Hamster cages is the first thing you must consider once you have decided upon keeping a hamster.
Before buying your new pet hamster you must decide upon the right cage for your new friend this will be a compromise between the needs of your new hamster and the space you have available in your home.
Hamster cages should be as large as you can accommodate as you pet hamster will need room to move around in the hamster cage.
When deciding where in your home to put your hamster cage you should avoid putting the hamster cage in direct sunlight as this can cause severe overheating also radiators and heaters should be avoided as the temperature near those fluctuates greatly. Good ventilation around the cage area is a necessity but cold draughts need to be avoided, if air conditioning is used in the room ensure that the blast of cold air is not directed directly onto the hamster cage.
Once you have decided upon the location for your hamster cage you will then see how big a cage will fit into the space available, remember there are multi story hamster cages available these days and a three story hamster cage will have three times as much area for you hamster to play in than the single cage variety, they are however more expensive so your budget will come into play also.
Your next decision is the type of hamster cage you will be buying for your hamster the choices are plastic cage, glass cage, metal cage, wire, hybrid or timber cage.
The timber cage is the traditional hamster cage, often made by parent and child and with a wire front. These cages can be very attractive and the building process is a wonderful experience between parent and child. The self made timber cage can also be tailored to the exact measurements to fit your available space and can be multi tiered.
When building a timber hamster cage all internal timber surfaces should be untreated virgin timber, painting or varnishing, if needed, should be the outside surfaces only and use water based paints and varnish.
The downside to the timber cage is that hamsters can gnaw on the wood and can eventually gnaw through the cage. If not cleaned regularly then the wood can take on a bad odour from the hamster waste but please note that all cages should be regularly cleaned and fresh bedding installed. You must look after your pet hamster, its well being is in your hands.
Plastic trays can be fitted to bottom of the timber hamster cage to aid cleaning. Ventilation of the hamster cage is something that must be considered when designing your own timber hamster cage.
Wire mesh hamster cages are light airy and robust and relatively in expensive The downside of the wire hamster cage is that the hamster has soft hands and feet and if the floors of the hamster cage are also wire mesh your hamster will be uncomfortable moving around the hamster cage.
Solid floors can and should be fitted to the bottom of each tier of the wire hamster cage. Take care in deciding on the material for the floors as hamsters like to gnaw Plywood and plastics may contain glues and resins that can harm your hamster if it gnaws on the material. Provide gnawing materials to alleviate this problem, thin untreated timber is also a consideration for the floors.
Plastic hamster cages are very popular as the are relatively inexpensive, easy to clean and come in an attractive range of colours. The downside to plastic hamster cages is that they can be poorly ventilated which can lead to health problems for your hamster.
Glass hamster cages, aquarium tanks, are not ideally suitable for hamsters as the lack of ventilation will almost certainly lead to health problems for you pet hamster, however some people do use them.
The metal cage is another traditional type of hamster cage having a solid floor, roof, back and sides, with mesh ventilation areas in the sides or back and a wire mesh front. These cages are robust easy to clean and gnaw proof, care should be taken to avoid mesh floors between stories if a multi tiered cage is used.
The downside of metal hamster cages is that these days they are usually more expensive than other choices. Metal will also conduct temperature so ensure that the hamster cage is sited away from those heat and cold sources.
Popular hamster cages these days are the hybrid plastic and wire mesh cages, this type of cage will have a moulded plastic bottom with wire mesh top clipped to the bottom. The cages can be multi tiered to provided more space on a smaller footprint but if using the multi floor cage remember the wire mesh floor problem.
As you can see getting the right hamster cage for your new friend is a thoughtful process and I strongly recommend that once you have decided upon a hamster as a pet you sort out the cage first before buying the hamster.
Do not leave the choice of hamster cage until the point you get your hamster because then all your thoughts will be on your new friend and you could end up with the wrong hamster cage for your and your new pets needs.
You will also need a bedding box, water dispenser and toys to exercise your pet hamster in your new hamster cage.