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Old 11-19-2019, 09:10 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: England
Posts: 57
Default Does cage shape matter?

I've been wondering how much the shape of cage, or how space is arranged within a cage matters when it comes to choosing or building a cage. There's plenty of discussion of cage size, but I rarely see any of cage shape.

I first started thinking about this when I read a study on guinea pigs, which found that they spend the majority of their time near the cage walls, and tend to avoid the middle of the cage. This means that though a 3ft by 3ft cage and a 2ft by 4.5 ft are technically the same size, really the 2ft by 4.5ft has more usable space for the guinea pig. Could this perhaps have some relevance for hamsters too, particularly the dwarf species?

I have noticed my Roborovski displaying wall-hugging behaviour, which I know can indicate discomfort with large open spaces. In a hamster prone to wall-hugging, would a rectangular cage be preferable to a square one of comparable, or even greater, dimensions, so that the hamster is always in closer proximity to a wall, thereby decreasing anxiety?

Equally, would a square cage be preferable to a rectangular one of comparable dimensions for Syrian hamsters, because it appears bigger? I vaguely remembering reading something to the effect that Syrian hamsters do better in more square cages, but I can't remember where.

Sorry for the kind of complicated and technical post, I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts or insights into how much cage shape matters to hamsters?
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Old 11-19-2019, 03:45 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Cornwall, UK
Posts: 1,111
Default Re: Does cage shape matter?

Wider cages are generally better as can fit more/larger items, which is especially useful with Syrians. As you said, some hamsters don’t like a lot of open space but often adding more hides helps them to feel safer. For anxious hams in the past, I’ve used a lot of platforms, houses, large cork tunnels, and grass hammocks to break up space and provide overhead cover.
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