With hamsterscaping you create a natural living environment for your hamster in a spacious enclosure. This stimulates the natural instinct of the hamster which in turn will contribute to the health and well-being of the hamster.
The main reason to get started with hamsterscaping is to create an environment where your hamster feels safe and secure, has ample room to move, and can follow its natural behavior by digging and discovering.
In addition, the Stereotype prevents behavior.
What do you need?
A spacious enclosure so that your hamster has enough exercise space. The recommended size for a dwarf hamster is 80 x 35 cm (2800 cm2) or 70 x 40 (2800 cm2) and for a Syrian hamster it is 100 x 50 (5000 cm2) but in practice we see that a Syrian hamster benefits more with a bigger amount of floor space like 120 x 50 x 50 (6000 cm2). The bigger the better of course!
For hamsterscaping preference is given to a glass container, for example, an aquarium, or a bincage. With a grating cage the possibilities of hamsterscaping be considerably limited.
Digging in particular gives the hamster satisfaction and a safe feeling. This is best done in a soil layer of at least 15/20 cm high. Not everything has to be the same height, feel free to work in layers.
With different types of ground cover you can create different areas in the enclosure. This offers variation in smell and structure.
Commonly used ground cover include:
- Cotton ‘N cotton
- Hemp fiber
- Wood fiber
- Organic humus
In addition to ground cover, you can also use different top layers such as:
It’s all about creativity. You can mix wood fiber, hemp fiber and cotton ‘N cotton together into one ideal digging soil. Coconut can be sprinkled over it in places as a top layer and as a finishing touch you can also use Moss, which in turn creates the variation.
Hamsters are instinctive prey animals and are uncomfortable to openly walk through the enclosure. Therefore, provide enough shelter and enough hiding places. This can be done with:
- Willow bridges
- Gnawing material
- Running wheel
- Nesting material
Make it challenging so your hamster has plenty to do every day.
NOTE: A running wheel is indispensable in a hamster enclosure, it is important that it is the right size. If a running wheel is too small, the hamster’s back will grow crooked and this will cause unpleasant complaints.
For dwarf hamsters it is recommended to use a running wheel with a diameter of at least 20 cm and for a Syrian hamster it is at least 28 cm in diameter.
Hideouts are indispensable in the enclosure of your hamster. It gives them shelter and a place to retreat to.
There are a lot of different types of hideouts in all different sizes and made of different materials.
I recommend placing at least 2 hideouts in your hamster’s enclosure. Hamsters like to separate their sleeping place from their food supply and their toilet.
If you use a hideout without a bottom, this is a good start for your hamster to dig, but they also love hideouts with a dense bottom.
A nice addition to a natural look are branches. There are now a lot of branches for sale in pet shops that are suitable for your hamster , for example a sandblasted vine. Not only does this look very natural,
but it also gives your hamster fun climbing opportunities. It is important when placing branches in the enclosure that you make sure that it is sturdy so that it cannot just fall over.
A willow bridge is very versatile. It is a sleeping house, a playground and gnawing material. You also have them in all shapes and sizes, you can bend it as you want and use it for different things.
I mainly use them as bridges and for separating different parts of the enclosure.
What you have to pay attention to if you want to put the willow bridge on its side is that there are no gaps between the branches.
Your hamster’s legs can get caught in this, resulting in broken legs.
Most grating cages have tubes for your hamster to climb through, but in an aquarium or bincage you can also use tunnels and tubes in a fun way. You can work with Ferplast pipes under the bedding. This approximates the natural habitat of the hamster. In the wild, hamsters dig all kinds of corridors and rooms to live in.
You can also use Cork Tunnels in your enclosure, they look very nice and natural and offer even more hiding places for your hamster.
Hamster’s teeth continue to grow. That means that the hamsters have to wear their teeth, otherwise they can have problems with their teeth. Teeth that have become too long can grow through the palate or through the lips and even the nose. This is particularly painful for the hamsters and also prevents them from eating. In the worst case, they can no longer eat. You will notice that your hamster is getting very lean. He wants to accept his food and is also very happy with it, but does not eat it afterwards.
Because a limestone is quite controversial, it is better to choose a responsible solution, such as gnawing wood: Willow and / or Linde. Gnawing wood also approaches the natural gnawing way of the hamsters in the wild. In the wild they gnaw after all, not fast on stones.
It’s not like hamster gnaw all day long. A hamster gnaws only when he needs to gnaw and when necessary.
A hamster is a curious and busy animal and therefore needs a lot of challenge in its enclosure. In addition to a challenging enclosure, this can also be done by adding toys to your stay.
A hamster is particularly active in the evening, at night and in the morning. The animals do not really play, but they are very investigative. Not all hamsters are good climbers, so pay close attention that climbing toys are safe. This means that they should not hang too high and give grip.
Willow balls also provide a good challenge, here you can tuck in some food or tuck in a snack, then the hamster has to make an effort to get to it. They like these challenges and help against boredom.
Tree trunk tunnels are nice wooden tree trunks, which are hollow inside. Great to play with, to walk through and of course to nibble on. Thanks to this fun activity toy, your hamster will stay active and healthy.
A running wheel is indispensable in a hamster enclosure. In addition, it is an important part of the daily activity of your hamster and contributes to good health. However, it is important that it is the right size. If a running wheel is too small, the hamster’s back will grow crooked and this will cause unpleasant complaints.
for dwarf hamsters it is recommended to use a running wheel with a diameter of at least 20 cm and for a Syrian hamster it is at least 28 cm in diameter.
In addition to a running wheel and bedding, is nesting material one of the most important things in a hamster enclosure! Your hamster needs soft nesting material to make his bed.
Pay attention! Do not use hamster wads here as these are dangerous.
The following materials are safe to use:
- Toilet paper
- Kitchen paper
- Coconut fiber
A nice addition to your enclosure is a sandpit with chinchilla sand. You can put a tray in the enclosure, but you can also create a whole corner for it. Hamsters love to bathe in the sand once in a while so they keep their fur clean. You fill the sandpit with Chinchilla sand, this has an abrasive and cleaning effect.
So it is very useful and it is also very nice to see how hamsters wash themselves.
The benefits of a sandpit:
- Promotes natural behavior
- Degreasing effect on the coat
- Abrasive effect
- Has a cooling effect in the summer
CAUTION: Frequent use can cause skin and eye irritation. If this is the case, the sandpit should be removed from the enclosure.