The Perfect Hamster Cage

Before you get a hamster, you should ensure that you have a species-appropriate hamster cage. Find out here what you need to offer a dwarf hamster a nice and cozy domicile. So your little ball of fur will feel comfortable with you.

General Information About the Hamster Cage

Although hamsters don’t get too big themselves, they need a lot of space. A suitable hamster cage can therefore never be too big and should be at least 100 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm (W x H x D) for permanent housing. If you want to offer your animal a species-appropriate life, you should avoid commercial cages, but instead, consider a sufficiently large terrarium. Although these are more expensive, they contribute optimally to the well-being of small rodents.

First of all, on the subject of a running bike: Although it is a good addition to the exercise program, it definitely doesn’t make up for a hamster cage that is too small. It is important here that the impeller is big enough and that the hamster’s back stays straight when using it and does not bend: this could cause irreparable damage to the spine. It should also not have any rungs, as the animal can get sprains and even broken limbs if it gets caught.

The correct location is also important for the well-being of your animal. You should choose a medium-bright location that is not in the blazing sun: the hamster could get a sunstroke here. In addition, the hamster cage should be in a room that is not too busy. They are calm, sometimes frightening animals that want to be quiet during the day. Last but not least, it is important that your hamster does not get any drafts or it could catch a cold.

Problems with Conventional Mesh Cages

There are a large number of hamster cages on the market, but there are some critical points in the popular lattice cages that we address here and for which we would like to make suggestions for improvement. On the one hand, boredom can lead to the frequent gnawing of the bars becoming pathological behavior; on the other hand, climbing on the bars is dangerous because the hamster can break his paws while climbing if he gets stuck. It is similar to mezzanine floors made of bars: Here, running becomes a strenuous balancing act. It is better to cut boards to size and attach them to the lattice levels. Finally, it is important that the paintwork is non-toxic and does not cause damage even if swallowed.

The condition of the floor pan is also often problematic. On the one hand, they are often made of plastic, which the rodents can break apart with their strong teeth in a short time. This creates dangers for your hamster from swallowed pieces and from breaking out of the cage.

Another issue is the height of the tub: if it is too flat, there will not be enough space for a thick layer of bedding. This is necessary, however, because hamsters also live underground in nature and therefore need enough space and the opportunity to dig. If the tub is too shallow, you will also have more work to do with cleaning up the litter that has been shoveled out. This problem can be solved with cut-to-size Plexiglas, which is attached from the outside as an enlargement of the floor pan.

In general, many hamster owners are now switching to keeping their hamsters in converted aquariums (make sure there is adequate ventilation!) Or terrariums. The problem of the floor pan is too low and all points of the grid issue are solved here at the same time. However, if you want to put your hamster in a glass dwelling, you should pay particular attention to the size. In order to ensure good air circulation, these dwellings should be even larger than the minimum size for conventional lattice cages. In addition, ventilation slots are recommended, as they are already attached to most terrariums.

The Right Setup of the Hamster Cage


The classic litter variant is also commercially available small animal litter made from wood chips. The minimum height should be 20 cm, but more is always better. An alternative is layered layers of chinchilla sand and dry, clean earth, then finally put the wood chips on top. This structure is similar to the natural soil and allows fixed tunnels and caves to be dug. No matter what you finally sprinkle in; It is important to offer enough building material that can be used to stabilize the tunnel systems. Hay and straw, non-toxic leaves (e.g. from fruit trees), or untreated kitchen paper are particularly popular here.

The Design Above and Below the Ground

This point is practically important to ensure that your hamster is also sufficiently busy. Supernaturally, it starts here with scattering a handful of hay, which is used to expand corridors and sleeping caves. You can also put kitchen paper in the cage for the same purpose – whole. Straw also serves this purpose. Your hamster will spread and chop it up as it needs it. Cork tunnels are also a great place to work and hide. You can also use them partially or completely underground, for example, they can be the entrance to the rodent’s tunnel system. In addition, stones, twigs, and other trunks can be used as furnishings. In addition, there are of course seesaws, sandboxes, bridges, running bikes, and much more: there are no limits to creativity.

You should also ensure that there are enough climbing spots: These provide seating and climbing areas and contribute to the animal’s health. For example, you can use slate, shelf constructions, or natural stones and be completely creative again. It is important, however, that you watch out for the potential danger of falling and that the superstructures are stable.

Now for the design under the ground: As already mentioned, hamsters live in tunnel systems, which should also be made possible for them in the cage. You can offer prefabricated tunnels here, for example, empty kitchen paper rolls that are simply laid under the litter. If the right surface is available, the hamster will decide for himself how and where to lay his gears.

Feeding and Watering Place

Here, too, there are a few things to consider. Most suitable for offering water is hanging drinking bottles, also known as “nipple drinkers”. In contrast to the bowl, the water here remains fresh, cannot be contaminated with litter or misused as a bathtub or toilet. However, one has to note that the animals have to adopt a posture that is not entirely unproblematic. So make sure that your animals reach the waterer easily. If this is not the case, consider using a bowl as a source of water instead. However, you have to plan to clean the bowl at least once a day.

There are, however, several options when it comes to giving food: Heavy models made of porcelain or stone are best for bowls, as these are the most stable. Bird bowls can also be used to hang onto the cage grid. These hardly take up space and are easy to clean. However, you should also offer “loose” food: the hidden food must first be searched for, found, and collected with the help of the hamster bags, which comes closest to natural food procurement.


So that your hamster is always fit and rested, it needs a suitable resting place in its hamster cage. Plastic houses are to be avoided, as the air accumulates here on the impenetrable walls and in the worst-case forms waterlogging (“sauna effect”). Pitched roofs are also not an advantage: They rob the hamster of the opportunity to use the roof as a seating and viewing platform. The windows are another point: Too many windows that are too large let in too much daylight and not sufficiently dampen noise: none of this contributes to the quality of sleep. Hamsters are particularly fond of dormitories with multiple chambers – they most closely resemble the tunnel systems that hamsters like to lay on.

Wooden houses in the style of bird nesting boxes are better here. Above all, it is positive that the hamster can wear off their constantly growing teeth here. In addition, a good exchange of air, the necessary noise insulation, and the appropriate clearance are guaranteed.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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