Knowing about hamsters’ cages or enclosures is vital if you’re a new hamster owner or planning to be one.
For humans, shelter is one of the essential things after food; the same goes for hamsters. Moreover, we feel more comfortable with large rooms than small ones, and the same with hamsters.
Thus, before buying a hamster, you should have a proper idea about the size of hamster cages to make their life happy and healthy.
Here in this post, I’ve written a detailed guide about the sizes of hamsters cages, so let’s check it out.
How Big Should Hamsters Cage Be? Recommended Size
Different hamster owners use different-sized cages for their hamsters; also, if you check the internet, there are different expert suggestions. But there are a few reasons, so let’s check them.
The size of a hamster cage differs from country to country due to different caring standards and animal laws. Hence, countries with high caring standards have large cage options, whereas it is hard to find big cages in countries where hamsters’ caring standard is not high.
In the USA, the bare minimum size of a hamster’s cage should be over 450 square inches for Syrian males and Dwarf Hamsters; for Syrian females, the min size is 600 sq inches, as they are the most active. In Germany and the UK, where hamster care standard is high, the min cage size is much bigger than in the USA.
|Bare Min Cage Size
|450 sq inch of unbroken floor space [for Syrian females, 600 sq inch]
|775 sq inch or 5000 sq cm
|620 sq inch or 4000 sq cm
|Same as the USA
The bigger cage you can get is better because most hamsters feel uncomfortable in less space; thus, later, if your hamster shows issues, you have to replace it.
Thus, if you follow the German hamster caring standards, meaning 5000 cm2 or 775 in2 or 100 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm should be the min cage size [source- wikipedia]. And you can go bigger than that. Many hamster owners recommend 1000 sq inch to 1500 sq inch too.
So it is better to spend once than twice. Although, if your hamster shows any issues later, it is your responsibility to upgrade the cage. If there are mostly small cages in your country, you can go with Aquarium, Bin Cages, or create DIY cages.
“Nowadays, you can see most owners prefer Aquarium, Bin Cages, and DIY Cages if bigger cages [above 100 cm long, 50cm wide, 50cm height] are not available in the market”.
Here I’ve written a particular article about different types of hamster cages and their pros and cons, price, and other key elements.
Syrian vs. Dwarf, Are There Any Cage Differences?
There is not much cage size difference between a Syrian hamster and a Dwarf hamster; the same recommended size can be used for both species. You can use the best standard min size of 100 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm.
Although the Dwarf hamsters are smaller in size and the wheel they need is smaller than the Syrian hamsters, they need large space for a stress-free life. So please don’t compromise with their cage size.
Additionally, Dwarf hamsters burrow the most, so you should have a large cage to provide deep bedding.
Another important thing is you should try to skip wire cages for Dwarf hamsters, as they are the smallest and can easily escape through the bars. However, it is better not to use wire cages for any species.
Why Does the Size of a Hamster’s Cage Matter?
If you already have a small hamster cage, or maybe you don’t have a lot of space and thinking of getting a small hamster cage as suggested by the pet store, then you should look at the problems of a small cage and also the benefits of a big cage from below. Let’s have a look;
1. Hamsters Get Stressed in Small Cages
The biggest problem with a small hamster cage is that your hamster may get stressed. Just think about humans; if someone puts a human into a small room for a long time, she/he will get stressed and aggressive.
Similar case with Hamsters; if your hamster’s cage is relatively small, they get stressed and become aggressive and over-energetic. They soon start biting everything they get, even the cage; they start climbing the cage; this whole thing is known as Cage Aggression.
“However, Bar Bitting is not always the case for small cages. It can be because your hamster needs something to chew to wear down its teeth. Other purposes for gnawing the cage include helping abrasion, generating nesting material, cleaning the teeth, and others”!
In the wild, hamsters usually run a lot to find food; they travel more than 5 miles in a single night. So as they run a lot and do other activities, thus it is simple to get stressed in small cages.
Moreover, the hamsters become unhappy in small cages; they eat, sleep, and do a few other stuff and again sleep; hence they become physically ill. Pacing up and down is also a sign of mental stress for hamsters due to inappropriate cages.
The study of Gernot Kuhnen has proved that cage size and enrichments have a huge effect on the stress level of hamsters.
In this research, he provided big cages for a group of hamsters as well as small cages for another group. He found the stress level of hamsters in small cages was higher than in big cages.
Through this research, he also stated that even the hamsters in big cages also showed stress, as hamsters in the wild travel a lot, so a bigger cage often can be small depending on the character of the hamster or how active the hamster is.
So if your hamster is showing similar behavior, please upgrade your cage to a larger one.
Moreover, the place or room you’re keeping your hamster is also an important factor in making your hamster happy and healthy; here is a post on where to put your hamster cage.
2. Bigger Cage Means More Enrichment
As mentioned above, hamsters need a lot of enrichment to stay physically and mentally healthy. Things like Running Wheel, Hideout, Sandbath, Chew toys, Tubes, and others are important for them.
So to make place for all those enrichment, you should have a big cage because, in a small cage, they might not fit well.
The recommended wheel size for Syrian hamsters is 12 inches, and for Dwarf, it is 8 inches. So, it would be hard to fit a properly sized wheel in small cages.
There are also plenty of toys and other stuff that a hamster owner may like to put inside the enclosure; hence having a big cage can help a lot.
Check out this post here if you’re a beginner and want to know about essential enrichment.
3. Easy To Spot Clean
Hamsters are clean pets; they do like to stay fresh and groomed. Although they don’t need any baths, they groom themselves often.
So as a hamster owner, you must clean a lot; you have to clean the uneaten foods, bedding, and toilet area, change the water daily and clean the water bowl or bottle once a week, and other stuff.
Check this post for a detailed guide if you want to know more about hamster cage cleaning.
In a small cage, it can be difficult to put your hands down and spot clean; thus, having a big cage can help you while cleaning the enclosure.
Also, if you think small cages are good for cleaning, a hamster might not suit you.
4. Deep Bedding for Burrowing
In the wild, hamsters burrow a lot. Burrowing is a natural habitat of hamsters; they dig through the substrate, create tunnels, and live there. They also store food in those tunnels.
Here is an artificial image of tunnels that hamsters create.
So to fulfill their habitat, it is advised to have deep bedding on your hamster enclosure, which may not be possible for short cages.
Also, Dwarf hamsters burrow a lot, so if you have a dwarf hamster, make sure to have a big cage with deep bedding.
As burrowing is a natural habitat of hamsters, they live happier if deep bedding is provided for burrowing. Hence, a big cage is again proven to be fruitful.
Many Brands Target Kids with Small Cages & Fake Suggestions
If you’re a parent buying a hamster cage for your kids, or maybe you’re new as a hamster owner, then keep in mind there are thousands of brands of hamster cages in the market with various colorful designs that attract kids but are not suitable for hamsters at all.
Remember the quote, “Hamsters are not Toys; they Should be treated well”!
Brands actually price their cages cheap for most people to fall into their trap, so they can make huge profits. They mostly target kids with various designs; here are a few examples of those ridiculous cages;
So, for proper hamster care, you need big cages. Thus, you should not fall into the trap of those brands and their fake marketing and suggestions.
Unbroken Floor Space:
You’ll see kids buying multiple unsuitable colorful small cages that can be connected to each other to make a large space. But again, this is not suitable; thus, you often hear the term Unbroken floor space.
Unbroken floor space basically means the total size of a cage, not multiple cages connected with each other. You can not connect multiple cages to make it the bare minimum size, as many kids do.
For example, the bare min hamsters cage size is 450 sq inch, so you can not connect 3x cages of 150 sq inch and call it a 450 sq inch cage. Your hamster will not feel comfortable with such connected cages; one large cage or room would be more comfortable.
Few Cool Ways to Make Large Cage for Your Hamster
1. Get an Aquarium, Terrarium, or Tank
If you are having a hard time finding suitable cages for hamsters, then I think it would be better to seek an Aquarium from a local or online shop and use it as your hamster cage.
Many hamster owners prefer Aquarium; it is big and more suitable than small cages on the market. However, big cages in my country [India] are almost impossible to find; thus, we mostly use Aquarium.
If you’re going to get a tank or aquarium for your hamsters, you should go above 40 gallons or more. Again, you can use a much bigger option, like 60 gallons, 80 gallons, or more. Here’s a 40-gallon Aquarium; you can check on amazon.
But, you have to make the ventilation lids with nets to set to the top of your tank. While doing that process, ensure the wire is made with strong metal, so hamsters can not chew it.
2. IKEA DETOLF Glass Door Cabinet
This is awesome, spacious, and affordable. I’ve seen many hamster owners using the IKEA Detolf glass door cabinet as a cage, as it is big and affordable.
You have to use this glass cabinet vertically, and you’ll also have to make a DIY ventilation lid; that’s it, you’re done. Although the height of this glass door cabinet is short, it is far better than short cages.
Here is a video by Becky’s Animals on how to convert this glass cabinet into a hamster cage.
3. Order from Germany
As told earlier, the hamster care standard in Germany is high, so you can easily get big cages. One of my friends ordered a massive cage from Germany.
You can also buy from Germany via amazon. Living World Green is a great cage you can order through amazon.de.
You may have to pay extra shipping charges, but if budget is not an issue, then definitely go with it.
4. Bin Cages or Big Plastic Boxes
A plastic Storage Bin Box can be a great choice for you if you’re on a tight budget, as storage boxes are cheap, and you need a storage box and add the lid for ventilation.
Do remember you need at least 50 Gallons sized Bin box for proper space; again, you can go with a bigger box than that [60, 70, 80 gallons or more].
Another important thing, make sure the plastic box is not soft because hamsters can chew soft plastic and escape. Hard plastic can do the job for you. Plus, plastic boxes are not good for warm conditions, so you also have to look there.
Here is a video from Victoria Raechel on how you can make your own Bin Cage for Hamster; although the size she used is small, it is just for demo purposes.
5. Make a DIY Cage
Here is another awesome video from Victoria Raechel on how you can make your DIY Hamster cage. The cage she made is great for any hamster. You can make a DIY cage on your own, or you can get the help of a carpenter.
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