by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
If you bought your hamster's cage at the pet store, you may get it set up at home and discover it isn't as big as you'd like it to be. So how do you solve that issue? Perhaps you did buy a large cage but it has a second floor that's pretty high off the ground. Should your hamster's cage have a second level?
A second level could give a hamster more room. The bigger the cage, the more room your hamster will have to run around and play. This is always a good thing. Some people find that adding a second floor is a simple way to give the hamsters more room because it will take up less space in the house than a longer cage would. Hamsters also enjoy climbing. So a second floor may give them the best of both worlds. Syrian hamsters will especially need a great deal of room. Dwarf hamsters don't need as much space. But they still need the freedom to roam.
Hamsters have a poor sense of depth perception. Their vision is not great and they are known to walk right off an edge. If your hamster does this on a second level, it could cause serious injury. Think about your hamster's habits. When held, is your hamster running all over you not really paying attention to the varied heights? If so, most likely the same will occur with a second level cage.
A second level may be safe if height is limited. With proper bedding underneath and no more than six inches between the first and second level, another floor could be safe for your hamster. When thinking of adding additional floors, keep the same safety precautions in mind. If you add a third floor, fourth floor, and so on, consider how far your hammie can fall from each level. One solution to that issue is to section off each floor from the previous one and provide only tunnels for the hamster to travel through for each level.
How large is your hamster's main area? If your hamster's main area is already large, a second floor may not be necessary. Just be sure your hamster has plenty of toys and an exercise wheel and ball. On the other hand, if the space is compact, adding the second floor may be the best option for your hamster. You can create this floor yourself by attaching a wire cage atop an aquarium filled with bedding. There are also cages for sale that feature a second floor. But be careful to choose one with appropriate bar sizing for your hamster's size and breed.
Should my hamster's cage have a second level? It really depends on each unique situation. Ideally, large and small hamsters should all have plenty of space. Beyond that, each hamster's needs will vary. With you hamster in mind and with the help of a licensed vet, you should be able to tell what's best for your hamster.
*Always contact a licensed veterinarian for the health of your animals. The information above is not meant to replace the advice of a qualified professional and is derived solely from the author's own personal experiences.
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