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Old 12-05-2018, 08:06 PM   #1
Hamster Pup
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Missouri, USA
Posts: 96
Smile Cage questions

Hello everyone,

I have a question about "ideal" hamster cages. It's sort of a long question that comes with a story attached to it. I have had Pip for about 3 weeks (I brought him home Nov. 14th) and I currently have him set in a 10 gal tank because that is what I had on hand. It was previously used for my gerbils but I upgraded them to a 20 gal so the other tank was sitting unused for a while. I don't have a ton of money for anything fancy right now but I don't think that Pip has a lot of room and I'm a little concerned. He doesn't appear to be a huge fan of chewing things, which is a good sign so maybe I can save up for a cage made of hard plastic with metal bars. I had this kind for my two gerbils originally but they chewed it up rather fast and escaped and I had to look for them in my house (a rather traumatic experience that I don't want to repeat!) I realize that hamsters are different than gerbils but I do want to be cautious as I would be very sad if Pip were to find a way out. I want Pip to have room to run around and climb, as he enjoys that a lot. He loves to climb up on the roof of the little house that I have for him (it's quite tall and a very adventurous climb for him to try). I think that I have several options here. I could probably either get a tank topper for the cage (I've seen these at Petco/Petsmart and on Amazon), or get one with metal bars and a hard plastic bottom that I could add additional levels to. If anyone could offer some wisdom to me on this particular issue, I would be very grateful.
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Old 12-05-2018, 10:37 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Wales UK
Posts: 24,793
Default Re: Cage questions

I'm not sure which barred cages are available in the US now but I think it can be quite hard to get suitable ones. You really need something that's at least 80x50cm or larger but not too high even though Pip loves climbing high cages or shelves can be a potential fall risk.
I think most people use 40 gallon tanks for Syrians.
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Old 12-06-2018, 03:58 AM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 22,729
Default Re: Cage questions

Hello. Yes he does need more space It's a good time to upgrade him as you've had him 3 weeks or so and the current 10 gallon could be considered as a starter cage.

A hamster needs about 80cm by 50cm of floorspace in a cage/tank - more if you can. Two smaller cages attached doesn't count to the floor area. The idea being they can have enough enrichment in the cage to have normal behaviours like digging, foraging, exploring, different areas for sitting, washing, hoarding etc. They also need a house or hide that is dark inside to retreat to and big enough to build a large nest in (especially in winter) and a shelf of some kind for some overhead cover so they can sit under it - and they like sitting on a shelf as well - somewhere to go!

Barred cages are great as they have plenty of ventilation and it's easier to interact with hamsters. I prefer them to tanks. Tanks are easier to get cheaper in the US though I believe - Petco has $1 per gallon sales regularly and a 40 gallon breeder tank is the usual choice for a Syrian (teddybear) Hamster. They are basically ground dwellers and actually need more floorspace than gerbils probably.

A tank topper isn't a great idea unless the floor area of the tank is bigger - they do much better with more floor area and less height - they aren't great climbers because they don't see well and tend to only climb to see if they can escape out the top! When the do climb they're not good at getting down again and tend to just drop - so height can be dangerous as they can get injuries from falling from a height. With tall cages you need really deep bedding and possibly a full level to reduce the height and make an extra floor.

Good cages are hard to find in the US - that are big enough - there have only been a couple available for some time - both over $100 - the Lixit Mickey 2XL on Amazon and the Marchioro Goran 82 (the Goran used to be sold by Pet Mountain but always seems to be out of stock so may no longer be available.

However - I did come across a new cage on Amazon in the US which seems very popular and is a good size and good price. So I think that would be a good option:

Here it is!

Other options would be - a 40 gallon breeder tank, a detolf or making a bin cage. A good bin for a bin cage is easily available at this time of year - the Iris Christmas tree bin

It is half the price of the cage but involves some diy. You either need to cut out panels with a hot knife and attach mesh for ventilation with cable ties or bolts - or another option I've seen is to just replace the lid with metal baking trays - see photo below - but the grid trays may be expensive or hard to find

See first two photos on this link

The detolf option is an Ikea glass cabinet, tipped on its side to make a tank - with the door left off. Also involves some diy as it needs a lid making (most people make two half size lids so they're easy to remove) out of wood strips and mesh. That is if you have the space for a detolf. People often stand them on Kallax units with storage underneath which looks nice, but if you don't have Kallax units it adds to the cost. It used to be a cheap option for a good size hamster habitat, and perhaps more manageable than a 40 gallon breeder tank. But as it now costs $60 on its own, the cage at $69 looks like a good buy!

Here are some examples of detolf set ups

Personally I would go with the cage
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:41 AM   #4
Hamster Pup
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Missouri, USA
Posts: 96
Default Re: Cage questions

Serendipity thank you so much for your help! All of the options that you presented are really good ones and I'm going to take a little bit of time to set aside some money so that I can make this happen. I'm leaning towards the bin cage, as the bin you suggested would work really well and I have access to all of the materials needed, granted I have the money for it! In the meantime, I'm thinking of moving Pip into my 20 gal and putting my gerbils back in the 10 gal until I have everything situated.
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