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Old 10-12-2020, 03:21 AM   #1
Space Hamster
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Default Any suggestions to improve cage for my new friend?

Following on from a thread I started recently about my new syrian who has turned into rather a hermit, @cypher suggested I post some photos of my cage setup to see if there are any improvements I could make. It's still early days with him so I don't want to make any big changes and upset him while he's still getting settled in, but it'd be great to get some ideas for improvements I can make in the future to help him feel happier.

He's housed in a Hamster Heaven (without the tubes and penthouse) and I'm using Kaytee clean & cozy for his substrate. He currently has a 8" trixie plastic wheel which will later be upgraded to the 11" trixie wooden wheel once I have plastikote-d it He's got a large wicker tube just under the door and a couple of bendy bridges.

The plastic igloo has a little wooden rainbow bridge over it's entrance to help make it more inviting, but he hasn't shown much interest. (I do have a dark blue one I may switch it with later - maybe the darker colour will make it seem darker inside for him.) The puzzle playground is sunk into the bedding which he used as the starting point for the tunnel system he's built in his bedding.

I had three corner trays, so I figured I may as well hedge my bets and pop one in each corner in hopes he'd use one for a pee corner - no such luck, but I've heard him digging in one late at night, I think he just likes scrapping about in there

There's a couple of small wooden ledges I installed over the more exposed trays to help them feel more covered and in one case, also provide alternate access on/off the corner shelf. Asides from that there's a variety of chew toys and bits in case he feels like chewing which have been ignored. I think he's pretty much just a bed-and-wheel kinda guy!

I'd appreciate whatever suggestions and constructive citicisms you might have for helping to improve his home. Thanks so much!



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Old 10-12-2020, 04:28 AM   #2
Engel
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Default Re: Any suggestions to improve cage for my new friend?

Wow lucky ham! So much to do.
Good to hear that you will be upgrading him to a larger wheel.
•Have you got a sand bath? Maybe put some sand in the litter boxes if you haven't already.
•You could remove the ladder that goes to the shelf and just put as much bedding as possible under the shelf for him to burrow in. Alternatively you could get a cardboard box and cut the top and bottom out and use it as a burrow box.
•I'd add another water source personally as bottles can jam.
•Ditch the food bowl and scatter the food. Foraging is really enriching for them and it'll encourage him to move around.

Honestly though there isn't much I'd improve on as you have a lovely set up.
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Old 10-12-2020, 05:22 AM   #3
LunaTheHamster1
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Default Re: Any suggestions to improve cage for my new friend?

I agree with Engel, looks great. One lucky hamster.
Apart from what Engel already said the only thing I could suggest is to remove the swinging rainbow ladder/bridge thing if your hamster is able to access that. Hamsters don't really have a strong sense of balance (unlike mice/rats) and I would hate for him to get taffled up in it and hurt himself.

If you did want to add more bedding like Engel suggested you could add grass mats or cardboard to the side of the cage so the bedding doesn't fall out.

This is a video about what I mean:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doZJJHCW1fs
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Old 10-12-2020, 05:51 AM   #4
BethandLil
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Default Re: Any suggestions to improve cage for my new friend?

Looks lovely and jam-packed with enrichmeant!
Agree with making space under platform for deeper substrate. I used to have the same cage and would weave strips of cardboard through the bars, mostly because my past hamster was a bar chewer! But also helped create solid walls for substrate build up.

Can I ask what the pink and purple things are in the basket at the back? From here they look like felt flowers?
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Old 10-12-2020, 09:41 AM   #5
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Any suggestions to improve cage for my new friend?

It looks great. The flower basket is a rosewood boredom breaker . I wondered how big they were so good to see one/proportions in a cage.

My only comment would be a house/nesting box. They look for the best place to nesting tend to ignore houses they find a bit small and/or not dark enough. The rainbow bridge is a bit low for a tunnel entrance so if awkward/low he may avoid that.

My suggestion would be

1). Move the igloo under the shelf if there’s room.
2). ReplAce the hanging open runged ladder with the flower basket (as Luna said the open rungs can be a bit risky).
3). In the space where the igloo and flower basket were - put a large house with a bendy bridge over the door. A shoebox house is ideal. There are nice large wood houses you can buy but that’s can get expensive. Cut the base out of the shoebox. Cut a hole at one end of one if the long sides for a door. Keep the lid as a lift off roof. Sit it on top of the substrate. Put the bendy bridge tunnel over the entrance door (makes it darker inside and also a ramp up to the roof. You could put his food bowl on the roof.

Put a smelly treat inside the shoebox house eg cucumber or cheese. And a bit of hamster food and put a big pile of toilet paper strip bedding next to the house. If the shoe box is big enough I would also put one of the corner litter trays inside the house - opposite the doorway at the back (they nest at the end furthest away from the door).

With a large house they usually move their pee corner inside the house. You can just empty that a couple of times a week by taking the roof off. It means there’s no need to remove the house so the nest stays in tact.

He will probably move in overnight or perhaps the second night.

But - does the tunnel playground toy lead to a house under the shelf? I can’t see exactly. But I think he will move in - they like to build a big cosy nest so if a house isn’t big enough they sometimes just nest under a shelf and it can get messy. A large house with a toilet in it and a tunnel entrance mimics a burrow and gives plenty of space for a big nest and for hoards to be buried under it.
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Old 10-12-2020, 09:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: Any suggestions to improve cage for my new friend?

Some people get the Trixie Lief labyrinth house which he would like - it’s dark
Inside - but it might need a panel knocking out as it’s a bit on the small side for a Syrian and so you can fit a litter tray inside.
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Old 10-17-2020, 04:40 AM   #7
Space Hamster
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Default Re: Any suggestions to improve cage for my new friend?

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Originally Posted by LunaTheHamster1 View Post
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Originally Posted by BethandLil View Post
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Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
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Thank you so much for your responses, everyone! I'm really grateful for your suggestions <3 You've given me some really helpful tips, pointers and advice that I've taken on board and I'm looking forward to gradually implementing them into my little guy's home in the non-too distant future. I visited the Rodipet website this morning and ordered him a lovely labyrinth house, among a few other bits and pieces. I'm so excited on his behalf, I think he's going to love it!

I've been lucky enough to see him a couple of times in recent days; I saw him out and about early the other morning and we had a funny encounter last night. I had stayed up late (oops) and had refreshed his waterbottle, went to fit it back to the cage without realising the little black hamster was in the very dark corner of the cage right where the bottle goes....welll...I don't know who was more suprised! The sound of the waterbottle made him jump, which then made me jump, then we both sat and stared at each other a few moments I have noticed though that he didn't seem to all out "panic" like he did at the very start, he instinctually bolted a little way across the cage but then stopped, like he realised it wasn't a huge threat after all. He seemed curious, so I opened the door and let him sniff my hand for a couple of minutes. He had a little run on his wheel while I talked to him and then I slipped him a couple of the choicest pieces from his foodbowl and he happily let me rub his little head between his ears while he muched away. What a good boy!
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