Dwarf hamsters are wonderful little pets that can bring a lot of joy to a home without taking up too much space. Here are some tips for choosing the best style of hamster cage and taking care of the cage for the new member of the family.
There are three general styles of hamster cages to choose from:
- Glass or Aquarium
Each of these materials is good, so the decision can be based on personal preferences. For plastic or glass cages, make certain there is proper ventilation. With wire cages, it is important that the spaces between the wires are small enough that a hamster cannot escape.
How Big Should a Dwarf Hamster Cage Be?
The proper size of a dwarf hamster cage will depend on how many hamsters are going to live in the cage. For just one dwarf hamster, the smallest a cage should be is 24 inches by 12 inches, with at least a 12-inch height.
Dwarf hamsters are small creatures (average weight is between 1 and 2 ounces), but they are quite active. Any enclosure should provide adequate space for the hamster to run around. While a 24- by 12-inch cage will do, a preferable size cage is 18- by 12-inches or larger.
If you have multiple hamsters, the cage will need to be large enough to provide adequate space for activity. It should also provide enough space for the hamsters to separate if they desire alone time or rest.
How to Set up and Maintain a Dwarf Hamster Cage
Once a cage is chosen, there are steps to set it up and take care of it to ensure a happy and healthy hamster. First, choose a proper location for the cage. When considering a location, consider the following elements:
- Temperature. Hamsters require a temperate environment to survive. Ideally, any location will maintain a temperature of 65- to 75-degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid setting near a drafty window or near hot appliances.
- Ease of cleaning. To keep the hamster healthy, the cage must be regularly cleaned. Make sure the cage is somewhere that is easy to access for cleaning.
- Lighting. Hamsters are nocturnal and need to have clear day and night light cues to maintain a circadian rhythm.
- Noise. Avoid putting a hamster cage somewhere that is too noisy like near a television or radio.
In addition to the location of the cage, every hamster cage requires a few, key elements to keep the hamster happy and healthy.
- Bedding. Paper or wood-based bedding is best for hamsters, like wood shavings or shredded newspaper. Pine and cider wood should be avoided.
- Clean water. A water bowl or a drip feeder will help hamsters stay hydrated.
- Hamster wheel. Dwarf hamsters need loads of activity to stay healthy.
- Toys. Toys provide another outlet for high-hamster energy, while also offering mental stimulation.
- Hiding spot. A hamster’s natural defense in the wild is to hide, so put in a tube or other element to allow for them to hide.
How Often Should You Clean a Dwarf Hamster’s Cage?
To maintain an exceptionally clean and healthy hamster cage, a spot-check cleaning should be done daily.
- Remove obvious debris.
- Replace wet and dirty bedding.
- Remove any gross food or chewed-up toys.
A deeper cleaning of the hamster cage should occur weekly.
- Remove the hamster to a ball or other safe location before cleaning.
- Throw away all old bedding.
- Wash or wipe down all parts of the cage, which includes any dishes, toys or exercise equipment.
Follow these basic rules to choose, set up and maintain a hamster cage to help the dwarf hamster live a comfortable and healthy life.