Jun 222011
 

Hamster behaviors are appealing and building a hamster habitat with connecting tubes only make those antics more fascinating. In their natural environment hamsters live in burrows with winding tunnels connecting to small chambers.

Hamster connecting tubes are plastic or acrylic passageways that emulate this environment by linking together different parts of the hamster habitat into an integrated living space. Hamsters love to scramble through these simulated tunnels that cater to their natural instincts.

Extending the living environment

Your hamster’s basic living environment can be boring, both for the animal to live in and for you to watch. Adding hamster tubes gives your pet more room to explore. The running and climbing involved provides your pet with exercise and intellectual stimulation. You as the owner get not only the satisfaction of knowing you have provided a better life for your pet but the amusement of watching it interact with its enhanced environment.

Before you design your hamster’s home, put yourself in the animal’s place. You are just a few inches tall, and if you stand on your hind legs you can reach perhaps four or five inches from the floor. If you add a ladder, elevated platforms, and climbing tubes to its home, your hamster can now move in all different directions.

Design the hamster connecting tubes

Plan to connect the tubes at an angle that the animal can negotiate. Short stretches can be nearly vertical, but tunnels of any length should be only a little above horizontal. Keep in mind that dwarf hamsters may have trouble climbing up tall vertical tubes.

The tunnels can be U or lollipop shapes off a single enclosure, or they can connect two or more hamster cages. They should not be short enough that your pet gets bored, or so long that they get lost or tired.

While the tubes need not lead anywhere other than back to the hamster’s living quarters, they can be connected to different and additional living areas for your pet to enjoy. In fact, some hamster cages have holes that let you connect tubes so you hammy can run back and forth between cages.

Like the tubes, these additional running areas should be cleaned whenever they require it. One advantage of the interconnecting environments is that they usually come with plugs, permitting you to shut your hamster in one part of the habitat while you clean a different part.

Think about your pet’s safety, too. To a hamster, connecting tubes can be a trap, particularly if the animal is rotund and the passage is small. Make sure the tunnels are of a large enough diameter for your hamster to negotiate at a run, not a wriggle.

Connecting the system

Hamster tubes come in segments, either straight or bent, that twist together. Most hamster environments can be created by snapping the tubes together with no tools. Some hamster cages come with holes to which the tubes can connect. Be careful not to twist too hard when connecting the tubes to the holes or the plastic can break.

Like any pet, a hamster depends on its owner to provide it with a suitable environment. Hamster tubes can be an inexpensive and visually appealing option to accomplish that. They represent very good value for the money because they keep you entertained while exercising your hamsters.

For more information, read Hamster Tube Tips.


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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.

 

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

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.

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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Jul 302010
 

When you take your hamster out of its cage it’s important that you keep an eye out for possible dangers that can result in injury to your hamster. Think about each of the following when your hammy is out.

Water

You may have seen the cute YouTube videos that show hamsters swimming. DON’T DO IT! Put in water, a hamster will probably start kicking. But that’s not swimming – it’s just trying NOT TO DROWN. What’s more, if your hamster stays in water long enough there’s a good chance he or she will then catch a cold or get pneumonia. So, please, keep your hamster out of the water.

Human Feet

If you let your hamster out to play on his own – in a tightly closed room, of course – be careful who is around. Because a hamster is so small, even a small foot can crush a hamster. Warn other family members and friends when your hamster is out to play.

Other Pets

Cats or snakes can and will try to catch and eat a hamster. A bird may try to peck it to death. Your dog may not want to eat your hamster, but its paw can easily crush it. So when you take your hamster out to play, please keep it in a place where other animals won’t be tempted to hurt it.

Electric cords

To keep their teeth in shape, hamsters have to gnaw on things. That means they may try to gnaw on any electrical cord they come across on the floor. This may include a cord going from a computer or lamp to a plug in the wall. If your hamster is going to be out, you should hide electrical cords, lift them off the floor, or pull them out of the wall and move them out of the way.

Small, sharp items

Your hamster uses its expandable cheek pouches to carry food and bedding. But outside its cage, a hamster is likely to put any small object it finds in its pouch. If any of these items are sharp, such as a pin, staple, or screw, the hamster can cut itself when putting the item in its pouch. Check for small, dangerous items in any areas where your hamster is going to play.

Exercise Ball

Hamsters like exercise balls, those clear plastic round balls. When you put them inside the ball it lets them to run as if they were on an exercise wheel. Your hamster can explore your house while being in a safe space. But there are dangers associated with these hamster balls.

First, the hamster can get dehydrated if you keep him or her in there too long. Recommendations for allowing your hamster to stay in the ball range from 15 to 20 minutes.

Secondly, you must be sure the ball doesn’t get near a staircase. The bumping and jolting of the ball as it goes down stairs can easily break the bones of your hamster.

Finally, remember that the exercise ball should only be used inside a house. The light outside a house is too bright for a hamster. What’s more, a lawn may be too difficult for a hamster to push the ball through.

Keep these possible hazards in mind when you’re taking your hamster out of its cage to play.

For other hamster dangers, read Hazards Inside Your Hamster Cage.


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