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Old 03-15-2018, 02:20 PM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The Moon!
Posts: 14
Question Planted Natural Cage Theme

Hi Everyone!
Recently, I went to a local petstore with hamsters up for adoption! I saw an adorable little guy, and I plan on taking him home sometime Saturday afternoon. This morning,I thought about making a really, really, natural cage theme. I plan on using shredded coconut fibers, aspen, and sand as the main substrates. I remember seeing someone use pesticide and fertlizer free potting soil in a theme, and I thought it would be cool to incorporate that in aswell. I've only really had expirence with growing large plants and orchids, so I wanted to know if there are any hamster safe plants I could use in the theme! I have wheatgrass seeds, but I'm not sure those are safe and Google was not any help. I'll wait atleast two or three months before doing this with my new arrival, but I'll start planning now!
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Old 03-15-2018, 10:20 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Wales UK
Posts: 23,727
Default Re: Planted Natural Cage Theme

I know a planted natural cage does sound like a lovely idea but unfortunately it doesn't work for hamsters, having compost in the cage will encourage moulds to grow & plants need water & sunlight to grow which is exactly what you don't want in your cage.
You can grow things for your ham to enjoy including wheatgrass & just leave them in the cage for a few hours or overnight if you'd like to try that have a look here.
Sprouts three ways!
Coconut fibre isn't a good substrate for hamsters, I don't know where you are but paper based substrates are about the best & in the UK most of us use Fitch.
If you're planning on getting a syrian then just a sand bath is enough, they don't need large areas of sand & the space could be used for more suitable things.
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Old 03-16-2018, 04:10 AM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 19,872
Default Re: Planted Natural Cage Theme

Agree with Cypher. Some things seem nice and natural but can have issues. I think the trick is to make it look like a natural habitat but use conventional safe materials. Moulds can be an issue with damp substrates like compost and coconut fibre which are more for reptiles. A lot of people on here use Hemp or Fitch for substrate - Fitch doesn't look natural as it's white and recycled food grade paper,but hamsters love it because it's nice and soft and they can burrow in it. Hemp does look natural and would be a good option (if you're not allergic to it like I am!).

I would go with compromises - you could have an area of hemp an area of sand, and maybe use cork bark pieces for the natural look (I really like those, and the large cork tunnels - they have an interesting texture for a hamster and can help create different level on the substrate).

Sticking millet sprays in can make it look like there are growing plants and the millet sprays are safe to eat.

The basics hamsters need in a cage/habitat are a good sized house they can build a large nest in - labyrinth houses can be good and they will nest in one room and toilet in another room - a shelf or platform to sit under and to put heavier toys on so they don't sink in the substrate.

Having it looking natural and providing different textures is good for enrichment and variety, but best to stick to safe materials.

If you're picking him up on Saturday (tomorrow?!!!) You will need a cage all set up and ready - they need a couple of weeks without things being disturbed, to settle in so getting the cage right before you put the hamster in is important. If you plan to upgrade later with the natural theme, that's fine but I wouldn't do it too soon.

What might be best is getting the right cage to start with, with a simple set up and then in a few months time, make the changes to the set up.

Did you have a cage in mind? Pet shops do tend to sell people cages that aren't suitable and then the cage ends up having to be upgraded. Are you in the Uk?
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