Hamsters are very popular pets; they’re cute and furry, and they don’t take up as much room as a bigger pet, such as dog or a cat. Don’t forget though, that a hamster needs a home within your home. They need a hamster cage.
You can’t just let a hamster run around the house; it will very easily get lost or hurt. So if you’re buying a hamster you need to think very carefully about the type of hamster cage you will need.
If you’re buying a Syrian hamster you’ll need a bigger hamster cage than you would for a dwarf hamster; and remember you should only ever keep one Syrian hamster per cage. You may think that your pet will be lonely on its own, but if you put Syrian hamsters together in a cage they will fight, and can even kill each other. Hamster cages come in all shapes and sizes, so what do you need to think about when you’re buying a home for your pet?
The size of a hamster cage is very important
Hamsters need plenty of floor space in a cage, so they can run around and get exercise. The RSPCA recommends that hamster cages should measure at least 30 x 15 x 15 inches (75 x 40 x 40cm) and the National Hamster Council suggests that your Syrian hamster should have at least 150 square inches (1000 square centimeters) of floor space that they can play in, and a cage height of 17.5 inches (19cm); a dwarf hamster should have 120 square inches (750 square centimeters) of floor space and a cage height of 7 inches (18cm).
If you’re buying a wire cage for your hamster then the plastic bottom of the cage should be deep enough for you to place a 1.5 inch (4cm) layer of plain wood shavings across the whole cage.
Are wire or plastic hamster cages better?
Wire hamster cages, with a plastic bottom, have been a familiar sight over the years. They are great in providing a place for your furry friend to climb; and hamsters really do love to climb. You can use layers inside the cage so that any drop isn’t too far if your hamster should lose its grip and fall. This is really important if you have baby hamsters as they can hurt themselves badly if they fall too far. A couple of things to remember are that you should never get a cage that has a wire bottom as it’s not good for a hamster’s feet, and you should make sure that the wires are not more than approximately half a centimetre apart. If wires are too far apart it’s very easy for an inquisitive hamster to put its head through the gap, and get stuck.
Plastic molded hamster cages are very popular in today’s hamster cage market. They certainly provide protection from any other pets that may be in your home. Many of these cages have small wired spaces that let the air get in to your hamster’s home. Plastic cages are long lasting and easy to clean, but you will need to provide a climbing frame in the cage so that your hamster still has the same ability to climb as they do in a wire cage.
Why modular systems for hamster cages are not a good idea
You’ve probably seen the hamster cages – or rather, hamster homes – that are made from lots of brightly coloured tubes. They look great, but they don’t make the best home for your pet. There just isn’t enough space for them to run around; running up and down tubes is not the same. It’s also very easy for a hamster to get stuck in one of the pipes, especially if you have a Syrian hamster. The final thing to mention about this type of hamster home is that you may have to keep taking it apart if your hamster refuses to come out of the tubes when they are new to you and your home.
What kind of hamster cages are available to buy?
The Prevue Hendryx Deluxe Hamster Cage includes platforms and small houses where your hamster can hide.
If you have a dwarf hamster and do want to try a modular design, then the Habitrail Dwarf Hamster Habitat is made of transparent tubes, which provide added interest for your hamster and make it easier to view them wherever they are.
Whichever home you decide on just remember to keep an eye on your hamster to make sure that they are settling in happily.