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Old 08-04-2022, 04:55 PM   #1
xosunflowerox
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Default What kind of hamster will be content in 1000 sq. inch cage?

Hi all,

I had a female Syrian hamster a couple of years ago. I had her in the 44 gallon container store bin cage. Though the cage was big, she was still showing signs of unhappiness.

I just bought the large Niteangel vista and set it up. I believe it's a bit over 1000 square inches. I spent a lot of money on it. It is also taking up a good chunk of my apartment. I very likely won't be able to upgrade if the hamster is unhappy.

I really love Syrians, but won't get another female. What are the chances of a male Syrian being happy and fulfilled in this size cage? The cage will have 12" of bedding, large wheel, platforms, toys, chews, etc.

It will break my heart if my future hamster doesn't like the cage. Would a dwarf hamster be my best bet? Or can I get away with a male Syrian?
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Old 08-04-2022, 05:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: What kind of hamster will be content in 1000 sq. inch cage?

Male Syrians can be easier to please than females. However, a dwarf hamster would most definitely be very happy in a cage that size with plenty overhead cover. The cage set up can make a huge difference with dwarf hamsters though - especially when you have enough overhead cover that they feel confident enough to really use the entire cage.
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Old 08-04-2022, 06:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: What kind of hamster will be content in 1000 sq. inch cage?

I'm trying to work out what 1000 square inches is in length and width in cm! Ok it's at least 120cm by 50cm. Which is a very large cage and I am sure a male Syrian would be very happy in there. Most females would be as well (although for some females, no cage is big enough!). Even the most active of male syrians should be very happy in there.

The key may be to how it's set up - not only enough depth of bedding but plenty of overhead cover - eg a platform and a labyrinth house plus lots of floor tunnels and hidey places. So they have places to dive under and not too much open space above - it can make a big difference - especially if it's a tank style and you can't have things hanging from the roof to give overhead cover.

So maybe a platform one end, a labyrinth house the other end (it'll need to be on legs to sit above the bedding), large cork logs make good floor tunnels - the extra height is like overhead cover - and it's an interesting texture to climb over. They can also make a good ramp up to a platform if wedged partly underneath at an angle.

Some dwarf hamsters might actually be overwhelmed by the space - that would very much depend on personality.
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Old 08-04-2022, 11:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: What kind of hamster will be content in 1000 sq. inch cage?

I think keeping a hamster happy is not only about cage size.

I currently have four male Syrians and they all happily live in cages smaller than yours but also get and enjoy regular out of cage time.

You could look into getting a male Syrian from a rescue where the personality and needs of the hamster is already known.
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Old 08-05-2022, 01:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: What kind of hamster will be content in 1000 sq. inch cage?

hmmm. A male Syrian should be happy, but if you can’t upgrade then maybe a dwarf is your best bet as they will definitely be content in an area of that size. I think it’s around 850sq inches in studies where they are pretty happy. I agree with the others in terms of cage layout.

My boy is in a 1200sq in enclosure and he wasn’t happy the first month or so. Consistently trying to escape. Did escape. We had to make a raised lid that in the end gave about 80cm of height to keep him in. I was upset and immediately set out noting down ideas about a bigger DIY. He had a ton of hideaways in there, 12inches + of bedding, but he wasn’t happy. It was quite soul destroying actually because I felt absolutely evil despite putting my best efforts in to keeping him happy. It wasn’t nice. Especially reading all these threads about happy hamsters and wondering what I was doing wrong. In the end I waited it out, brought more items to cover the expanse of the cage, and in getting a little older he seems to have calmed down... (unless i’ve just got better at sleeping through it lol)

So you could try a Syrian but be prepared for sleepless nights and stress if you manage to end up with one that is more demanding. Be prepared to spend a lot on supplies to switch it up for them. On the flip side you have the experiences of the people above, with smaller cages and content hamsters.

If your heart is with a Syrian (the same as mine...), then go for a Syrian. 1000sq inches is bigger than most can offer and think of it as saving the little guy you get from something 500sq inches or less which he would most likely be put in. The accessories you can give make a big difference, so really crowed the cage. If you don’t they’ll feel unsafe and act quite erratic. (In fact I think accessories are on a par with cage size. If you have a 5000sq inch cage with a few tunnels your hamster will be horrifically stressed.) In the first month monitor your hamster, see what he likes. Hiding under platforms, climbing (I know people say hamsters don’t climb but after owning a few I don’t really agree pahaha. My boy ALWAYS choses to climb instead of using the ladders i’ve given him.), digging around, different substrates? Adapt the cage to fit his wants.

Good luck and go with your gut! I just had a look and it’s saying 44 gal has around 490sq inches? You had a female in that size so there was possibility of showing signs of slight unhappiness as they can be that much more active than boys. So don’t let that past experience change your mind about what species to own, this time round will be completely different as your cage is literally double the size!
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Old 08-05-2022, 03:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: What kind of hamster will be content in 1000 sq. inch cage?

I agree with Ria - I have had a few Syrians and none of them have been in a cage as big as yours. They have been in 100 x 50 cm cages and most of them (all males) have found the space a bit scary unless there was plenty of overhead cover. In fact one Syrian I downgraded again to his original 80 x 50 cage and he was much happier in that and much more interactive. Style can make a difference with a shy hamster. Our shy hamster was nervous about top access and jumpy about bar clanging but more confident and out and about more in his 80 x 50 cage (which is about 620 square inches)..

Our current Syrian is a very active male. He is in 100 x 50 cafe with a shelf a labyrinth house a large wheel tunnels and good depth of substrate. He loves it and did as soon as he went in there. But being highly active he wants to come out every night and has playpen time.

He is the only male I’ve had who I thought might benefit from an even bigger cage but actually then he might not get as much out of cage time and interaction so it’s a balance. He just needs a good spurt of exercise and energy in the evening:

Most of our male Syrians have been, frankly, lazy or laid back. The two most active ones were both cream .

I am sorry you had a bad experience and some female hamsters can be very maverick and hyper. But I also agree with Ria that sometimes it is not just the size of the cage.
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Old 08-05-2022, 03:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: What kind of hamster will be content in 1000 sq. inch cage?

I’d just add that there are other things can make a hamster frantic in a cage: cage cleaning stress, moving things around (disturbing the layout), too much open space e above (height). Nowhere dark to retreat to. The smell of other pets in the room, a lot of noise.

I’m sure you already tried everything with your last girl but the one thing I think helps a hamster settle in a cage is a large house that is dark inside and open underneath on top of the substrate. So they can build a large nest and have normal behaviours like hoarding under it or in another area of the house. This mimics a burrow. They need that privacy at times. If it’s big enough to put a litter tray in they will do their toiletting inside the house too.
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Old 08-05-2022, 10:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: What kind of hamster will be content in 1000 sq. inch cage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmityvilleHams View Post
Male Syrians can be easier to please than females. However, a dwarf hamster would most definitely be very happy in a cage that size with plenty overhead cover. The cage set up can make a huge difference with dwarf hamsters though - especially when you have enough overhead cover that they feel confident enough to really use the entire cage.
Good to know. I just have a few items right now. A large labyrinth type hideaway with three rooms, the wheel, two platforms, a sand bath, a bridge/ladder, and wooden hallow log. I'll be sure to buy some more things so there's little open area in the cage.
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Old 08-05-2022, 10:47 AM   #9
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Default Re: What kind of hamster will be content in 1000 sq. inch cage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
I'm trying to work out what 1000 square inches is in length and width in cm! Ok it's at least 120cm by 50cm. Which is a very large cage and I am sure a male Syrian would be very happy in there. Most females would be as well (although for some females, no cage is big enough!). Even the most active of male syrians should be very happy in there.

The key may be to how it's set up - not only enough depth of bedding but plenty of overhead cover - eg a platform and a labyrinth house plus lots of floor tunnels and hidey places. So they have places to dive under and not too much open space above - it can make a big difference - especially if it's a tank style and you can't have things hanging from the roof to give overhead cover.

So maybe a platform one end, a labyrinth house the other end (it'll need to be on legs to sit above the bedding), large cork logs make good floor tunnels - the extra height is like overhead cover - and it's an interesting texture to climb over. They can also make a good ramp up to a platform if wedged partly underneath at an angle.

Some dwarf hamsters might actually be overwhelmed by the space - that would very much depend on personality.
Thanks for the tips! Here's the cage, I have the large size: Amazon.com

I'm really hoping a male Syrian will be happy. I'll order some cork logs as well.
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Old 08-05-2022, 10:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: What kind of hamster will be content in 1000 sq. inch cage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by otto View Post
hmmm. A male Syrian should be happy, but if you canít upgrade then maybe a dwarf is your best bet as they will definitely be content in an area of that size. I think itís around 850sq inches in studies where they are pretty happy. I agree with the others in terms of cage layout.

My boy is in a 1200sq in enclosure and he wasnít happy the first month or so. Consistently trying to escape. Did escape. We had to make a raised lid that in the end gave about 80cm of height to keep him in. I was upset and immediately set out noting down ideas about a bigger DIY. He had a ton of hideaways in there, 12inches + of bedding, but he wasnít happy. It was quite soul destroying actually because I felt absolutely evil despite putting my best efforts in to keeping him happy. It wasnít nice. Especially reading all these threads about happy hamsters and wondering what I was doing wrong. In the end I waited it out, brought more items to cover the expanse of the cage, and in getting a little older he seems to have calmed down... (unless iíve just got better at sleeping through it lol)

So you could try a Syrian but be prepared for sleepless nights and stress if you manage to end up with one that is more demanding. Be prepared to spend a lot on supplies to switch it up for them. On the flip side you have the experiences of the people above, with smaller cages and content hamsters.

If your heart is with a Syrian (the same as mine...), then go for a Syrian. 1000sq inches is bigger than most can offer and think of it as saving the little guy you get from something 500sq inches or less which he would most likely be put in. The accessories you can give make a big difference, so really crowed the cage. If you donít theyíll feel unsafe and act quite erratic. (In fact I think accessories are on a par with cage size. If you have a 5000sq inch cage with a few tunnels your hamster will be horrifically stressed.) In the first month monitor your hamster, see what he likes. Hiding under platforms, climbing (I know people say hamsters donít climb but after owning a few I donít really agree pahaha. My boy ALWAYS choses to climb instead of using the ladders iíve given him.), digging around, different substrates? Adapt the cage to fit his wants.

Good luck and go with your gut! I just had a look and itís saying 44 gal has around 490sq inches? You had a female in that size so there was possibility of showing signs of slight unhappiness as they can be that much more active than boys. So donít let that past experience change your mind about what species to own, this time round will be completely different as your cage is literally double the size!
I'm sorry to hear about your experience, but glad to hear it's going better! So they key is to have the cage a bit cluttered with little open space? I really want to Syrian, but I think I would be fine with a dwarf. I have an appointment with a breeder tonight where I'll look at both types of hamsters.

The bin I had my last hamster is in exclusive to the US, I think. It's the same as the IRIS Christmas tree bin, also in the US only, I think. It was around 800 square inches. It's the biggest bin available in the US.
Iris 44 gal. Storage Tote with Wheels | The Container Store
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