Selecting a cage for your pet
A Suitable cage for your pet is essential for his well being and comfort, please remember, only one Syrian hamster to a cage.
The Syrian hamster is a solitary creature, meaning they prefer to live alone they will not tolerate another in the cage after the age of about 6-8 weeks. Even litter mates will not tolerate each other after this time.
Caging two together of the same or opposite sex will lead to persistent fighting, serious injury and or the eventual death of one.
Different species of hamsters' are best suited to different types of cages. It is important to ensure that any cage you buy is suitable for the type of hamster that it is intended to house.
There are many cages on the market today and sometimes it can be quite confusing deciding which one to buy. Whichever one you choose make sure it is big enough for your pet.
The most popular type of cage used has a plastic litter tray type base with a rigid wire top. The wire top can be unclipped from the base making it easy for cleaning, and easy access to the hamster.
The Syrian hamster is the largest of the species, much larger than the Dwarf hamster.
The cage must be large enough to accommodate any added accessories, the wheel, food dish, nesting box, and any other items or toys you may want to supply your hamster with, and still leave plenty of space for the hamster to move around.
Please be aware any enclosure that is to be used, such as an aquarium or bin cage can be used for hamsters. But is not recommend on a permanent basis, hamsters likes plenty of air circulation.
Aquariums are draught proof and relatively cheap, but also difficult and time consuming to clean, they are also heavy and cumbersome. Plastic ones are lighter but in the course of time tend to get scratched, and become cloudy.
Home made wooden hamster cages are unhygienic they soak up water and urine. They become very smelly and difficult to clean. If using plywood, most ply's have a glue bonding it together, some of theses adhesives can be toxic to hamsters.
Metal hamster cages are not used so often as they used to be, they do tend to rust and are very cold.
There are many types of cages on sale, take care in selecting one. Although some do look nice and colorful. When you first buy your hamster he will no doubt be young and quite small, and may look lost in such a large cage. But in 6-8 weeks time once he has grown he could become to large if you have bought one that is not big enough, allow for that. A cage that is too small for your pet can lead to behavioral problems.
Some of the external compartments, add-on's and tubes are unsuitable for Syrian hamsters and are simply to small for them.
If the hamster cage is more than one level all upper levels should be solid floors and not wired. Hamsters do not like walking on wired floors it hurts their feet, and can cause health issues.
When selecting the cage try to get it right the first time, it may save a lot of expense later. There are a lot of cheap starter kits for hamsters in the pet shops. These consist of a simple small basic cage, make sure that it is large enough for a Syrian hamster.