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Choosing The Right Wire Hamster Cage

Updated on June 15, 2011

Hamster cages made of wire with a plastic base are a popular choice for hamster owners. They are sturdy, often attractively designed, and reasonably priced. When you start looking for the right wire hamster cage, you will find many, many choices. So how do you know which one is right for your hamster?

First, decide how much you’re willing to spend. What you can get for your money may depend on where you buy your wire cage – local pet stores, big box chain stores, or online. Local pet stores may be a bit more expensive, but you typically get personal service. Online stores offer a lot of choice, but usually offer little personal service.

Once you have a price range in mind, use the criteria below to help narrow your decision.

Typical wire hamster cage with plastic bottom
Typical wire hamster cage with plastic bottom

What’s the Length and Width of the Cage?

Hamsters are very active, and they like to have lots of room to run and exercise. If you purchase a hamster cage that is too small for your pet, it will get bored and may begin destructive behaviors. A wire hamster cage should be at least two feet long by one foot tall for a single hamster.

In addition to holding your pet, a wire hamster cage will also need to hold a wheel for exercise, a food dish, water bottle, and a few toys. You hamster will also need room to dig and burrow into his bedding. Your hamster will be happier and less likely to attempt to escape if you give it lots of room to move around.

There are adapter kits that you can purchase that allow you to connect one hamster cage to another with hamster tubes, which gives your pet more room to run.

How High is the Cage?

Hamsters love to climb, and they will use their feet to climb all around their cage. Some hamsters even climb to the top of the cage and hang upside down! However, your hamster can get injured it it falls from a high enough point, so you will need to consider this as you decide which type of cage to purchase.

Due to the danger of falling from the top of the cage, you should consider purchasing a cage that is longer than it is tall. If you have a cage that is several stories tall, consider adding ladders, tubes, and ramps that will satisfy your pet's desire to climb while providing more safely.

How Deep is the Base?

The plastic base at the bottom of the cage is designed to hold the bedding and hamster toys in the cage. You'll want to find a wire hamster cage with a plastic base that is deep enough to easily hold at least two inches of bedding material, so your pet has room to dig and burrow. You will also want your hamster to have enough room to sleep, and ensure that there is enough bedding to contain waste.

In most cases, your hamster will dig and burrow enough to kick bedding, food, and poop out of the cage through the wire bars. Ensure that you have some space around the cage where bedding can fall, and be prepared to clean up regularly.

How Safe is the Cage?

Since hamsters are often escape artists, you will want to ensure that your wire hamster cage has a door that can be securely fastened. Some people use an extra piece of wire to secure the cage door, especially if they have had a previous hamster escape. Remember that other pets like cats and dogs, along with small children, are likely to poke into the cage, so you will want to place it somewhere so that your hamster doesn't get hurt.

Think about the needs of your pet along with the space you have for a cage when you are purchasing a new hamster cage. And keep in mind that if the wire hamster cages don’t appeal to you, you can look at a glass aquarium to house your hamster.

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