Find Out if a Cage is Large Enough for Your Hamster
Are you in the process of purchasing a cage for your new hamster? Before you make a decision and buy a cage, take a moment to enter its dimensions into our handy calculator to ensure it meets the minimum requirements.
Not sure why hamster cages have minimum size requirements? The answer is simple: it’s to ensure your pet hamster has enough space to live in a humane and healthy way, with plenty of room for all their needs. While we can’t replicate the vast spaces that hamsters roam in the wild, ethical cage size minimums are set by animal welfare organizations to improve the lives of our pets based on the latest scientific knowledge.
Different animal welfare organizations often have different minimums, but we know for sure that hamsters thrive in spacious cages. In fact, The Veterinary Association for Animal Welfare in Germany, which promotes the highest standards of hamster care worldwide, recommends a minimum of 775 sq. inches (5000 cm²) of space for all hamster species.
Use our convenient hamster cage size calculator to help you determine if the cage you’re interested in buying meets the size requirements. Simply enter the cage dimensions below to check the cage floor space and ensure it’s suitable for your pet.
Hamster Cage Calculator
Why Hamsters Need a Spacious Cage
There are several reasons why having enough space in their cages is crucial for hamster’s happiness and well-being:
- Large cages allow more enrichment: Keeping your hamster occupied and entertained in their cage is crucial for their physical and mental well-being. Unfortunately, small cages don’t have enough space to hold everything a hamster needs to thrive.
- Large cages give your pet something to do: Small cages cause boredom and chronic stress due to a lack of things to do. This can lead to your hamster exhibiting stereotypical behaviors such as bar chewing, pacing, aggression, or obsessively running on a wheel.
- Large cages provide more burrowing options: Hamsters are naturally burrowing animals, so it’s important for them to be able to dig burrows in their habitat.
- Large cages require less frequent cleaning: Not only will your hamster be much happier in a larger cage, but you also won’t need to clean it as often. A cage that meets the minimum size of 775 square inches can easily be left for a month before requiring a full clean. You’ll only need to spot clean every few days to remove any soiled bits.
- Large cages keep hamsters healthy: When a hamster has more room to move around and act on their natural behaviors such as foraging and digging, it keeps them active and engaged. By keeping active and mentally stimulated, your pet is less likely to become obese or develop diabetes. They’re also more likely to live longer without the health issues that come with inactivity.
Hamster Cages That Meet the Requirements
Here are examples of hamster cages that meet the minimum size requirements and their dimensions. These are affiliate links.
Niteangel Vista Hamster Cage: Sizes M & L
Niteangel Glass Cage for Hamsters
- Dimensions: 39.2 x 22.3 x 13.2 inches (874 square inches)
- Base depth: around 7 inches
- Sold on: Amazon.com
MewooFun Large Hamster Cage
- Dimensions: 39.4 x 19.7 x 19.7 (776 square inches)
- Sold on: Amazon.com
Suitable Aquarium Sizes
If you decide to get an aquarium for your hamster, the following tank sizes meet the requirements.
|Tank size||LxWxH||Floor space (sq. in.)|
|75 gallon||48″ x 18″ x 21″||864 sq. in.|
|90 gallon||48″ x 18″ x 24″||864 sq. in.|
|125 gallon||72″ x 18″ x 21″||1296 sq. in.|
|150 gallon||72″ x 18″ x 28″||1296 sq. in.|
|180 gallon||72″ x 24″ x 25″||1728 sq. in.|
Optimal Bar Spacings
Unfortunately, most wire cages sold in pet shops are not big enough for hamsters. Those that are big enough are usually designed for larger animals such as rats so the bar spacing is too wide to use for hamsters.
If you’re buying a wire cage, make sure the bar spacing is suitable for your hamster so they can’t escape or get stuck between the bars.
The bar spacing your cage needs to have depends on the hamster species:
Other Things to Consider Other Than Cage Size
The cage size is not the only thing you need to think about when purchasing a cage. Before investing in your new hamster cage, consider the following aspects:
- Ventilation: Hamsters don’t pee much as they naturally live in arid and desert areas. That’s why they can live in glass enclosures, unlike other small pets like rats. But they still need enough airflow and ventilation in their enclosure to keep the air fresh and avoid trapping heat. It’s important that the glass enclosure of your choice has a mesh lid on top that allows air to circulate.
- Deep base: In the wild, hamsters are known to be burrowing creatures that dwell in underground tunnel systems. They have a natural tendency to dig and construct networks of tunnels with separate chambers for nesting, food storage, and even toilet. If you only provide your hamster with an inch or two of bedding, they won’t be able to put their burrowing instincts to good use. That’s why it’s important to get a cage that can hold multiple inches of bedding material. Here’s how much bedding your hamster needs!
- Cage enrichment: Having a large cage is not enough. Your hamster also needs enrichment, toys, and fun accessories to keep them occupied and happy in their cage. A cage lacking enrichment will cause boredom, and your hamster will likely start showing signs of stress. Read how to set up a hamster cage to see what you can add to their cage to make it engaging and fun.
Research on Hamster Cage Size
Here’s some of the available research on hamster cage size and how providing more floor space improves the welfare of hamsters:
- The effect of cage size and enrichment on core temperature and febrile response of the golden hamster – study results show that smaller cages induce chronic stress
- Reduction of fever by housing in small cages – how small cages cause chronic stress
- Behaviour of golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) kept in four different cage sizes – more floor area in the cage improves the welfare of golden hamsters