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Housing

As a rescue we advise that all hamsters are kept in a continuous floor space of at least 70x40cm. This is bigger than most commonly sold cages however it is widely recognised within the community that hamsters need a large amount of room to display natural behaviours. Some hamsters will require smaller housing due to health or behavioral problems however this will be made clear in their adoption profiles. In short we go by the motto, the bigger the better!


Alongside the above we also do not rehome to modular cages where the hamster doesn't have one area within the guideline above. Added cages are bonus, they can not make up for one large cage! Examples of these are Habitrail and Rotastak cages.


Below are some suggested housing ideas. Please note that there are many more options however these are some of our favourites. 

For advice to not hesitate to contact us!

The Alexander - Zooplus

Dimensions -  101 x 52.5 x 51 cm (LxWxH) 

(Image: Thanks to Willow Wisp of Hamster Central)

The Alexander cage is one of the biggest on the market that is designed for hamsters. It is a great cage for more active hamsters and comes with levels and houses supplied, however these will need to be painted with animal safe paint such as plastikote in order to make them waterproof and easy to cleanSuitable for both Syrians and Dwarf species.

The Alaska - Zooplus

Dimensions 84 x 48.5 x 44 cm (LxWxH)

(Image: Thanks to Cypher of Hamster Central)

The Alaska is a great choice for those on a smaller budget, it is cheaper than most pet store cages of a smaller size even! The cage is suitable for Syrians and some larger Dwarf hams - smaller hams may squeeze through certain gaps between bars. It comes with a plastic shelf and small hut, the hut may need to be removed for larger Syrians due to its size. 

Hamster Heaven Metro - Various

Dimensions -  80 x 50 x 50 cm (LxWxH)

(Image: Thanks to Cypher of Hamster Central)

The Hamster Heaven cage is a brilliant cage for Syrians and larger dwarf hamsters. It is aesthetically pleasing and a nice spacious size. On top of the cage there is a 'penthouse' which is attached with tubes, some owners keep this on and other prefer to remove it, This is down to personal choice and is not preferable either way. 

Savic Micky 2xl - Various

Dimensions -  80 X 50 X 38 (LxWxH)

(Image: Thanks to Serendipity7000 of Hamster Central)

The Savic Micky 2xl is a large cage with very small bar spacing, this makes it suitable for both Syrians and all Dwarf species. It is a great investment as it can be used across all species of hamsters so you have no need to chop and change cages as time goes by. It is very similar to the Hamster Heaven however it doesn't have the penthouse or tubes to worry about.


Zoozone 1 - Various, especially second hand.
Dimensions - 72 x 46 x 32.5 (LxWxH)
(Our own Chinese hamster, Plato, lives in this cage!)
This is a great cage to pick up second hand or it is available from various online sites such as equipetable. As some hamsters like to chew their bars this is an ideal cage as it is a plastic tank style. It is available in various colours and is suitable for any dwarf species. Some Syrians may be happy in this space however you will have to use a flying saucer wheel as the height does not allow for the other varieties. Please be aware that the top grill will need to be covered with a small mesh to prevent escapes, this is available in most DIY stores.

Zoozone 2 - Various, especially second hand.

Dimensions - 100 x 51 x 37 (LxWxH)

(Image: ZZ2 as shown on equipetable)

Just like the ZZ1 this is a great alternative to bar styled cages. This style is perfect for a Syrian or Dwarf as long as the top grill is meshed. As with the ZZ1 it is easy to find second hand and comes in a variety of colours.

Wheels, Accessories, Substrate

Wheels


Hamsters require constant access to a wheel unless a health condition prevents it. Although most people know this, Syrian hamsters especially are still being given inappropriate wheels - either too small or not a solid material (eg wire rings). Your hamster needs a solid running surface to prevent a painful foot condition called Bumblefoot. Most Syrian hamsters need a wheel which is at least 27cm (11/12 inches) - opposed to the tiny 16cm (6 inch) wheels that often come with cages. Smaller Syrians may be alright with an 

8 inch wheel however we prefer to go bigger where possible - this will save upgrade costs later on. When given a wheel too small hamsters have to arch their backs, if left in a position such as this your hamster can develop spinal issues. If you see your hamster struggling like this please replace the wheel ASAP. 

Dwarf hamsters need a wheel size of at least 16cm (6 inch), many however prefer 20cm (8 inch) wheels. 

Below are some examples of wheels for both Syrian and Dwarf hamsters.



Small pet exercise wheel - Zooplus

(Image: As shown on Zooplus)

These come in both Syrian (28cm) and Dwarf (20cm) sizes. They are plastic wheels which are easy to clean and do not cost very much

Karlie Wonderland wheel - Zooplus

(Image: As shown on Zooplus)

These also come in both Syrian and Dwarf sizes. It is a wooden wheel that needs painting with animal safe paint to waterproof it. 

Flying Saucer wheel - Various

(Image: As shown on Zooplus)

Another wheel that comes in both Syrian and Dwarf sizes. These are a great alternative to stand up wheels and come in a range of fun colours. Some hamsters may not prefer this kind of wheel, however we have never had any problems. 

Silent Spinner wheel - Various.

(Image: As shown on petplanet)

Again, these come in both Syrian and Dwarf sizes and a variety of colours. They can be stood or attached to the bars of your hamsters cage. 

Bedding/Substrate


Please never use 'fluffy' bedding. This bedding has a cotton wool consistency and is fatally dangerous to hamsters. As hamsters pouch this bedding it can be ingested - if this is done the hamster cannot process the bedding and it becomes an obstruction in the gut. Alongside this it has a tendency of getting caught around limbs and can amputate because of this. Save your hamster and save your vet bills by ditching this and going for a better alternative!


Fitch - Fitch is a paper based 'horse' bedding which is ideal for hamsters to burrow in and is soft to the touch. It holds smell extremely well and comes in large sized bales available from various sources online. 

Finacard - Another great choice for hamsters. This is made from recycled cardboard and comes in bales, although there are some sites where you can get it in smaller quantities. This isn't as soft or manageable as fitch however it is easy to clean and does not smell.  

Carefresh - This is a very similar product to fitch however it is available in leading pet stores and comes in much smaller sizes. It works out as more expensive than fitch however it is handy for those who have little storage space and only one hamster. It holds smell moderately well and is good for hamsters to tunnel in.

Woodshavings - Much better than the commonly used Sawdust - which can cause illness in hamsters! This can be used however is not the preferred choice of the rescue. Please note that some hamsters may have allergies and cannot be kept on woodshavings, however many use it without issue.


The only thing we use in rescue for 'bedding', a material which the hamster can use to nest, is torn up toilet paper. This is extremely cost effective and provides the hamster with all they need, this coupled with a good substrate should allow the hamster to keep warm and act on natural nesting behaviors.