Friday, 29 March 2013

Hamster cage drama llama

There's been a fair amount of drama on a facebook group I am a member of recently, with a couple of members complaining about "hate" they've got for their hamster cages. Their theory is that the manufacturers wouldn't produce bad cages, or a pet shop wouldn't sell bad cages, and they will not listen to reason, recommended cage size guidelines, or common sense.

The Ferplast Laura, at a tiny 46x29 cm
Cage size guidelines vary between country to country. I found a great blog post by Dashing Hamsters that illustrates these different guidelines. In the UK, the RSPCA recommends that a hamster cage "should be at least 75 x 40 x 40 cm". Unfortunately, most commercial hamster cages available in pet shops don't meet these guidelines at all!

The people in question then argued that their hamsters had wheels, so didn't need a large cage. The wheels in question were of course the ones that came with the cage, and so were tiny six inch diameter ones. Now these wheels are fine for a Roborovski, or a smaller Campbells, Winter White or Chinese, but for a full grown Syrian they are not appropriate. To be comfortable while on the wheel and to avoid spinal issues and deformities, a hamster has to have a flat back while running on a wheel. For a Syrian this means a wheel must have a minimum of eight inches diameter, but a lot, especially here in the UK where we have some giant breeder hamsters*, need rat wheels of eleven or twelve inches diameter.

The Savic Hamster Heaven, at 80x50 cm
Out of the two members who were the source of this drama, the first ended up being banned from the group after getting nasty at other members for informing her of these things, and basically stating that she didn't actually care for the hamster. The second has actually been looking in to getting the hamster heaven cage and a decent wheel, though, so it's not all bad!

*when I say giant, I mean giant. The largest Syrian I know of weighs in at 317 grams, and a fellow hamster fanatic recently bred a litter who have all been dubbed "guinea hams" because of their size, with their mother being 300+ grams too. Compared to my Annie, who is 168 grams...


  1. Which one is that one? I saw drama mentioned on a FB friend/HC member about the Syrian hamster UK group. I was added to that one but I don't think to check it much. The Syrian one I do frequent can get that way too. I do not understand how people can argue in defense of their small wheels a cages. It's like they wanted what they felt was the cheapest pet possible and thought the cage was a deal and then don't want to spend any more on the hamster. Breaks my heart.

    1. Hello :D It is the Syrian Hamsters UK group. I should start linking people to this blog post, or this one, from dashinghamsters, when these arguments start ;)

      (Although they quote the RSPCA one as different to what I've seen, the leaflet I quote my figures from says 75x40 but dashinghamsters says the RSPCA says it's 75x50.)

      One argument that came up was that the hamster had a good sized wheel for out of cage playtime, so the fact the one in the cage was too small wasn't an issue. Erm... unless the hamster gets playtime throughout the night, when it is most active, this doesn't really make any difference. An hour or so in a playpen doesn't make up for not having access 24/7 to a suitable wheel!

      ... I may have ranted a bit there XD

  2. Oh and this is hammyhappenings. Lol

  3. Hehe hamster drama! Many pet stores are pretty wrong about animal care. Not just for hamsters, but other creatures too of course.

    1. I wish pet shops were better. Understandably, people assume pet shops know what they're talking about, when they don't.

      There was even more drama this week, I'll save it for another post though ;)

  4. Great article! We take pride in knowing pets and their supplies. That is where we stand out from other petshops.

  5. does anyone know if 45x30x45 and a good sized wheel would be enough?