How to Set Up a Hamster Cage

Have you recently decided to get a hamster? Hamsters are super cute pets, and are quite easy to care for, given they are provided with a proper habitat. Setting up your hamster’s cage correctly from the start will go a long way into helping your hamster settle in smoothly and ensuring your pet is happy. In this article, your local vet Aurora goes over a few basics of how to properly set up your hamster’s habitat.

Choosing The Right Cage

There are several different types of cages that are suitable for hamsters. Large plastic cages, wire cages, and aquariums are all appropriate. If you choose an aquarium, make sure that either the top or at least one side is made of wire or mesh to allow for proper ventilation. If you have a Syrian hamster, your pet will need at least 360 square inches of floor space, but more is always better. You can get a multi-story cage, but make sure that young hamsters can’t fall from the higher stories.


Making sure your cage is situated in a suitable area is very important. Never put a hamster cage in an unheated room, garage, mudroom, or walkway. These little cuties need to be at room temperature – 65 to 75 degrees – to be comfortable and stay healthy. Hamsters are nocturnal, so you may not want to situate your pet’s home in your bedroom, as he’ll be most active while you are sleeping. The kitchen is also not a good location, for sanitary reasons. A family room or living room is fine. Hamsters do have sensitive ears, so you won’t want your little buddy to be too close to a TV or stereo.

Cage Setup

When you bring the cage home, you’ll want to rinse it well to be sure there is no residue on it. Once you’ve dried the cage, you’ll want to add a few inches of a proper substrate. Avoid pine and cedar substrates, as these are toxic to hamsters. You’ll want to add food and water dishes and a litter box, and at least one hidey-hole.


Hamsters need stimulation to stay happy and healthy. You can get your hamster an exercise wheel. Just be sure to get one with a solid floor, as wire wheels can hurt your pet’s feet. Chew toys, climbing toys, willow balls, tunnels, and runabouts are all good options. Be careful with plastic, as this can be very dangerous if your little pet decides to eat it. To keep your hamster from getting bored, you should change out his toys frequently.

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