We all want the absolute best for our pets and if you own a hamster, that starts with getting them the finest home possible. There are a variety of different enclosures available, but most people decide upon either a wire cage with bars or a glass hamster aquarium style tank.
You’ve probably come across a wire cage before as they’re very common, but lesser known are the aquarium hamster cage, or to use their proper name – a hamster terrarium. These are usually made predominantly from glass, with wood/plastic fixtures and a lid.
Wire Cage vs Hamster Aquarium
There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of enclosure, but ultimately you will want to pick one that best suits your own circumstances and that of your hamster.
Wire cages are spacious and give your pet lots of room to explore, are well ventilated and are also easier to clean if the cage is basic, but they do have a few drawbacks. Firstly, if the base of the cage isn’t high enough then sawdust and other bedding materials can get easily kicked up and fall through the gaps in the cage and all over your room. Another issue is that as your hamster explores and climbs the bars of their home they can make a lot of noise – this can be a real problem because hamsters are nocturnal and if their cage is in or close to the room you sleep in then it could easily keep you awake! Another important problem with wire cages is security. Hamsters are fantastic climbers and if you don’t secure the cage door, they can be intelligent enough to find a way to get out. If you own a very small breed of hamster (Chinese or Roborovski) you must also ensure that the space between the bars isn’t large enough for your hammie to squeeze through.
Hamster Aquarium or Terrarium
By comparison, hamster terrariums are more secure, with no gaps to squeeze between. They are also significantly quieter, with no bars to clamber over and an enclosed design that shields you from the noise of your hamster playing or digging. Cleaning an aquarium style tank can be difficult as they are may be heavy. You will probably need to clean them more regularly than a wire cage as ventilation is not as good in tanks, meaning nasty waste by-products including ammonium can build up. Terrariums do have other benefits over wire cages, primary of which is that they allow more space for burrowing. Hamsters naturally enjoy digging tunnels, it is an important part of their enrichment and a tank with solid sides allows you to provide a deeper layer of material (sawdust or similar) for them to dig into. The glass that surrounds a terrarium also allows you better visibility, letting you enjoy seeing more of what your hamster is up to.
Hamster Aquarium vs Terrarium
There are a number of things to consider when buying a tank for your hamster and the first is to ensure that you are buying a terrarium rather than an aquarium. The differences are subtle, but important – as an aquarium is designed to hold water it has poorer ventilation than a terrarium (we’ve already discussed why this is important). Aquariums are also often made of thicker glass, which makes them heavier.
When browsing for a hamster terrarium, it is definitely worth ensuring that it is big enough to provide your hamster with space to enjoy their life. You will also want to guarantee that your animal is able to breath, therefore your tank shouldn’t have a solid glass or plastic lid.
Recommended Hamster Terrariums
Based on the recommendations above, these are five enclosures that we think are great options:
Living World Green Moving Home Eco Habitat
Measures: 59.5 cm x 99.5 cm x 62.2 cm
This stylish looking tank is made using green materials and features wheels which make it easy to re-locate. This is a lovely big home for your hammie, with lots of room to run around and space for a wheel and other toys. It’s worth also purchasing a waterproof lining so that urine doesn’t soak into the wood and if you have very tiny hamsters you may wish to buy some mesh to go over the lid as it has good-size ventilation holes.
Skyline Marrakesh 2057 Rodent Terrarium
Measures: 63 cm x 45.6 cm x 14 cm
A beautiful tank which is sturdy and well designed, perfect if you have a hamster that’s previously tried to escape or if you have other pets that get a bit too curious! It’s a smaller enclosure that would be perfect for dwarf hamsters.
Hamster Transparent Landscape
Measures: 100 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm
This hard-wearing and safe container is transparent on three sides and provides lots of opportunities to see what your pet is up to. It’s another large environment that provides lots of space for your hamster to explore.
Hamster Terrarium, includes Wooden Accessories
Measures: 75 cm x 45 cm x 37 cm
A great-value option, this tank has glass sides making it easy to clean and a mesh roof with great ventilation. The product also comes with a selection of wooden accessories, including a corner House, see-saw, climbing den, and a poster for the back wall.
Measures: 50 cm x 26 cm x 25 cm
Instead of being made with glass, this tank is made using non-toxic acrylic plastic that is odourless and resistant to liquid. The terrarium features a mesh lid that lets air flow, it’s also removable which makes cleaning easy.
Hamster Cage Accessories
When you’ve decided on the perfect new terrarium for your hamster, it’s a good idea to think about what hamster cage accessories you’re going to put inside to keep your pet happy and healthy. Below are some of our recommendations:
POPETPOP Small Animal Water Bottle Automatic Ceramic Drinking Bottle
One conundrum you may face is that without wire bars, attaching a water bottle for your hamster can be tough – however there are plenty of option available, including standalone bottles that sit in the hamster tank, like this one.
Trixie Bjork Log Cabin
In their new home, your hamster will need somewhere to sleep and this cute little wooden house it the perfect place.
Rosewood Boredom Breaker Rainbow Play Bridge
Your hammie also needs fun toys to provide them with interesting things to do in their new tank, and what better than a classic wooden bridge! This version has a bright rainbow design that stands out.
HelloCreate Hamster Pet Bathroom
You’ll want to keep your new tank as clean as possible and one of the best ways it to provide your hamster with a sanitary area for them to do their business. This durable sandbox is perfect for smaller hamsters.