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Small pets

Hamster cages

18 replies

rubytwokids · 22/03/2010 23:55

DS really wants a hamster. He can't have one, as he is only three and I don't know where I'd put one, but I'd be happy for him to have one eventually.

He's totally struck on those rotastak cages - the ones with all the tubes. Do hamsters like these and do they have enough room to exercise and move about?

I'm under no illusions and fully accept that it would be me caring for it. I don't mind that. Ds is good with small animals and has met and handled other hamsters. I'm just not sure that any hamster is ready for a 3 y-o! So it's a case of not just yet and if and when we do, I'd like to be sure that the hamster (who will answer to the name of 'Space Cage Buzz Lightyear', apparently) will be properly and appropriately housed.

Advice on cages welcomed!

OP posts:
lynpat · 23/03/2010 10:14

Hi, we are hamster experts!! having had 5 or six over 10years or so. In my opinion the rotstak cages look fun and are certainly good for young hamsters but are a nightmare to clean!

We have an excercise ball and my dd gets it out daily so although the cage we now have is smaller he gets plenty of excercise, she is 11 tho!

Animals are fab tho to teach them responsibility etc .........

Hope this helps

rubytwokids · 23/03/2010 22:41

Exercise ball: good idea! I hadn't thought of that. Hmm yes, how do you clean all those tubes? Do older hamsters struggle with the tubes?

Also, what kind of hamster: Syrian, Roborovski, Russian or Chinese? So many to choose from! I had one Syrian (weren't they called 'Golden' then?) as a child and two consecutive pairs of Russian hamsters in my teens/early twenties.

Thanks for the advice - about two years before I need it, but stiil helpful!

OP posts:
uggmum · 23/03/2010 22:46

My dd has a Hamster. It looks really cute and is well handled. However, it eats it's way out of it's cages. I have never known a Hamster like it. We are on our 3rd cage. It ate itself out of the last cage and we found it in the dishwasher.
It will not use a ball or the wheel in the cage and is over-weight. My ds has goldfish and they are far easier

JaynieB · 23/03/2010 22:55

We've had a couple of Syrian but one was really aggressive and bit and the other was very nervous, but generally if handled well from the start they are great. I've also had Russian ones which I loved and found really easy to handle. My Mum had a Roborovski and it was impossible to handle and had a strong smell - bit like wee soaked digestive bisuits! It was so tiny it could just run through your fingers.
We had a rotostak and they are good, varied habitats but I accidentally knocked it and didn't realise I'd dislodged a pipe and the hamster escaped - DP took a morning off work to track it down! I must admit though the hamsters drove me up the wall with all the night time wheel running - I ended up taking the wheels out at night.
My DP is a big fan of gerbils and I have to say, they are very entertaining - not really handling pets, but very active and interesting to watch. We've had several pairs (none at the moment sadly) and DD loved watching them as a baby, they aren't nocturnal and are quite inquisitive and nosy so will always come out and have a look at whats going on. They destroy everything though - we had them in a big glass tank with shelves which was ideal, lots of space to put rocks and paper tubes and big pots of peat for them to burrow in.

rubytwokids · 29/03/2010 21:25

Thanks for the tips. Hmm - going off Roborovski's. A wee-soaked digestive? LOL! and also EWW! Ds is very sensitive to smells, so I don't think he'd appreciate that either. I just remembered that my only experience of Chinese hamsters involved being slightly at the enormous testicles. 90% testicle, 10% hamster.

I think I'm most temptd by the Russians. Ooh - I want some now! But I will be strong...I will wait until the good and proper time.

Like the idea of gerbils, JaynieB, but I think ds will want to handle them. Uggmum, dd wants fish. Dh already has some but they give me the creeps.

OP posts:
rubytwokids · 07/04/2010 23:50

Looks like it will be a Syrian, as ds said today, 'I don't want Roborovskis, I want a cinnamon!'

I'm almost as gutted as he is that we have to wait!

OP posts:
BloomingFlowers · 08/04/2010 12:20

Robo's are too small and too fast for little fingers. They are shy, fast, skitty and wriggly. I've had two (sisters) for six months and one is lovely and responds well to handling; but the other is vampire hamster and will make a detour to take a chunk out of you.

Syrians are ideal for little fingers, as long as you choose well. Take at least a week to choose; go and visit them at the pet store at various times; and insist on handling them.

We did this and had a "shortlist" at two different pet stores; third visit; pretty hamster took a chunk out of both husband and myself.

We went back To "ugly" hamster; who I'd rejected on the basis of ugliness on our first visit; but she chose us. She was just so affable and lovely.

She died yesterday and I am overwhelmed with sadness at the moment.

Rotostak cages are bad news.They look fantastic, but they are insecure and not really for the hamsters' benefit.

I bought two; the space station; and another big unit (can't remember the name now). I bought "ladders" for the Robo's.
They're insecure, difficult to clean, in practical... humans buy them, but hamsters wouldn't choose them.

I ended up buying two Ruffy cages (3ftx2ft)with stands; they have what I consider to be reasonable space for two Robo's and one Syrian respectively. In addition, because they are so deep, you can bury tubes/burrows in the shavings etc. I also had/have bridges/burrowing towers. This mimics their natural environment; is secure and hygienic.

Having said that; my Syrian died yesterday, very traumatically.

To say i am sad is an understatement.

And no; I won't be getting another hamster

bruffin · 08/04/2010 12:39

Robo's flatten themselves, so they can sqeeze through anything with wires. We had to get the big duma plastic cages. Completely out of proportion to their size and we ended up with two as our sisters started fighting at about 9 months old.

They are lovely to watch but a 3 year old won't be able to handle them. My DS was brilliant with them when he was 10.

We had ours for 2 and half years and was really sad when they died. I miss them still.

BloomingFlowers · 08/04/2010 13:10

Robo's are very difficult to cage effectively.

The Ruffy cage I have (and I did buckets of research) are safe for Robo's; they can't get through the spacings. It has to be 10mm or less.
It's a 3ft long cage and they have a good 9" of shavings in there; but the tray is so deep that you can bury tunnels etc.

They've also got burrowing towers/bridges etc as it has the room for them to move.

Off to start a thread about dead hamster; really need some input on this...

bruffin · 08/04/2010 13:37

The pet shop we bought our robos from said they had experimented with every cage they sold and found the only ones robos couldn't escape from was the large dunas.
The only wiring the duna have is in the lid which they can't reach. Plenty of space in the bottom for wood shaving and tunnelling.

Although my DN had a little dwarf(can't remember which type probably a winter russian) that used to launch itself from the platform and hang by its front paws to the wires.

Northernlight · 10/09/2010 16:09

JaynieB - did you have both syrian hamsters in one cage? I think your only supposed to have one as they can end up killing each other..?

Blondeshavemorefun · 18/09/2010 22:46

agree a nightmare to clean and tbh i prefer normal cages with bard where hammys can swing

with a pole to climb/wheel/ and a toilet roll tube and being got out to play every day in a ball and handling there is no real need to rotastak cages

c0rns1lk · 18/09/2010 22:52

A 3 year old is too young for a hamster I think - sorry. They will also bite. We have a lovely syrian but she will bite if disturbed from her sleep. I worry at my ds's handling ours and they are much older, as I know from past experience how easily they are sat on/stood on.

Alwaysworthchecking · 21/09/2010 22:21

Thanks for your continuing advice. We are still several years away from a hamster of our own, but I like to plan ahead. Wink

c0rnsilk, don't worry - even ds says he is too young for a hamster. He wants one, but is happy to wait. He's enjoying the advance planning as much as me, I think. He's four now but I still wouldn't consider a hamster for him yet. I wouldn't trust him not boot the exercise ball across the floor tbh, and this is a child who loves animals and is good with them. He's still 4 though! Even at 7 or so (he tells me this is a good age for a hamster) I wouldn't expect him to take sole care of the hamster, but would take it on as my responsibility. Never can understand people who say, 'the dc begged for a pet, I bought them one and who do you think cares for it?!' Well...durr!

Interesting what people say about the rotastaks being for us and not for the hamsters. I've often wondered that. I think ds would really enjoy enriching a 'plainer' cage with tubes and the like.

Sorry to hear about your hamster, Bloomingflowers. Sad

DiscoDaisy · 21/09/2010 22:35

We have a syrian hamster who lives in a habitrail ovo cage. It has all tubes coming in and out of it which my daughter bought as add ons with her pocket money. The hamster doesn't like being handled but he will take treats out of our hand and will sit and listen when we talk to him. I'm glad in a way that he doesn't like being handled because he is so quick and I think we would lose him. We have guinea pigs as well and the children sit and cuddle them instead as they are the perfect child pet. All in all our hamster is very well loved and I often find my DD who owns him chatting away to him about her day and what she's been doing and he sits there listening away to her!

TheHeathenOfSuburbia · 21/09/2010 22:58

We adopted our last hamster from the RSPCA (I kid you not!), their minimum cage size was 75 x 40 x 40cm. That was rather hard to find as most cages were smaller, we ended up with this one, with the extension level with it to make it three-storey.
But it did give hammy lots of room to run around and have different toys in there with her, too. Oh, and she never escaped.

HamsterPoo · 21/09/2010 23:01

Rotastaks can fill up with condensation. I suspect they do not have enough ventilation. Oh, and they are a bugger to clean.

LightlyKilledCrunchyFrog · 19/10/2010 19:03

I bought a Habitrail Ovo for our new friend, he seems really happy in it.

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