Hamster cages come in a great variety of materials, shapes and sizes. There are metal cages, solid tanks and expandable cages available for sale or you could opt to build your own. The good thing about it is that you don’t have to take snakes handling course before doing it. (Kidding). It is easy to design a unique cage for your hamster.
What are the basic requirements of a hamster cage?
The cage needs to be strong enough to contain the hamster and also keep other pets out. It should be easy to clean and allow for adequate ventilation. These animals can be messy, so there must be separate places to keep fresh water and food clean. They will need an enclosed area for sleeping that is warm and free from draughts. Hamsters are very active and will need toys to give them exercise and keep them amused.
Advantages of different types of cages.
Wire cages are the most popular because they are reasonably inexpensive and widely available. They provide a good flow of air for ventilation and usually have an enclosed sleeping area. They are available in various sizes and have a removable plastic tray for easy cleaning and good hygiene. Hamsters will climb the bars of a wire cage for exercise and fun. The wire will hold a water dripper bottle to keep the drinking water clean and food dishes may hang from the wire also. Lots of accessories are available to attach to a wire hamster cage, to personalize it and give some variety for your hamster.
Plastic tank type hamster cages are available – these are easy to clean but do not allow for good ventilation for the hamster. Children can see the animal but cannot interact so well with it because of the solid structure of the tank. Their main advantage is that they allow the surrounding area to be kept cleaner.
Novelty hamster cages in fancy shapes are now available which are set up in themes, with the toys and furniture in keeping with that theme. They are fun for children to own, but make sure there is sufficient ventilation. Some cages are expandable by adding compartments or rooms that clip on to your original cage to add extra space or interest. These come in a large range of shapes and sizes and tubes can connect the different areas and hamsters love to run through them. You can build a hamster cage to any design you want using this method.
It is possible to build your own – a home handyman can easily make a hamster cage from timber and wire, and blueprints are available on the internet. This allows you to make a cage to a unique design that will be different to other cages you find in the stores.
What do hamsters need?
* It is important to provide fresh water every day. Clean out the water bottle daily and then refill it. Food should be in a container that the hamster can reach into but preferably not sit in, and this should also be cleaned and replaced every day.
* The cage will need cleaning every week – this will depend on how many hamsters you have. The animal will get sick if it has to live in unhygienic conditions.
* Hamsters are active animals and will need some toys to keep fit and amused. They are really fun to watch as they run on wheels, through tubes and tunnels and climb ladders. There is a huge range of hamster toys available. Just make sure not to clutter the cage with too many accessories – it is better to keep some out and have a change of toys occasionally to avoid boredom.