Hamsters are small animals making them take up a small space too. Their cages are not big either compared to those of other pets.
But although they will not occupy a big space at a time, they will need more space for their toys, eating, bathroom breaks, and stretching.
As a hamster owner or as someone who is considering getting a hamster as a pet, you can be at a fix on which size will be right for your pet. Well, here we will be tackling just that and setting everything straight. Keep reading.
What size cage does a hamster need?
A hamster needs a cage that is as big as possible for them. Hamster breeds are of different sizes with Syrians being bigger than Dwarfs. However, all hamsters will still require big enough spaces for their exercising and other needs like feeding, toileting, and the accommodation of their toys. When choosing a cage you should consider its ventilation, space, security, and ease of cleaning.
What is the right size of a hamster cage
There have been varying opinions on the right size of a hamster’s cage from different animal organizations and even hamster enthusiast groups over the years.
For instance, The Humane Society recommends 288 square inches for all hamsters while The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(ASPCA) recommends 200 square inches for all hamsters.
That kind of information can be confusing and frustrating as you try to establish which one is right. This ultimately brings us to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) which used to recommend 430 square inches for the smaller dwarf hamsters and 620 square inches for Syrians because they are larger.
That recommendation has already been dropped with the organization citing a lack of enough evidence to back up facts on the correct size. All they advise now is to make sure that the cage is as large as possible.
Though not clearly outlining the measurements you should use while buying your hamster’s cage, it is the approach we will go with because most of the information on size is clouded in uncertainty. Just make sure that the cage you are buying doesn’t seem too small for your pet’s daily needs.
Remember that your pet requires space for their toys, food bowl, water bottle, toileting, and exercise. None of that should be crammed up together.
Choosing a hamster cage
As we have seen, information on the size of a hamster cage is not solid. This leaves us with mainly the basic factors that you should put into consideration concerning a cage before purchasing one.
These are the important aspects you should keep in mind before you take home that cage you feel will be perfect for your pet. You should not buy a cage because you feel that it has the perfect color or a great shape.
You should be guided by factors such as:
Ease of cleaning
Cleaning your hamster’s cage is a necessary chore as it’s one of the routines required for their maintenance. Spot cleaning is usually a daily task while full cleaning can be done weekly or once every two weeks depending on various factors and how dirty the cage is.
This will require picking a cage that is easy for you to clean up. The more accessorized a cage is, the harder it will be for you to disassemble for cleaning and assemble back again afterward.
For instance, some plastic cages do come with many sections already fixed which will need to be taken out first for better cleaning. Some wire cages on the other hand will only need you to take out the wire for the cleaning.
Take into consideration how easy it will be for you to clean up a cage so as not to have a nightmarish time while doing it.
Ventilation will involve how airy a cage is. Does the cage allow enough air through for your pet or is it too squeezed up to even allow good air circulation?
Other cages may even be too airy for your pet. It’s important to always place a cage in a good location away from the direct wind like near open windows and doors.
Space requirement is usually major when it comes to hamsters. The size of your pet will be determined by their breed with Dwarfs growing to 2-4 inches while Syrians grow to 5-7 inches.
Their sizes however will not matter much when it comes to their cage sizes as all hamsters have similar basic requirements. They all need enough space for their cage accessories, for toileting, and for exercising.
Always make sure that the cage caters to this by having a big enough space for each need. Hamsters living in small spaces are more stressed.
A cage lacking enrichment toys will also lead to your pet chewing on the cage. Do ensure that the cage can contain enough toys for them and still have space left.
Check the cage carefully to ensure that each part is well installed to avoid accidents e.g. some sharp parts can be dangerously sticking out.
The doors should be able to lock properly to prevent your pet from escaping. Hamsters tend to be escape artists and they could try to open the door.
Levels in the cage should not be too high to avoid falling and injuries that could result from that. Any built-in wheels must be solid and not have rungs that could trap your pet.
The cage bars must also not be widely spaced because hamsters can fit through small spaces due to their tiny bodies. For instance, Syrians should have a minimum cage bar spacing of 1/2 an inch.
A hamster cage should be as large enough as possible for them. They should have enough space for their daily requirements like exercise, feeding, toileting, and sleeping.
Consider a cage based on its ease of cleaning, how big of a space it has, its ventilation, and how secure for your pet it is. The cage surface should be raised high enough to prevent bedding from falling out into surrounding areas as your hammy burrows inside the cage.
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