Hamsters are neat little pets that you can own without having to spend too much cash. For many people, hamsters will be among the most convenient pets to buy.
Since they don’t take up a lot of space, it’s easy to own hamsters even if you don’t have a big home. You can buy a small hamster cage and get the other necessary equipment easily.
You don’t want to get a hamster cage that is too small, though. It can be bad for hamsters if they’re forced to live in a cage that isn’t quite big enough.
Read on to learn how much space hamsters need. This will give you a good idea of what you should look for when buying a cage for your new hamster.
How Big Does a Hamster Cage Need to Be?
When it comes to how big a Syrian hamster cage needs to be, it’s recommended to buy a cage that is at least 24 x 12 x 12 to get good results. Buying a cage that’s smaller than that will make it very tough for the little hamster to get enough exercise.
Some would even say that those cage dimensions are a bit too small for many hamsters. Regardless, this is considered to be the cage size that’s acceptable for hamsters.
If you want to give your hamster a better experience, it’s wise to buy an even larger cage. Hamsters will enjoy it if you give them cages that are as big as possible.
This doesn’t mean that you need a massive and towering hamster cage, but you should try to give it lots of room to play. It makes it more likely that the hamster will be happy and that it’ll exercise regularly.
The size of the hamster’s cage directly impacts its health. Hamsters that live in small cages often experience health problems and become overweight.
You should take the time to check out different cage sizes to see what will fit in your home. If you can find a slightly larger hamster cage than the 24 x 12 x 12 cage size recommended above, that’ll be fantastic.
All of this information is for Syrian hamsters specifically. The basic principles apply to the other types of popular hamsters as well, but you’ll want to learn about them individually.
Later, you’ll get information on the other two popular hamster types – dwarf hamsters and Chinese hamsters. This will ensure that you can make good choices no matter what type of hamster you’re interested in.
What Is the Minimum Size for a Hamster Cage?
As mentioned above, the minimum cage size for a Syrian hamster is considered to be 24 x 12 x 12. This is the acceptable starting point for hamster cages.
Going smaller than that will be detrimental to the health of the Syrian hamster. If you don’t have space for a 24 x 12 x 12 cage, it’s not recommended for you to buy a hamster.
You need to measure the space in your home where you plan to keep the hamster. Ensure that you have enough space to accommodate a cage of the appropriate size.
If you don’t have a lot of room, it’d be better to wait until you can comfortably fit a hamster cage. You shouldn’t try to force a hamster to live in a smaller cage.
Thankfully, most people will have more than enough space for a hamster cage. They don’t take up a lot of room overall.
Some people who live in economy apartments might struggle to find the space if they also have a lot of possessions. Otherwise, it’s unlikely that you’ll have a hard time finding a good spot for a hamster habitat.
It’s also worth noting that the minimum cage size will be different for dwarf hamsters and Chinese hamsters. Below, you’ll learn a bit about their cage requirements.
Best Cage Size for Chinese Hamsters and Dwarf Hamsters
Dwarf hamsters and Chinese hamsters are pretty close to the same size. They’re going to have very similar requirements when it comes to cage size.
Even though these hamsters are small, they’re going to need room to run and play. You’ll want to buy them a cage that is at least 24 inches tall.
It’s recommended to have the floor space measure in at 40 x 15. Of course, this is just the minimum tank size that you want to shoot for.
If you want to get a larger cage for your hamster, that’d be even better. Note that the information above is for just one hamster.
When you plan to keep two hamsters in the same cage, it’s not wise to go too small. They need even more space.
Can You Mix Different Hamster Species?
No, you cannot mix different hamster species and have a Syrian hamster live with a Chinese hamster. There isn’t any acceptable combination of different hamster species that can live in the same cage.
Hamsters are solitary creatures that are used to hiding and protecting their turf. In the wild, they will defend their territory from other hamsters that try to invade.
This is why it’s not easy to get hamsters to live together. Different species of hamsters have no chance of living together peacefully.
It’s not even a good idea to put two hamsters of the same sex in the same cage. They’ll generally wind up fighting and it’ll be a terrible experience.
You can sometimes get opposite sex pairs to get along nicely. Even then, there can sometimes be issues with fighting.
Often, it’s easier to give hamsters their own small cages. If you wish to keep multiple hamsters, it’ll be safer to have each of them in their own little habitat.
Why Are Small Cages Bad for Hamsters?
Small cages are bad for hamsters because they don’t have enough room to move around. When hamsters can’t move around properly, it makes it so they can’t exercise.
Hamsters act unusual when they’re placed in cramped cages. They will become less energetic and stop playing.
This will often cause the hamsters to gain a lot of weight fast. A hamster might wind up becoming so overweight that it’ll have problems getting around.
It’s common for hamsters to lose the use of their back legs when they get too heavy. If you see a hamster dragging its back legs, that’s a sign that it is experiencing cage paralysis.
This can be turned around by helping the hamster to lose weight and giving it a big enough cage. If you want your hamster to stay healthy, getting the right cage is imperative.
You need enough room in the cage to include lots of toys for them to play with, too. Toys are an important part of getting hamsters to exercise and stay in good health.
Different Types of Hamster Cages
Of course, you need to know that there are different types of hamster cages to choose from. Some hamster owners like certain cage types better than others.
Wire cages are the most common type of cage that you’ll find. These are okay for hamsters, but some hamsters might have issues with them.
They’re easy to climb for hamsters and that could put your pet in danger. Also, hamsters sometimes try to chew the wire bars when they’re stressed, and that can hurt them.
It’s also true that wire cages are messier than the other options. Hamsters will often push their bedding out of the cage and the area near the cage will need to be cleaned regularly.
Tanks with wire tops are a much better fit for most homes. You’ll have a plastic or glass hamster tank with a wire mesh top.
The hamsters won’t be able to climb up the walls of the tank. If they try, they’ll simply slide down due to not being able to have anywhere to grip.
Tanks like these are ventilated properly while also being easy to clean. As a beginner, this is likely your best bet.
Finally, you can also use vivariums or aquariums to house hamsters. They aren’t made specifically for hamsters, but you can make them work.
These are made from glass and you will need to get a mesh top for the tank. The ventilation isn’t as good as the normal hamster habitats.
Learning more about hamster cages should make it simple for you to make good choices. Now you know that hamsters need cages that are at least the minimum size required for their species.
Often, you’ll want to get a slightly larger cage than necessary to keep the hamster happy. Hamsters are energetic little pets that love to run around and play.
If hamsters don’t have enough room to play, it’ll be bad for their health. Ensure that whatever hamster habitat you purchase has enough room to house the hamster as well as plenty of toys.
Buy the right type of cage to have the best experience. Generally, buying a hamster tank with a wire top is the best way to go.
Enjoy caring for your hamster. Whether you’re interested in a Syrian hamster, a Chinese hamster, or a dwarf hamster, you’ll do well so long as you follow the advice above.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.