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Moving your hamster into a New Enclosure

There are many reasons why you’d want to move your hamster to a new enclosure. Perhaps you’re upgrading upgrading their current enclosure. Maybe your hamster has special needs and needs a completely new enclosure. Here are some tips on how to transfer them to a new enclosure.

Enclosure changes can be very stressful for your hamster. A study done by Gatterman in 1996, showed that transferring a hamster to a new enclosure caused the hamster’s heart rate to spike up significantly. This means the hamster was very stressed. Here are some tips to reduce stress when you move your hamster to their new enclosure.

Transferring your hamster to a new enclosure

  1. Set up the new enclosure with the accessories, toys, and used bedding, from the old enclosure.

    To make the new enclosure feel familiar and comforting, transfer as many items as possible from the old habitat. This includes their favorite toys, hideouts, and even some used bedding to carry over their scent.

  2. Scatter food in the new enclosure and leave your hamster alone for a while to adjust to their new surroundings

    To help your hamster acclimate, scatter some of their favorite food around the new enclosure. This encourages exploration and allows them to gradually become accustomed to their new surroundings. During this time, it's essential to minimize disturbances and let your hamster explore at their own pace.

  3. Gradually add new pieces to the enclosure.

    Over time, introduce new toys, accessories, or items to the enclosure, one at a time. This incremental approach prevents overwhelming your hamster with too many changes all at once, allowing them to adjust more comfortably.

Extending your hamster’s old enclosure

  1. Connect the old enclosure to the new enclosure

    If you're fortunate enough to have enclosures that can be connected or linked in some way, this transition method can be less stressful for your hamster. Attach the old enclosure securely to the new one, ensuring there are no gaps or loose connections that your hamster can exploit.
  2. Put your hamster’s main nest in their new enclosure

    This familiar scent and environment can provide comfort during the transition. You can also distribute some of the used bedding from their older enclosure throughout the new one to help build familiarity.

  3. Give your hamster some time to adjust

    Allow your hamster ample time to acclimate to their new space. During this adjustment period, observe their behavior closely to ensure they are comfortable and adapting well to the change.

  4. After a few weeks, you can safely disconnect or remove the old enclosure

    If your old enclosure is no longer necessary, you can actually remove it. Once you're confident that your hamster has settled into their new habitat and exhibits signs of contentment, you can safely disconnect or remove the old enclosure. Be attentive to your hamster's reactions during this process to ensure a smooth transition.


  1. Gattermann, R., & Weinandy, R. (1996). Time of day and stress response to different stressors in experimental animals. Part I: Golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus Waterhouse, 1839). Journal of experimental animal science, 38(2), 66–76.
  2. Hamsters: Golden hamsters and stress. (n.d.).
  3. Wilde, C. (n.d.). Tiergerechte Hamsterbehausung. Retrieved June 15, 2020, from