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Old 09-14-2020, 11:57 PM  
Hamsters University
Serendipity7000's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 20,667
Default Re: Cage/Peer pressure on social media

Cage cops is a good phrase Nancy! And yes people who go round being aggressive and criticizing online are just that. Even if they wanted to educate someone regarding a very small wheel eg, there are ways of doing it nicely.

I remember being confused about wheel size when I first came on here - some people were saying 8" some 11". It was generally said 8" might be big enough but if they grow large they might need 11". So rather than risk having to buy another wheel if the 8" got too small I just got an 11" And Charlie was huge! Giving them a choice sounds interesting though! The only preference I've seen is them preferring a wheel that really spins well and easily and I think that's why the silent runner is so popular. The wood trixie wheel is the same but I don't find them that long lasting if hammered. They end up tilting forwards on the bearings and scraping the base.

I guess a hamster given a wheel will run in it - unless it's so small it causes discomfort and clearly they don't get discomfort in an 8" wheel. I had forgotten about the 8.5" comfort wheel. The choice is more limited now that you can't get wodent wheels any more and silent "spinners" stopped working properly after a manufacturing change - mainly to the wood or plastic trixie wheels, the silent runners or the comfort wheel/savic rolly wheel. The first three seem more popular as they're silent.

Cage size is a hugely emotive topic for a lot of people. Some feel the hamster should have as much space as possible so they're not so "caged". And smaller cages for Syrians do tend to lead to bar chewing. I know from reading on here though that for dwarf hamsters, cage size needs can be very variable due to personality. That can be confusing for a new owner though who needs to know what size to get and wants to avoid having to get a different cage if it's not right, so size guidelines can be helpful. 75 x 45 or 80 x 50 seems to be the sweet spot that is not too big or too small but 60 x 40 is ok for some dwarf hamsters as well.

It would be interesting to see if a Syrian who found a very large cage too overwhelming, reacted the same in a large tank style as they may feel more secure in a tank style with those natural kind of set ups. I just couldn't get on with the glass wall between you and the hamster and top opening only - so prefer cages for that reason. But tanks are easier to obtain than cages in some countries.

My own feeling on seeing some of the huge natural German set ups is - they are amazing and sort of creating a world/habitate for the hamster. But is that the same as having a pet you interact with? Or does the hamster just live in a nice natural world and not have much contact with the owner?

There is also the view that if you can't make a decent sized bin cage you shouldn't keep a hamster. Guinea pigs for example need quite a large amount of space and that is accepted - so if someone couldn't give that space they shouldn't keep guinea pigs. So what started as a good thing, to ensure hamsters weren't kept bar chewing in teeny tiny cages - has perhaps gone a bit too much the other way.

The difficulty is that many new owners aren't that conscentious and will buy the smallest they can if there are no guidelines - because it looks cute and fits in a small space. I think it's good that these days most new owners do a bit of research first. And it's generally known what's a good cage and size.

I have a very nice cage I got as a travel/holiday cage - the Sklyine Ted - which is about 65 x 45. It's a really nice cage and our large Syrian was very happy in it on holiday because it had a nice big space saving house like the one in the Alexander I think even that is ok as long as the hamster gets plenty of out of cage time.

The RSPCA now talk about enrichment and I think the view is you can fit more enrichment in a larger cage. But you can also have good enrichment in a cage like the Skyline Ted if set up carefully.

What I'd really like to see is cage manufacturers selling something that comes with everything needed instead of selling cages with tiny 5" wheels and tiny little plastic houses. If they all had a built in house like the long one in the Alexander it would be a start! And not so many extra things to have to buy.

The Barney is about the only cage that does that - with its shelf, house and 8" wheel. But that is now a very large cage at 100cm by 54cm - it's great but it would be nice if they still made the slightly smaller barney as well (which was slightly bigger than the hamster heaven) - but then the Alaska fills that slot maybe.

Sorry I'm rambling. A lot of countries don't have these cage choices and then it's bin cages, diy or tanks.

Last edited by Serendipity7000; 09-15-2020 at 12:15 AM.
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