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HAMSTER HOUSING AND CAGES

There is no lack of variety when it comes to your hamster's housing. You can build a veritable city for your hamster with different combinations of cages, tubes, tunnels, penthouse suites and a variety of other features, which are as much fun for you as they are for your hamster. On the other end of the scale, your hamster can easily live in a simple wire cage or in an aquarium.

Wherever you decide that your hamster should live, consider these points:

Housing/Cage Style

Aquariums: Both glass and plastic aquariums can be used as hamster housing. Plastic Hamster Cages are lighter and therefore easier to clean than glass, but scratch easier.

Both glass and plastic aquariums have the advantage of being draft-proof; therefore, shavings and bedding remain inside (and not all over your floor!). They are easy to clean. However, glass and plastic aquariums accentuate temperatures so they can become quite hot and even dangerously so in direct sunlight. In addition, unless you add a specially designed top that takes add-ons, standard clip-on water bottles do not work (although they can be adapted with the use of stick-on Velcro pads). Aquariums are not suitable for a clip-on exercise wheel, although a freestanding wheel can be substituted. You must keep in mind that a freestanding wheel will take up more space in your hamster's home than a clip-on wheel.

If you decide to use an aquarium as your hamster's home, you must cover it securely so that he cannot escape and to keep out your other household pets. Wire mesh tops or ventilated plastic tops designed specifically for these purposes are available. Don't use a solid cover, or condensation may form inside the aquarium, heat will be trapped and there is no air circulation/ventilation - all of which can make your hamster sick.

Hamster Cages: Traditionally hamster cages have a plastic base with a rigid, snap-on wire top, but you can also find cages with a solid plastic base and a snap-on, ventilated clear plastic top. Cages are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and sometimes have exercise wheels. Some wire-topped models are two stories or more high. Although these cages may seem plain when compared to housing that is more elaborate with tubes and tunnels, they are relatively inexpensive and you can enhance them by adding various hamster furnishings and toys. Additionally, air flow in these cages is better than in an aquarium and it is easier to attach water bottles and accessories than it is in an aquarium.

Hamster cages generally have some type of "house" in which the hamster can hide. If your hamster's cage doesn't have a house, there are plastic, wood or ceramic houses available. You may also use something made out of cardboard such as a box or toilet tissue roll.

Tube Cages:Some cages are designed as a series of plastic tubes. Hamster Cages With Tubes can be more difficult to clean than the traditional hamster cage. You must also ensure that the connecting tunnels will be large enough for your hamster to pass through when he is fully grown and your hamster may try to eat the plastic, which can result in injury or escape.

Hamster Habitats: Clear, plastic tank-like habitats designed for hamsters and other small rodents provide many options. Created to take various add-ons such as tunnels, tubes, spinners, tree houses, slides, ladders, penthouses and sky towers, these clear condos provide a varied environment in which your hamster can exercise and play. This style of housing most closely simulates the tunnel habitat in which hamsters live, but it can be expensive and more difficult to clean than the standard hamster cage.

Size

Your hamster's home should be large enough to provide ample room for his exercise wheel, sleeping area, food-hoarding area and toilet area, with room left over to scamper about. It is best to provide the largest habitat possible.

Safety

The door must close firmly so your hamster cannot push it open and escape. The doors should open outward rather than inward. If you use an aquarium with a wire-mesh or plastic top, make sure that the top fits snugly over the sides and that the hamster cannot squeeze out. Your hamster's cage must not have sharp edges or broken wires that may cause injury.

If the cage is plastic, make sure there are no exposed edges through which the hamster could chew and make an escape.