that a steady air circulation is possible. While this problem does not arise with lattice cages, terrariums or aquariums can quickly lead to oxygen deficiency and sometimes serious consequences for your rodent.

Therefore, make sure that the cover lets air through with all-round hermetically sealed enclosures. Since a hamster cage prescribes a proportionally high height for reasons of keeping, you should additionally provide for circulation through small louvers further down. But make sure to put them over the bedding limit, otherwise you will not only have to expect with falling litter, but also with no effect.

handling

By this point is meant how well you reach the inside of the cage, whether it be refilling for food or for cleaning. Significant here is the number and size of built-in gates and gates. It is best to open most of the top of the cage, or maybe even loosen the whole upper part of the lower one; this allows easy access to the interior of the cage.

equipment

Many of the offers on the Internet can be purchased in combination with numerous items of equipment – tube systems, level and bowls are often included in the price.

This can definitely be a buying incentive and save a lot of work – as long as the quality is right. Although plastic accessories do not necessarily have to be harmful, a variant made of wood or cork is in many cases the better choice for your pet.

Pay close attention to the fact that the accessories pose no risk of injury – sharp corners and edges, loosely assembled tube systems and non-nibbling fixings can quickly have dire consequences for your hamster.

Design

This point depends on the one hand with the safety of your hamster and on the other hand, how well the cage meets your taste and visually matches it in its new place.

It is important to ensure that all platforms and floors are not too high in order to avoid a risk of injury. So make sure that due to aesthetic reasons, no necessary middle platforms were omitted or ramps were too narrow.

Also, you have to be sure with the paint and the varnish, that they are not harmful and could bring any health consequences to your hamster.

The rest of the design is entirely up to you, as long as the welfare of your rodent is always in the foreground.

Trivia: Interesting facts about hamsters

Ancestry

Hamsters are available in many different sub-races. It is clear, however, that all descended from a very special hamster: the Syrian golden hamster.

It was not until 1797 that the golden hamster was mentioned for the first time in literary terms. Only in 1839 was the first real description, but only on the basis of a skull and a little coat.

The first golden hamster ever seen by researchers was captured along with its 11 kittens in 1930 and researched. From these hamsters is the breed of all today known hamster species – all derived from these animals.

Today, the Syrian hamster still lives in the wild in its original home, Aleppo in northern Syria.

Due to the abundant harvest, he is often drawn to field margins, which have earned him the resentment of the local farmers. He is a passionate digger and digs tunnel systems up to two meters deep – including storage and sleeping quarters and even a toilet.

In the summer, he sleeps most of the hot days in his refrigerated sleeping chamber, foraging for food during dusk and especially at night. So his pantries are continuously filled, because he can transport up to 5kg at a time in his impressive cheek pouches.

When winter comes, the hamster closes his cave and lies down in his bedroom for hibernation. In this type of hibernation, the rodent wakes up every few days to eat some of his supplies before going back to sleep.

Races

Hamsters are divided into three rough subspecies:

  • Great hamster
  • means hamster
  • hamster

The Great Hamster

To this genus belongs exactly one hamster species: the field hamster.

This animal can reach the size of a guinea pig, is not suitable as a pet and is often found in German agricultural landscapes.

The middle hamster

This genus has, along with three other species that are not well known (on the pet market and in general), the best known representative of the hamster: the Syrian golden hamster, mostly known as golden hamster.

Due to a strong breeding, there are numerous crossbreeds with different fur patterns, colors and lengths besides the original, light brown hamster. However, in the course of over-breeding diseases have also crept into some animals.

The hamster

This genus differs in short- and long-tailed hamsters and have found much favor in German households, where they despite their sometimes quite independent and non-cuddly species are often kept pet.

Interesting facts

  • Hamsters are closely related to the mice.
  • There are about 20 different species, not even half are suitable and known as pets.
  • Hamsters can see just 15cm wide and are also still color blind. You can smell it all the better for that.
  • You can fill your cheek pouch up to twice and in rare cases even three times the volume of your head.

Conclusion

The hamster cage is the main cost item for a tiny rodent. But if you approach the choice responsibly, the animal will delight you with activity and good health, and its home will fit into the interior of the room. One can argue about which cell is better, but there is no definite answer, everything is individual.

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