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Old 06-30-2021, 03:10 PM   #1
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Location: Essex, England
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Question Enclosure size: confused...

Hi guys!

As you know, my little guy is in an ikea detolf which is perfect in size for a hammy so he will be keeping that as his forever home.

However, upon being a part of HC and hamster care group UK on facebook, I've came across two different minimum enclosure sizes?

On here, people say the minimum is 450 square inch, but on the UK facebook group it states 4000cm2 as the minimum (620 square inches)... or possibly 5000cm2 if you can stretch to it which is 775 square inches.

So, which one is it??
Age: 20 years old Hamsters I currently own: 2 Hamsters at the Rainbow Bridge: 1
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Old 06-30-2021, 03:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Enclosure size: confused...

There isn't really an 'official' minimum. I think the 450sq inches is quite outdated now a days. That would barely fit anything in. (It is still quoted a lot in the USA)

I think most of us on here quote 80x 50cm as being the smallest which equates to 4000sqcms/ 620sq inches. But I tend to say 100 x 50cm is better which is 5000sqcm/775 sq inches

I'm pretty sure every single cage I listed on my cage thread was 80 x 50cm or bigger.
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Old 06-30-2021, 03:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Enclosure size: confused...

I don't think that there is such a thing as a minimum size for a hamster enclosure. They are only guides and vary from country to country. It also depends on the individual hamster. Some want lots of space and others don't.
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Old 06-30-2021, 04:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Enclosure size: confused...

It’s usually US sites that quote square inches. I think it’s better to go with dimensions because something long and very narrow can have the same number of square inches as something square (and something square is much better for use of floor area). So 80cm by 50cm (or in the US in inches it’s about 32” x 20” but check my maths!) is usually considered the minimum size for a Syrian. Eg Hamster Heaven size. The old Rspca minimum used to be 75 x 45 cm. There aren’t many cages that size. Most animal charities say 80 x 50. Bigger than that is usually better for a Syrian for more enrichment but it depends on the hamster. And how much out of cage time they get. It’s easier to set up a 100cm cage for a Syrian I think as some of their stuff is bigger. I had both our Syrians in 100 x 50 cages but they both had very big labyrinth houses - which wouldn’t fit in a smaller cage. Currently our Syrian is in an 80 x 50 cage snd has a good sized long house at one end. There is no way a labyrinth house would fit in there and leave enough floor space. He seems to prefer that cage and is out more in it. Our last Syrian was happy as Larry in his 100 cm cage. For some Syrians no cage is big enough!

Some people would say if it’s not at least 50 cm (20”) deep it’s not suitable. But I think that is a bit jobsworth when you have a nice big detolf with loads of scope for enrichment . There’s a lot of drama and rubbish on the internet sometimes . A detolf is a palace!

In terms of US minimums I think it used to be 360 square inches then got put up to 450 (which I think is equivalent to 75cm x 45cm - eg a duna multy. People talk about recommended minimums but the aspca in the US only had a minimum of a 20 gallon tank - which I think most people would agree is far too small.

In Germany they have a welfare minimum of 100cm x 50cm and a recommended minimum of 1 metre square - but those are all tank set ups or diy cages usually. There is a lot of discussion on this topic as hamsters need human interaction as well as nice environments. Maybe they’d be fine without human interaction in a huge habitat with lots of enrichment but then it comes down to - is this a pet or just trying to recreate an ideal habitat as if they weren’t a pet. Sorry it’s late - I am not being very coherent there!

Last edited by Pebbles82; 06-30-2021 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 07-01-2021, 02:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: Enclosure size: confused...

There is no legally enforceable minimum cage size that applies globally and different organisations will have set each have their own guidelines. Therefore th sizes you often see quoted on the internet are often based on common figures that have become the suggested minimums in countries such as the USA, the UK and Germany.

It can be confusing with so many different figures being suggested as the minimum but at the end of the day, I feel that it's better to choose a cage based on your hamsters personality rather than based on a figure suggested on the internet. A nervous hamster may benefit from a slightly smaller cage than one who is very confident and lively for example and in my years of keeping hamsters, I have seen both ends of the spectrum.
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Old 07-01-2021, 02:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: Enclosure size: confused...

I think this is the research what has leant people to state these measurements :

Behaviour of golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) kept in four different cage sizes | Request PDF
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enclosure, facebook, inches, minimum, square

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