Before you start decorating the hamster home, you should consider where it should be and whether it should be a cage or a terrarium.
First and foremost, it is important that the location is quiet. Hamsters sleep during the day and don’t like to be disturbed. Just as we react roughly when we are roused from sleep at night, it also causes stress in the little rodent. Simply because of the constant “noise pollution” alone, a stereo system or television has no place next to the hamster cage. These chubby rodents have much finer hearing than humans and can still pick out sounds in the ultrasonic range. As a result, children’s and living rooms are no longer used as a location. But a place directly in the sun, i.e. near a window, is also out of the question. The hamster likes it best when the temperature remains as constant as possible. The room should be between 15 and 25 degrees warm. The heat in the hamster home would fluctuate constantly due to direct sunlight or drafts, which causes unnecessary stress for the animal. High humidity or cigarette smoke is also harmful to the health of your little roommate.
The ideal location
In short, the ideal location should meet the following criteria:
- Smoking is not allowed in the room.
- The cage must not be placed near the window, as both direct sunlight and drafts damage the hamster
- The cage should also be on a raised surface, such as a table or dresser.
- The room temperature should be in the range of 15 to 25 degrees and remain constant. A place at the heater is therefore out of the question.
- The cage should not be visible on at least two sides. Therefore, if possible, push the cage against a wall.
- The humidity must not be too high, otherwise, the little rodents catch a cold easily.
- The location should not be too bright.
Terrarium or cage?
Whether it’s going to be a cage or a terrarium depends in part on what species of hamster you’re going to move into. While Roborowski dwarf hamsters are better off in a terrarium because they are so small that they can crawl through the bars of standard cages, “Chinese stripes” enjoy a cage with transverse bars much more. The latter are real climbing artists who love to clamber up objects, ramps, ladders, and bars. An aquarium is not recommended under any circumstances, as there is almost no exchange of air in the tight glass container and heat such as unused air and ammonia gases from the hamster urine can accumulate and harm the small rodent.
No matter what type of hamster home you choose, it must be big enough. According to the latest research studies by the University of Bern on species-appropriate hamster husbandry, the hamster should have a floor space of one square meter. Since cages and terrariums of this size are hard to come by, you can expand the area by adding more levels to the hamster home. There are even ready-made cages with several floors to buy. Another option is to connect multiple cages using tube systems. You can get these tubes at pet stores. But you can also use drainpipes with a diameter of about five centimeters, which you can get in any hardware store.
Homemade hamster home
The dream of every apartment hamster is to crawl around in underground passages and build cozy chambers. If you want to give your hamster this luxury, you have to use the tools yourself. A reader of A HEART FOR ANIMALS did the same and built a luxury building for his hamster with very simple means. While the upper floor corresponds to an ordinary hamster enclosure made of plastic glass and wooden walls, the special feature lies below: the corridor system. It consists essentially of Styrofoam, over which a layer of concrete or cement mortar about one centimeter thick is placed – important protection against the eager gnawing teeth of the hamster.
At least one bedroom and one pantry should be available, whereby the diameter of the corridors can be adapted to the size of the hamster and the size of the entire enclosure can vary as desired – the larger the above-ground enclosure, the more space the little rodent has. A removable pane of glass or plexiglass attached to the front of the hamster burrow allows the hamster passages and chambers to be cleaned regularly. In addition, the busy hustle and bustle of the little roommate can be observed very well – a spectacle that can certainly compete with any evening in front of the television.