Let’s start by talking about what this database is. This database is a collection of enclosures with an estimated floorspace size. We only have estimations based on (mostly) the outer dimensions of the enclosures listed, as most enclosures do not post the inner dimensions. However, when given the inner dimensions we will use that. It is safe to assume however that the larger the outer dimensions are, the inner dimensions should be large as well. There are exceptions to this rule such as irregularly shaped cages.
Though we have tried to include bar spacing and base height of wire/bar type enclosures, some data is still unavailable to us.
As always, prices may change and prices may differ from place to place. Though we try to stay updated at all times, we cannot keep track with price specifics. Not every item is available in every country.
We highly recommend always reading the reviews on the particular product. It is also best to confirm the inner dimensions with the manufacturer or where you’re buying your enclosure from before purchasing, especially if you’re ordering your enclosure online. If you have the option to buy an enclosure in-store, you can bring a measuring tape to get an accurate measure of the inner dimensions.
If you do have information on you, please think about helping improve our database by sending in the dimensions. Thank you!
Before proceeding, I highly recommend reading FiveLittleHam’s post on choosing the best cage for your hamster. Very insightful and absolutely worth the read.
Now, what exactly is an enclosure minimum? A minimum is a way of setting a lower limit to making sure your hamster is humanely living in an area. As most people typically cannot recreate the amount of space a hamster naturally gets in the wild, a minimum helps the pet owner purchase or build a home that is at least livable. This does not mean that getting the minimum amount means your hamster is happy however, and as much as possible, strive for the biggest enclosure you can possibly get.
If you’ve seen our page on hamster enclosure standards from around the world, you can definitely see how the minimum size changes depending on organization and country. Some organizations have way bigger standards than others, while some definitely need to increase their minimum sizes.
Organizations and companies may implement smaller standards for a reason. Some may have a lack of research, others may try to make hamster care more accessible by setting a more inclusive standard that more people can follow while slowly upgrading their standards, as some places have a lack of commercial options that are available to them. Setting a high standard while there are no options may put people off and may turn people away from proper care and lead them to buy an unsuitable enclosure.
However, some may set an incredibly small minimum size so that they can sell you more products. Most cages catered to hamsters in pet stores tend to be marketed to children and are way smaller than the minimum requirements, thus can cause a great deal of stress to the hamster.
A hamster enclosure should have a solid (not wired!) base that is filled with bedding.
Why your hamster needs a bigger enclosure
Hamsters are extremely active animals, and have large territory ranges. Hamsters in the wild often travel many miles each day foraging. A larger enclosure makes it possible to add more enrichments as well as more bedding. Larger enclosures can also make it easier for your hamsters to act as they naturally would.
Hamster cages should also not provide more height than length or width as hamsters need floorspace more than height.
Hamsters with insufficient floorspace, bedding, and enrichments may exhibit stereotypies.
These are repetitive and invariant behaviors without apparent immediate function and may be caused by the animal’s attempts to adapt to its environment. They may also be a dysfunction of the animal’s central nervous system.
Boredom Behaviors and Stereotypies
To some people, these behaviors are so common that they’ve already been accepted as healthy or normal behaviors. Some people may even think that hamsters are naturally aggressive, however, a happy and enriched hamster would not be showing these boredom behaviors.
Benefits of a Bigger Cage
Drawbacks of a Smaller Cage
Cage Size Bare Minimums That We Recommend
Special thanks to FiveLittleHams for the information
If you’d like to help increase the cage size minimum for hamsters, please consider signing these petitions. If you have a petition you would like us to include for your country, do not hesitate to reach out:
Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Enclosure Types
Now you might be thinking that having a bigger cage means that your hamster will be happy and fulfilled. Good news is, you’re almost there! Bedding and substrate both play a very important role in your hamster care.
Deep bedding is important because hamsters love to burrow and it’s one of the many observable things they do in the wild. Burrow depths for Syrian hamsters have varied in the wild between 36-196cm. More bedding in the cage is better, as hamsters who have more bedding tend to be happier and have better health.
In a study on bedding depth, hamsters that were given 40-80cm bedding constructed burrows which they occupied. They also found decreased wire gnawing in hamsters with 40cm bedding while 80cm bedding had no wire-gnawing was observed.
These are the bedding recommendations taken from FiveLittleHams. We highly recommend that they are followed:
|Syrians||30 cm / 11.81 in|
|Winter Whites, Campbells, Chinese Hamster||20 cm / 7.87 in|
|Roborovskis||15 cm / 5.91 in|
Reasons why your hamster is not burrowing
Deep bedding (with a substrate that allows burrowing) should make up at least 1/2 or 3/4 of the enclosure.
A combination of deep bedding and a large cage will be a great improvement to any hamster’s life. Visit our bedding calculator to see how much bedding you will need to buy to fill up your enclosure.
Most animals get enrichment in different ways. These ways often involve interacting with the same species, interacting with humans, and interacting with the environment. However, in the case of the solitary hamster, they cannot get enrichment from their same species. They also may not be getting enough enrichment from playing with their human companions (some hamsters don’t even like human interaction), thus, the only reliable source of enrichment comes from their environment. Thus, we must give hamsters an environment that is as enriched as possible.
An enriched environment is an environment that allows the hamster to perform natural behaviors and allows them to be more active. It should also increase the hamster’s control over their environment and be stimulating.
Hamsters who have a more enriched environment often made more positive judgement decisions compared to hamsters who didn’t.
Must Have Enrichments
Moving Your Hamster to a Bigger Enclosure
If your old cage can be connected to your new one
If you can’t connect your old cage to your new one
A good hamster enclosure will not only have a large floorspace, you will also need deep beddings, a wheel, and other enrichments for your hamster to fully thrive. If you cannot meet all these conditions all at once, it is still better to keep trying. If you have a smaller cage, increase your bedding depth and add more enrichments until you can upgrade. Allow your hamster to free roam or spend time in a playpen. If you do not have enough substrate, increase the things your hamster can interact with. If you do not have enough enrichments, things like cardboard tubes make great things for them to play with. Always keep trying to improve.