How to Make a Homemade Hamster Cage

Line your homemade hamster cage with absorbent paper pulp based bedding.
Line your homemade hamster cage with absorbent paper pulp based bedding. (Image: Photo by SDCDeaCerte, Flikr/Creative Commons)

Owning a pet hamster doesn't need to break the bank. One of the more costly expenses when setting up for this type of pet is the hamster's cage. Pet retailers display colorful, multi leveled, tube encrusted palaces for these inquisitive creatures. For a fraction of the cost, it is easy to create a homemade hamster wonderland that will serve as a cage, secure home and playground for many years.

Things You'll Need

  • Large tote
  • Soap, bleach, water
  • Bedding
  • Water bottle and holder
  • Play houses and tubes
  • Food
  • Toys and treats

Shop for a large plastic or rubber tote. Choose a tote that has tall, smooth sides. Look for handles recessed into the molding for easy portability. Storage totes are available in a variety of sizes and colors, making it easy to select one that will coordinate with the room where the hamster will be kept. A clear tote makes the hamster easy to see between play sessions.

Wash the tote with soap, water and a small amount of bleach. This will sanitize the enclosure, killing any bacteria that may be harmful for the pet hamster. Thoroughly rinse and dry the tote, and place it high out of reach of small children and other pets. Since all playtime with a hamster should be supervised by an adult, the hamster can be brought down to the level of children at those times.

Line the bottom of the tote with at least two inches of absorbent hamster bedding. Choose recycled paper pulp bedding for odor and moisture control. Avoid pine and cedar wood shavings since the aromatic oils in those types of wood can cause upper respiratory infections in small animals.

Attach a water bottle to the side of the tote, just high enough for the hamster to reach the nozzle. Make sure the bottle isn't too low, to act as a ladder for the hamster. Test the water bottle by tapping the ball on the end to make sure it is free flowing, and water can drip out when the hamster licks the ball.

Add hiding houses, toys, a food bowl and chew treats to the new homemade hamster cage. A running wheel will add exercise to the hamster's evening routine. Tubes, tunnels and thick piles of soft bedding will encourage the hamster to play.

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