Housing your hamster and choosing a cage
Traditional wire hamster cages have two advantages
The wire sides of the hamster cage provide a climbing frame for your hamster, and if there is one thing hamsters like to do its climb. They also provide good ventilation, which helps with respiratory diseases. If you choose to buy a wire hamster cage, make sure it has a deep base made form plastic – the deeper the better – you can then fill this nice and deep to satisfy your hamsters natural digging instincts. However do not choose this if you have a cat at home, as the cat can easily get their claws through the wire and injury your hamster or even kill it.
Hamster tanks just like Gerbilariums
Glass or plastic aquarium style tanks also make great hamster homes, provided they are secure with a well ventilated lid. They provide good visibility, are cat proof and easy to clean, and can accommodate a good depth of shavings for your hamster to burrow in without any spillage. You must be aware that good ventilation is important so choose a tank with good ventilation in the lid. If you choose an aquarium style hamster tank then cleaning is very important to keep down the smell of urine which releases ammonia and is harmful to your hamster. You should also provide hamster toys which your pet can use to climb onm to keep them fit and healthy.
Stacking or linking systems such as Rotastak
These extendable hamster homes made up of linked plastic sections are designed to mimic a wild hamsters burrow. You can connect as many rooms as you like with plastic tubing, enabling your hamster to have a separate bedroom, larder and playroom, as they would have in their burrows in the wild. Older hamsters occasionally grow too big to manoeuvre through the tubes in comfort, but fit youngsters will no doubt benefit from the exercise opportunities.
Choose a suitable site for your hamster cage
Do not stand the hamsters cage in direct sun, or in a draughty place. It should not be placed on the floor either, but on a sturdy table, shelf or stand. Choose somewhere quiet so that the hamsters daytime sleep will not be disturbed. Temperature is also a factor when choosing a place to locate your hamsters home – a comfortable living room temperature for humans suits hamsters just fine. In a unheated room or shed will cause the hamsters to hibernate so avoid this.
Hamster cage size
Hamsters use separate areas for eating, sleeping, playing and toilet purposes and are very clean creatures, so they need space. The minimum recommended size should be at least 25cm (10inch) by 40cm (16inch) by 25cm (10inch) but the bigger the hamster cage the better.
Hamsters gnaw all the time to maintain dental health, so hamster cages need to be able to stand up to the gnawing, wooden cages went out of fashion for this reason, but not all plastic hamster cages are safe, check for vulnerable spots on the lids, or your hamster will chew is way out.
Wire cages often have two storeys, and some tanks are fitted with a shelve which is accessible from a ladder, its worth picking a hamster cage with an extra floor to give your pet adequate living space. Plastic ladders are likely to be chewed away quite quickly, so a more durable metal ladder is preferable.
For hamster cages look at The Pet Warehouse