Hamsters really do get bored! When they are bored they demonstrate boredom behaviors such as gnawing the wire of their cages…
But this article isn’t about hamsters’ boredom behaviors, it’s about how to prevent these behaviors by housing the hamsters in a cage that is big enough and comfortable enough for them to be able to relax and feel at home.
Scientists and other observers of hamster behavior are still not sure what the perfect cage size should be. Here are some examples:
- The most popular “Homemade Hamster Cage” is the remodeled plastic storage bin cage. Plastic storage bins can be made livable for hamsters if some windows are cut into the top or lid of the storage bin. This can work; storage bins are lightweight and easily kept clean. To read more about this option, Click Here.
- Yes, Fish and Reptile Tanks are an option. This is because these tanks are very sturdy and escape-proof. Not only that, but there is no set-up required. Just make sure that the lid fits fairly tightly and you have a secure home for your Hamster.
- Rabbit and Guinea Pig Cages can be modified to make good Hamster Homes. Compared to small-sized commercial Hamster Cages, some of which are way too small, these cages can be more than adequate in size. To prevent your Hamster escaping through the widely spaced bars, affix a layer of wire mesh around the outside. This should solve the problem.
- The Premium Size Commercial Hamster Cage may be the perfect fit for your Hamster. Forget about the smaller sizes though; they are not usually large enough for a Hamster to be comfortable in. Most commercial Hamster cages that are of an adequate size are sold in the UK, but USA Hamster owners may be able to import one from there.
Even though there has been at least one study carried out, it is still difficult to say for sure which cage size will keep a Hamster happy. Some examples of cage sizes are-
- 1,800 cm. sq. which equals 279 in. sq.
- 2,500 cm. sq. which equals 387 in. sq.
- 5,000 cm. sq. which equals 775 in. sq.
- 10,000 cm. sq. which equals 1,550 in. sq.
Although the Hamsters in the largest sized cage demonstrated the least boredom behaviors, it can still be difficult to determine which cage size is the best one for them. This is because Hamsters always demonstrate some signs of boredom or restlessness. They continue to run up and down and across the sides of the cage and they also gnaw on the bars of their cage. Hamsters may even demonstrate their own version of lethargy or boredom.
Generally speaking though, Hamsters are happier in larger cages. The research has proved that they manifest fewer signs of boredom in cages of 1,500 in. sq. Yes, Hamsters are happier in a 10,000-cm. sq. cage, although they still persist in showing signs of boredom! (For a list of large hamster cages, check out HamsterCageFinder.com)
Based on the information above, various organizations have developed opinions about the cage-size that is best.
- The RSPCA Recommended Minimum Cage Size is 450 in. sq./3.1 ft. sq./2903 cm. sq.
- The ASPCA Recommended Minimum Cage Size is 200 in. sq./1.4 ft. sq./1290 cm. sq.
- The HSUS Recommended Minimum Cage Size is 288 in. sq./2.0 ft. sq./1858 cm. sq.
The numbers above represent the Recommended Cage Sizes for the aforementioned organizations, but unfortunately, these figures do not completely solve the problem. They are Recommendations and nothing more – they are Not Magical Hamster Happiness Numbers. They are merely guidelines as to which cage size can be judged to be habitable or comfortable for a Hamster.
Hamster Owners should be aware that these guidelines are just that – Guidelines. Even though these cage sizes have been recommended by the RSPCA, the ASPCA and the HSUS respectively, a Hamster may not be completely satisfied with any of them. Hamsters can be Difficult and Hard to Please.
Here are some other facts about hamsters
A Hamster can be unhappy in a minimum sized cage.
A hamster can be unhappy in a cage that is of the recommended size.
A hamster can also be significantly distressed (Read Bored or Unhappy.) in a cage that exceeds the recommended size.
It is hard to guarantee the happiness of a Hamster no matter what the size of their cage. Seriously though, some Hamsters, for example Syrian hamsters, need a larger cage – otherwise, it can be difficult to keep them entertained. “Minimum” size is way too small.
After all, the word “Minimum” means the bare essentials. With regard to Hamster cages, it means taking up the very smallest amount of space possible. To complete this analogy, a minimum sized cage is just the starting point in terms of cage sizes. No Hamster, nor any other creature should be caged in the smallest space possible. It’s not humane or fair to house an animal in the barest minimum space allowed and such a thing should never, ever be done.
So why are minimum size cages ever manufactured? A part of the answer to this question revolves around the newness of the research. Researchers and those who are interested in the welfare of Hamsters are still observing them in various environments and cage sizes.
Hamsters can exist even in very small cages, but they will never thrive in them. They will never be the healthy, lively animals that they are meant to be if they are forced to live in a small cramped cage.
It’s sad to say, but some people may not even notice the difference – if the Hamster is alive that may be all that matters to people who have purchased a small, furry creature for the amusement of a child.
If the child is amused and giggles at the sight of the “adorable”, little creature, the adults may not even be aware that the pet they have bought is surviving but not thriving at all.
Our best advice about the perfect hamster cage is to give your Hamster a chance to be happy and purchase one that is at least 10,000 square centimetres in size.
PS: If you came here because you were looking for information on how to stop your hamster from chewing on cage bars, this might help: