How much space does a hamster needs in its cage?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

If you’re here and reading this article, it means that either you are interested in buying a hamster or maybe you have already selected one at your nearest shop but have no idea about how big its cage should be.

So how much space does a hamster really need? For Syrian hamsters, they should typically have a floor-length of at least 360 square inches. While Dwarf hamsters should have a floor plan of at least 288 square inches. However, the standard size for most hamsters should be 450 square inches according to experts.

But is the cage size the only thing you need to be worried about when it comes to owning a hamster?

In this article, you’ll be able to find every little detail that is necessary for a new hamster owner. So let’s get into it!

How Much Space Does A Hamster Need In Its Cage?

If you are buying a new hamster for yourself and are confused about how to keep it, you need to know quite a few things. Even the cage of a hamster requires multiple things to be kept under consideration because this cage will become their home soon. So, you need to make sure that you keep them as comfortable as possible.

What is the breed of your hamster?

First things first. As soon as you decide to buy a hamster, you need to know about what breed you are going to adopt. This is what will help us decide the kind of things and cages we need to keep your hamster safe and sound.

Syrian hamsters

A Syrian hamster is also known as golden, teddy and even a fancy hamster. They live up to 3-4 years and grow about 5 to 7 inches and can weigh up to 5 to 7 pounds. This breed likes to live in isolation and if kept with each other, there are high chances that it may fight others to death.

They will need a lot of toys and distractions in their cage so that they can be kept busy or else they may dig holes and try to get out because they are very curious. Hence, the floor-length of cage size for this breed needs to be at least 360 square inches.  Even though they are easy to tame and keep as pets for the beginners, they need to be kept busy for their healthy life.

Dwarf hamsters

The second most adopted breed of hamsters is called the dwarf hamsters. These are also very easy to keep as pets especially in schools to teach the children about taking up responsibilities. They live up to 3 years and weigh about 2 ounces and grow as big as 5 centimetres.

This breed likes to live with their pairs or even in groups. Hence the floor-length of the cage for a dwarf hamster should be at least 288 square inches. They also need just as many activities as the other breeds, but they usually adapt to the waking and sleeping patterns of the owner, so they are more fun to be around.

Plastic cage or a wired cage?

The two kinds of cages available for your hamster are wire and plastic cages.

Wired Cages

Wired cages are a great choice as hamsters love to climb on to them. When buying a wired cage, you need to be sure that the wires are half an inch apart only, otherwise, your furry squishy pets may squeeze their heads through the rods and get their heads stuck.

Another thing that you need to keep an eye out for, is that you should place the cage on a hard surface where there is minimal distance between the wire rods and the surface.

This needs to be checked carefully because in case hamster loses its balance and falls from the wire, it does not hurt its feet. If it’s a baby hamster and there is some distance between the surface and wire rods, baby hamsters have a high probability of getting their feet hurt.

Plastic cages

Plastic cages, on the other hand, are closed from all sides and can have sand and other things placed in it easily. They are more trending amongst the hamster owners as well. Plastic cages will also be great to ensure that other animals or insects do not get inside the cage and your hamster stays safe and sound.

Plastic hamster cages also come with wires and allow your hamster to climb around easily and in a safer environment compared to wired cages. The last thing regarding plastic hamster cages will be that these cages are long-lasting and more durable compared to wired cages.

Apart from the wired and plastic cages, there are wooden and aquarium cages for hamsters as well, but since they are difficult to work around with, they are not the top choices of hamster owners.

Ventilation And Ease Of Cleanliness Of Cages

Once you have decided upon the breed of your hamster, one of the most important things to consider while buying a perfect cage for your hamster will be of ventilation and cleanliness.

Whatever kind of cage you think will suit your hamster better, you need to be absolutely sure that the cage is easy to clean for you in order to maintain the hygiene and that the cage has a good ventilation system so that your hamster does not suffocate.

Ventilation in wired cages

The wired cages have very good ventilation because they are open. You can place a plastic tray in the cage where the hamster can walk and sleep easily. The cleanliness will also not be a problem in case of a wired cage, because you can easily just pull out the tray and clean it up and place it back inside.

But you will have to make sure that no other pets of yours get close to the cage and harm your hamster. You will also have to keep an eye out for other small insects to ensure nothing goes inside the hamster’s cage which can cause any sort of danger to it.

Ventilation in plastic cages

The plastic cages have multiple tubes and are completely closed, usually from all sides. This will be a problem for ventilation, and you may have to place other things to ensure that your hamster gets fresh air to breath. The cleanliness can also be a hassle for you because the entire cage with tubes will have to be taken down part by part to clean it properly every now and then.

Although there are ventilation and cleaning problems in a plastic cage, these cages can be very useful if you have other pets living in your house. The plastic cages are fully covered and will not allow any other pets or insects to invade the house of hamster and will protect it as well.

What Are Hamster’s Bedding Needs?

When we talk about bedding, we mean the base of the cage where they will be walking and digging more often. It is very important that you have a deep bedding area inside the cage for your hamster.

Hamsters are generally neat and clean animals and need a place that is dry and clean just like their natural habitat. They use the bedding to do their business in and may use another corner to stay warm in during colder months.

Apart from this, they will also need the bedding to burrow their things and nest in it. You can place anything inside the bed from aspen wood shavings to cardboards and greeting cards.

Anything can be used to provide your hamster with bedding needs. The one thing you need to ensure when making bedding for your hamster is that the card or the cardboard box does not have any ink on it. There should be no kinds of printing on the surface because the hamsters can consume ink when chewing. 

Toy Space in The Cages

The last thing to ensure when finding that perfect hamster cage will be to see that the space inside the cage is enough to keep your hamster’s toys as well. Just like any other animal that you adopt as a pet needs toys and entertainment, the same way your hamster will need different toys inside the cage to keep itself busy.

Hamster wheels

The most basic toy you may have to buy for your hamster will be a wheel. Hamsters like to run on a wheel and exercise. The wheel must be big enough so that your hamster can run in it even when it grows up. Apart from the size of the wheel, its placement also needs to be kept in check so that it does not lose grip and your hamster does not fall off.

Hamster wheel will give your little ball of fur all the energy it needs to release. Since hamsters are animals that run a lot in the wild and cover miles of distances in their natural habitat, a wheel will allow it to run and get the feeling of covering that same distance. It will not only keep them busy but will also help them stay healthy.

Bridges and blocks

Hamsters are one of those pets who need a lot of activities. Apart from the hamster wheel, you can set up things on which they can climb up and down easily. Like plastic block with multiple colours, have a multifloored cage, place broad wooden bridges for them to walk or climb up and down on. You can also place thick and strong ropes, but this thing will require very close supervision since hamsters can easily get entangled in them.

Hamster tubes

Hamsters also like to have tubes and they can travel through them, but they may also require a lot of caution because in case the tubes are tight, they may get stuck in them. They may also just stay inside the tube and not get out of them, for which you will have to separate the tubes and then reconnect them again so that you can your pet out of it.

Chewing toys

Chewing toys are also an option for your hamster to get distracted with. Hamsters have teeth growing bigger with time and to keep them strong they need to chew on something. Fruit tree branches from your back yard that are chemical-free can be a good option, other than that you can always visit pet stores and get them chew toys that are not harmful to their health.

Sand dish

One of the things that hamsters love to do is dig. So, if you can get a deep dish or a box and have clear filtered sand put inside, it will make a very nice activity. They will be able to enjoy their natural habitat elements inside the cage and dig holes as much as they want.

Other Useful Tips

Once you have looked through these things thoroughly, I am sure you will be able to find yourself a perfect cage that your hamster will love and enjoy staying in. Even though the next few things are obvious but still I will mention them because who knows you may need it.

Apart from the above-mentioned list, you will have to make sure that you will need a place inside the cage to be able to place food and water in. Hamsters love to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and need to have fresh food every three weeks. You would want to consider these points as well when buying the cage.

Not just this, you may encounter a situation where your hamster may try to run out of the cage. This may be a sign that your hamster feels that the cage is too small. If you are sure that the cage is big enough then it will just be because of their natural behaviour.

Hamsters are notorious for their escaping skills and are often called as the escape artists. You have to make sure that they do not escape their cage because if they manage to escape, they can get inside anything and everything and it will be like finding a needle in the hay.

Related Questions

Can a cage be too big for a hamster?

No. A hamster cage can never be too big, and the measurements and sizes mentioned in the article mean that the cage should at least that size. Hamsters can run about 8 miles in a night so a cage can never be too big for them.

Should I cover my hamster’s cage at night?

You don’t need to cover the hamster cage at night because they are nocturnal in nature. This means that they stay awake at nights. Hence covering their cage will not encourage them to sleep.

Can you leave your hamster alone for a week?

It is not advised to leave your hamsters alone for more than 48 hours. And in case you have to travel somewhere for that long, it is preferred to get a caretaker for them.

What type of hamster breed is the friendliest?

The friendliest hamsters are Syrian. They are one of the most adopted hamster breeds around the globe, and they can even recognize their owners. After Syrian hamsters, the second friendliest breeds are the Dwarf hamsters and then the Chinese hamsters.

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