Jun 232011
 

Hamster tube mazes can help your pet maintain a healthy weight, fight boredom, and are fun to build. Your hamster will spend many hours inside its hamster cage; and while this may guarantee it is safe, it is not very fun. A hamster will be happier if you provide a maze of tubes or attach tubes that travel both inside and outside of the cage.

Whether you are shopping online or locally there are many varieties of hamster tubes available. These include connectors, straight tubes, T-tubes and U turns just to name a few. With the right amount of cleaning and care, connecting tubes can last many years. hamster tubes

A very cheerful hamster habitat can be created by mixing or matching any of the bright, eye-catching colors. Hamsters love to burrow and are naturally attracted to tubes.

Creating Mazes

By creating tunnel mazes you can help your pet lead an active and interesting life. Hamster tube mazes can be interlinked, overlapping, and go in many different directions – this provides the “maze” effect. There is no end to the twists and turns these tubes can take. For example, you can create:

  • Circles
  • Figure eights
  • Slopes that go up
  • Slopes that go down

What else can you do with your maze?

  • Tube roadways can go up over a desk and even under the bed.
  • Try adding a dead-end or two to make it more interesting.
  • Water, food and even look-out stations can be added to attract the hamster to different parts of the maze.
  • You can construct mazes that are distinct and unconnected. Each maze can be a separate area just for hamsters to play and exercise within.
  • Additional tubes can be added over time making distinct pathways for hamsters to travel.
  • A petting station that has a hinged lid will allow ample opportunity to play with your hamsters when they take a break from their maze running.
  • Hamsters like to roost, so you can add a sleeping dome with enough bedding to snuggle into. This can provide your pet a safe place to sleep.

See some wild and crazy mazes by looking at Hamster Tube Video Reviews.

Hamster Tubes and Cages

Since your hamster spends a lot of its entire life in a cage; that cage should be as interesting as possible to help keep your hamster stable, healthy and happy. And children will love planning the layout of the cages and tube maze.

Some hamster cages already come with tubes as part of their design. hamster cage with tubes

Even if you are using an aquarium for a hamster home, you can add a connecting tube maze that goes around the bottom of the fish tank. hamster tubes

Hamster tubes can be used to connect two or more cages together. One cage may be placed low and the other up higher with tubes connecting the two cages together. This is like a mini-maze for your hamster. When a hamster is required to climb up or down it will be even more fun to watch.

Cost

Prices are quite affordable with tubes being sold for about $10 to $15 for a package of four or more. When shopping online numerous brands, prices, and styles can been seen in a matter of only a few minutes time. The best part may be that you can order everything you need without ever having to leave the comfort of your home.

A hamster that is active can live longer and hamster tube mazes will ensure your pet is entertained and healthy. And it’s also great fun to watch hamsters as they navigate through their hamster maze.


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Mar 102011
 

One of the most typical hamster cages is the wire cage. It’s made of metal bars with spaces between them and usually has a plastic base. Below you can read about the pluses and minuses of the wire bars on these cages. For a discussion of wire hamster cage size, height, cleaning, and security, read Guidelines For Buying A Wire Hamster Cage.

Air circulation

As you know, hamsters do a lot of running, so they need plenty of good air flow. The spaces between the bars on a wire cage is a real plus for air circulation. It helps get air in and allows the bathroom fumes to get out. On the other hand, if you put your cage too close to a window or an air-conditioning duct, the cage will be too drafty. Too much cool air can make your hammy ill. So be careful where you locate your wire cage.
wire hamster cage

Size of the spaces between bars

The size of the spaces, or how much distance there is between two wire bars, can make a big difference in whether this type cage is the right one for your hamster. Hamsters are escape artists and if the spaces between the bars are too large, your hamster will try to get out
wire hamster cage

Larger type hamsters, like a Syrian or Teddy Bear, will usually not fit between wire bars that are 1/2 inch apart, so this type of cage is good for them. Dwarf hamsters, like a Roborovski, may be small enough to squeeze through 1/2 inch bars and escape. This is why many people use an aquarium for a dwarf hamster.

When you’re thinking about buying a wire cage, check the space between the wire bars. Think about whether or not your hamster can squeeze through the space.

Gnawing

Remember, hamsters need to gnaw on things because their teeth are always growing. Some hamsters are going to gnaw on the wires of the cage. Make sure the wires are chew proof. That means they are not made with paint that can chip off and hurt your hamster. To make sure your hamster has something to gnaw, be sure to keep quite a few chew toys in the cage.

Some hamsters gnaw on the wire bars just because they’re bored. So make sure your hamster has enough toys to play with and gets plenty of exercise. Give your hamster some play time outside his or her cage in an exercise ball.

Also, even if your wire cage is chew proof, some hamster owners find the gnawing noise annoying – especially at night.

For more information, read What to Do About Hamster Cage Bar Gnawing.

Security

There are also a few safety considerations when you’re thinking about using a wire cage. Small children can stick their fingers between the bars. This lets them touch and play with the hamster. But sometimes little fingers can get caught between the small spaces between the wires.

The spaces between the wires also may mean that your other pets can try to attack your hamster. For example, cats can stick their claws between the bars and try and grab your hamster. If you have a wire cage place it up high enough so that other pets don’t try to get to reach your hamster in the cage.wire hamster cage starter kit

Attaching items

Wire bars can also be convenient when you want to attach hamster accessories. For example an exercise wheel can be attached to the cage. A water bottle can also be attached to the side of the cage. By attaching things to the side of the cage you can get more space at the bottom of the cage so your hamster can have more room to run around.

To buy hamster cages, go to the hamster cages and accessories page.

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Jan 212010
 

Where’s my hamster? What hamster owner hasn’t said that at least once? Usually, your hammy will be hiding in its cage – in some tube, under some toy, or deep in its bedding.

Breakout by Stinging Eyes, on Flickr

But hamsters are explorers and if given the chance, they will get out of their cage and investigate their surroundings. We call it “the breakout” or “the great escape.” When it happens, it’s usually panic time! Because of their small size and ability to hide, an escaped hamster can be lost forever.

Preventing your hamster from breaking out is your best defense against a lost hamster. There are two primary reasons hamsters escape: Hamster cage problems and owner/handler problems.

Hamster Cage problems

Wire bars spaced too far apart. While Syrian or golden hamsters are about 5 to 7 inches (13 to 18 cm) long, some dwarf hamsters are only 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) long. So a wire cage built for a golden hamster can have bars that are too far apart for a dwarf hamster. Also, over time, when the cage is used, moved, and cleaned, some of the bars can become spread apart. And it doesn’t take much space between bars for a hamster to squeeze its body through.
hamster cage

Wire and plastic cages not put together well. A good hamster cage should have pieces that fit together tightly. But sometimes plastic parts don’t fit together well. Or maybe the cage pieces just weren’t put together tightly enough. This can happen after a cage has been cleaned. Either way, this leaves gaps between pieces that your hamster can get out through.

Aquarium cage top poorly secured. People who use aquariums for hamster cages often use wire mesh to cover the top of the cage This cover must be secured tightly or sure enough, you hamster will figure out a way to climb up to the top and push its way out.

Gnawing through. Hamsters continually gnaw to keep their growing incisors the right length. This means if you’re using a wooden cage, your hamster will likely keep on gnawing until they make a space big enough to fit through. Hamsters will also gnaw on plastic tubing which can eventually get too thin, allowing your hamster to break out. Even gnawing on metal bars can eventually spread them apart, giving your hamster an opening to escape through.

Latches. Metal and plastic cages will have a door to get your hamster in and out. Because they are used often, door latches are weak points. They can become loose over time. Your hamster can push against the loose door and away it goes!

For more information about the different types of hamster cages click here.

Owner/handler problems

Not paying attention. When your hamster is outside its cage, someone needs to keep a close eye on him or her. If the hamster is playing in its exercise ball or toy car, keep in mind that these toys can break or be gnawed through. If that happens, your hamster will be off and running. The same attention is needed when you’re playing with your hamster. Holding and petting your hamster is great fun. But if you decide to put hammy down on the floor or on your bed, don’t think it will just sit there – it may decide to make a run for it.

Handler is too young. Of course you want to share the fun of holding your hamster with other people. But some people, such as very young children, may get surprised by a furry little animal crawling on them and make a sudden movement like jumping. Your hamster will get scared, jump off the person, and likely run away.

Prevention

To prevent your hamster from escaping, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Check the spaces between wire cage bars to be sure they’re close enough to keep your hamster in.
  • Inspect plastic cages to be sure pieces fit together tightly and there are no gaps
  • Look over wooden enclosures for spots where the hamster is gnawing through.
  • Tightly secure the top on an aquarium cage.
  • Be sure cage door latches are always tightly closed.
  • Supervise your hamster when he or she is outside the cage.

Taking these safety measures means you won’t have to say “Hey! Where’s my hamster.”

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Aug 102009
 

The first article about what goes inside a hamster cage was about bedding and water bottles. The other important things to be sure are inside your hamster cage are:

  • Exercise wheel
  • Exercise ball
  • Toys
  • Food bowls

Exercise Wheel

hamster exercise wheel

Hamsters like to run any where from 3 to 6 miles (4 to 9 km) every day. Therefore, it’s best to have an exercise or running wheel in the cage so they can get their running in. One of the newer types of wheels with a base is the flying saucer wheel, or spinner, so named because of its open design.

hamster spinner

The two primary types of wheels are either freestanding, in which the wheel comes with a base, or the kind that attaches to the side of the hamster cage.

Wheel considerations include:

  • Safety
  • Noise

Safety

One type of wheel which is not recommended is a wheel made of metal or wire spokes or bars.

  1. A hamster’s leg, foot, or toe could catch in the bars, resulting in your hamster getting a fracture.
  2. A hamster could get their head stuck between the bars.

For safety sake, then, get a hamster exercise wheel with a solid back and a solid running surface. These are typically made of plastic.

Some plastic wheels include treads. These allow your hamster to get a better grip when running.

Another safety concern is the size of the wheel. You don’t want your hamster to have to bend his or her back while running. Naturally, smaller wheels will work for dwarf hamsters, but you will need at least a 6 ½ inch (16 cm) wheel for Syrian hamsters.

Noise

Hamsters tend to run in the evenings or at night. If you’re trying to sleep near your hamster and the wheel makes a lot of noise, you’re going to have a long night (unless you’re a heavy sleeper!).

There is much disagreement, at least on the Internet, about which exercise wheels are quiet and which ones make noise. Checking out the wheels in the pet store doesn’t really tell the story.

Before you buy a wheel, please read the reviews from owners on the major pet sites. Then use these as a guide to your purchase.

Typical methods for quieting exercise wheels include:

  • Putting vegetable oil (never real oil) on squeaky parts
  • Using duct tape to tighten the attachment between wheel parts
  • Making sure the base of the freestanding exercise wheel is sitting solidly and evenly on the cage floor

Exercise Balls

hamster exercise ball
As an alternative to an exercise wheel, exercise balls, are also available. These round plastic balls, with vents, let your hamster get exercise outside of the hamster cage.

When using exercise balls:

  • Only keep them in the ball for about 15 or 20 minutes as your hamster can get overheated.
  • Never use an exercise ball around stairs.

Hamster Toys

Hamsters need chew toys to help maintain their teeth. And hamsters need play toys to have fun!

Hamster Chew Toys

Hamsters are born with a full set of teeth – and they never stop growing. A hamster must chew and gnaw so his or her teeth do not get overgrown. Overgrown teeth can cause eating and other problems for the hamster.

Some hamsters gnaw on the bars of their cages to grind down their teeth. This can destroy the cage or, if the cage is painted, can cause the hamster problems. Therefore, you should provide your hamster with chew toys. hamster chew toys
Chew toys can be:

  • Wood sticks or blocks
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Unflavored hard dog biscuits

Other toys

hamster toys
Search online for “hamster toys” and you will find a wide variety of things for your hamster to play with.

There are wooden houses, straw huts, ladders, extension tubes, tracks for exercise balls, and many more items to keep your hamster from getting bored.

Hamster Food Bowls

Your hamster has to eat, so be sure to have a small bowl to put his or her food into.

A ceramic bowl will be heavier than a plastic bowl, which the hamster may knock over or chew on.

Be sure to clean your feeding bowl often because hamsters will sometimes use their bowl for sitting or as a toilet.

With the right hamster cage furnishings including bedding, water bottle, exercise wheel, chew toys, and a food bowl, your hamster will provide you with hours of viewing fun – and stay healthy too!

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Aug 102009
 

What are the most important things that should be inside hamster cages? When your hamster is living in his or her cage you want to be sure they have everything they need to run, eat, sleep and give you hours of viewing pleasure. To do this, you need:

  • Bedding
  • Water bottle or dish
  • Exercise wheel
  • Toys
  • Food bowl

This article focuses on bedding and water bottles. Inside Hamster Cages: Exercise Wheel, Toys, Food discusses the other items.

Bedding

hamster bedding

You will need to cover the base of your hamster cage with a bedding material. Hamsters need bedding material to:

  • Burrow and dig, because that’s their nature.
  • Make a nest in which to sleep
  • Absorb their urine

For these reasons, you need to provide them with deep bedding of at least 2 inches (5 cm). Make sure the hamster bedding is non-toxic and digestible.

Bedding materials include:

  • Wood shavings
    • Aspen wood shavings: Recommended
    • Pine or cedar wood shavings: Not recommended. Contains phenols which can cause your hamster to have liver or respiratory problems.
  • Paper-based materials: Recommended as they are absorbent and non-toxic. A typical brand is Carefresh.
  • Meadow hay: Recommended as long as it was not sprayed with chemicals.
  • Shredded paper, such as paper towels or plain paper: OK. It is soft, but does not absorb your hamster’s urine very well and will become very soggy. If you use shredded paper be prepared to change it quite a bit.
  • Shredded cardboard: OK, but may be rough and uncomfortable for your hamster.
  • Shredded newspaper or any other paper with ink on it: Not recommended. The inks can be harmful to your hamster.
  • Corn cobs: Not recommended. They can get moldy or get eaten, both of which are dangerous for your hamster.
  • Ordinary cat litter: Not recommended. It has too much dust and is too rough for your hamster’s feet.
  • Cotton-based materials, such as fabrics: Not recommended. Not safe because a hamster might eat it and it tends to get caught in hamster toes.

Water Bottle or Bowl

You have two options for making sure your hamster has enough water to drink.

Water Bowl

A water bowl is less expensive than a water bottle. If you use a water bowl or dish in your hamster cage, be sure it is:

  • Small, so it doesn’t take up a lot of room in the cage.
  • Made of a heavy material that your hammy can’t tip over.
  • Made of material your hamster can’t chew on, such as ceramic or stainless steel.

The big disadvantage of a water bowl is that your hamster is likely to kick bedding material into it, meaning you will spend a lot of time taking it out of the cage, cleaning it, and refilling it.

Water Bottle

hamster water bottle

You’ll find many different water bottles designed especially for hamsters. They are typically made of break-resistant plastic, a screw top, and a metal drinking tube, with a ball bearing in the tip.

Since bottles hang upside down, the ball bearing lets your hamster drink without letting the water leak out.

You should hang your water bottle outside the cage with only the drinking tube sticking into the cage. Then use a metal guard hanger to prevent your hamster from chewing on the plastic parts of the water bottle.

Glass water bottles are not recommended as they can break.

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