How Big Should A Hamster Cage Be? (Enclosure Guide)

Your new hamster is so cute and tiny! But just because he’s small and piddly doesn’t mean his cage should be!

How big does a hamster cage need to be?

We’ll be providing you with the best hamster cage sizes coming up in this article.

Key Takeaway:

The minimum cage size for your hamster is 24x12x12 inches. Hamsters are active creatures, so get the biggest wire top cage you have room for.

Ok, now you know the perfect dimensions for your hamster cage, stick with us as up next, we’ll tell you how to make a hamster cage and everything that needs to go in it to make the perfect enclosure.

Let’s get to it!

hamster inside his cage

How Big Should a Hamster Cage Be?

Do you have a pet Syrian hamster or dwarf hamster at home?

Then you’ll be familiar with the playful nature of these small animals. They love to run around and burrow, especially at night.

You need the perfect cage size that will suit your hamster’s needs so he can stretch his legs and get as much exercise as he would in his natural habitat.

So, how big of a cage does a hamster need?

The minimum cage size for your hamster is 24x12x12 inches. That is, 24 inches wide, 12 inches long, and 12 inches tall.

Now, that was the minimum cage size, but hamsters are very active creatures, so the bigger the cage, the better. Get the biggest cage you have room for.

The Best Cage Sizes For Syrian Hamsters

Every hamster is different, and some hamster species are slightly larger than others. Because there is a difference in size from one breed to the next, the ideal hamster cage size varies slightly too.

Some Syrian hamsters, for example, are up to 5 times larger than dwarf hamsters.

So, how many square inches must a Syrian hamster cage be?

Syrian hamster pet owners need to put their animals in a cage measuring at least 450 square inches. But the Hamster Society Singapore recommends an even larger enclosure for better animal welfare.

They recommend a bare minimum cage size of 620 square inches or 4,000 square centimeters for Syrian hamsters. More often than not, the hamster cages sold at pet shops do not meet even the minimum size requirements, so be prepared to go into a pet store with a tape measure in hand to ensure you get the right size enclosure.

The Best Cage Sizes For Dwarf Hamsters

Dwarf hamsters like Roborovksi and Chinese hamsters are tiny, adorable pets. But just because they’re small doesn’t mean they can live in small hamster cages.

Dwarf hamsters need big cages just like larger hamsters do. Good-sized cages will allow your dwarf hamster to get enough exercise and remain happy and healthy.

What size hamster cage is best for a dwarf hamster?

A Roborovski dwarf hamster cage must be at least 0.5 square inches or 50 x 100 cm. But hamster owners do well to put their animals in an even larger cage if they have the space for it.

A larger cage will allow your hamster to get more exercise and to run about freely as he would do in the wild.

How to Make a Hamster Cage

Today is a great day, you’ve just picked up your brand new hamster from the pet shop, and you are ready to take him home.But once he’s home…

…where should you put him?

We all want the very best for our pet hamsters. That’s why, coming up next, you’ll see excellent instructions for setting up your hamster’s cage.

We’ll be covering everything from choosing the right size cage to accommodating everything your new pet will need inside it. Let’s get started!

hamster inside his cage next to a slide

What Type of Cage Material Do Hamsters Need?

Some cage designs are not good for hamsters. They can hurt their feet, restrict their airflow, or even encourage their escape.

So, what material should a good hamster cage be made of?

We prefer a wire top cage with a plastic bottom that fastens securely to the wire. The wire cage must have thick wire to prevent bar biting and escape.

When deciding between wire top cages, opt for one with a sturdy open and closing mechanism so your hamster will not escape. Wire top cages must have more wires than plastic so there is sufficient airflow for your hamster.

What Size Cage Does a Hamster Need?

Getting the right cage is really important. We know you want to be a great hamster owner and are looking for the perfect home for your animal.

Syrian hamsters run between 2 to 5 miles per day, so these animals need adequate space to dash back and forth. Your hamster needs enough square inches of floor space to be able to burrow and hide things in his cage like he would in the wild.

Larger cages will give your pet the freedom to dig and run around as he pleases.

So, how big should hamster cages be?

Your hamster cage must have at least 450 square inches of unbroken floor space. Although hamsters are only small pets, they are very active animals, so choose the largest cage you have space for.

If your animals have nice big cages to run around in, they will be healthier and happier.

What Bedding Material Is Best For Hamster Cages?

As hamster owners, we want our pets to feel as comfortable as possible. This means keeping them in a large cage with all of the best bedding for them to dig into.

Large hamster cages with deep bases will allow you to fill them with enough bedding depth for your hamster to burrow into and hide food in like he would in the wild. If you scatter feeding into the bedding occasionally, it will encourage your hamster to dig.

If the base in the cage is deep, it will also prevent your pet hamster from kicking the bedding out of the cage.

Here are the best bedding materials suitable for most hamster cages.

  • Aspen shreddings. These wooden shreddings are safe for hamsters as they do not splinter into dangerous points like other types of wooden bedding. They are also highly absorbent and help to soak up and mask the smell of urine.
  • Shredded paper. Always use plain paper that is free from perfumes and ink that would be toxic to your animal.
  • Timothy hay. Timothy hay is great for your hamster to chew on. It is also brilliant as a top layer for your hamster’s bedding.
  • Hemp bedding. Hemp is anti-allergy and will help your hamsters burrow into something soft, comfortable, and firm, just the way they like it.

All the bedding materials we have listed here are safe for hamsters. You’ll find them at good pet shops.

What Should Be In a Hamster Cage?

As a hamster owner, you must make sure your pets remain entertained throughout the day and night. This means putting the right things in their cage.

What should you put in them?

Here are all of the essentials.

  • Hamster wheel. Your little friend will use this to get enough exercise. It needs to be at least 30cm in diameter for a Syrian hamster. Smaller hamsters can have slightly smaller wheels.
  • Nest boxes. These are boxes for your hamster to hide inside. These must be made of solid material. They must not have mesh bases.
  • Toys and games. These include tubes for him to run through and toys for him to chew on.
  • Food bowl. Putting food in a bowl will help keep the cage clean.
  • Water bottle. Putting his water in a bottle will prevent him from making a mess in his cage.

Although it is not necessary to keep it inside the cage, you will also need a small dish big enough for the hamster to give himself a sand bath when needed.

Multiple Hamsters and Animal Welfare

Do you have two or three hamsters at home?

Looking after two or more hamsters means extra responsibility. That’s why, coming up next, we’re going to discuss what you must do to ensure your hamsters get the proper care.

Space-Related Complications

If you have many hamsters, you must make sure your hamster cage is big enough for each hamster to have enough space to run, burrow, eat, and hide.

What will happen if your hamsters do not have enough space?

If your plastic modular cage or wire cage is too small, your hamsters’ behavior will begin to change. They will show signs of stress, like trying to chew holes in the wire mesh.

Hamsters in small enclosures will also become obese as there will not be enough room for them to run around freely. If you reduce the amount of food they eat in an attempt to get their weight down, they might become depressed.

If your hamsters are depressed, they may become extremely lethargic and stop running around their cages. They will be at serious risk of developing diseases.

If your hamster enclosure is too small, the hamsters may become aggressive, both to you when you put your hand in the cage and to one another. Inadequate living conditions can cause the hamsters to fight.

Multiple Hamster Cage Size

All pet lovers will want to do everything they can to prevent their hamsters from suffering from space-related complications.

But, how much space do multiple hamsters need?

Pet owners do well to put multiple hamsters in a large cage. 700 square inches are sufficient for 2 hamsters to live together comfortably.

Multiple Hamster Cage Accessories

Asides from a larger cage, you will also need to do the following if you have more than one hamster.

  • Get a larger food bowl. Ensure it is topped up so there is no fighting.
  • Get two water bottles. Change the water in the bottles daily.
  • Put plenty of toys and games in the cage.
  • Put enough nest boxes in the cage (at least one per hamster). This will give each hamster a place to go when they want some private time.
  • Get two hamster wheels. Your hamsters will spend a lot of time on their wheels. To ensure they both get enough exercise, put two wheels in the cage.

Hamster Cages to Avoid

Your hamsters are delicate creatures. There are lots of things they are sensitive to that could harm them and make them suffer from health problems.

The way you house your pets has a direct impact on how long and happy their lives will be.

So, what are some of the housing practices you must avoid?

Let’s take a look at some of them.

First things first, you need to decide which material you will choose for your hamster’s cage.

You could settle for the first solid-looking cage you find. But not all cages you’ll find at pet stores are suitable for hamsters.

Here’s what you must bear in mind when picking a house for your new furry friend.

  • Wire cages with wire bases can hurt your hamster’s feet.
  • Glass tanks and plastic cages might be more secure than wire cages because they prevent bar biting. If you opt for a glass or plastic tank, it must have enough airflow. If your glass or plastic cage does not have enough airflow the hamster will overheat and could suffocate.
  • The cage must not have an open top, or the hamster will escape.

What Happens If Your Hamster Cage Is Too Small?

Next on the list of requirements for the best hamster cage is the ideal cage size. Your hamster’s cage needs to have enough floor space for your hamster to run around freely.

What happens if your cage size and floor space are not big enough?

Here are some of the consequences.


Hamsters tend to suffer from obesity when they live in small cages. A bigger cage will give him more space to run around and burn energy and keep your hamster active.


If the cage size is too small, you will end up with a stressed hamster. Small cages do not give your hamster enough room to burn energy.

If his cage is too small, he will become frustrated and stressed. As a result, he might start bar biting and trying to chew a hole through the cage.


Another sign your hamster needs more floor space is if he becomes aggressive. Smaller cages may change your pet’s behavior, and he might try to attack you when you put your hand in the cage.


Your hamster might need a bigger cage if he becomes depressed. If your hamster’s cage is not big enough, he might not play with his toys or run around. He will also be at risk of developing serious illnesses.

What Kind of Bedding Must You Avoid?

Not all bedding materials are suitable or safe for hamsters. Others are too tough for them to burrow into and would make the hamster feel frustrated.

What kind of bedding would be harmful to your hamster?

Here is a list of types of bedding to avoid.

Inked and Scented Paper

Using recycled paper is a great way of helping the environment, but the ink on recycled paper might not agree with your hamster. Ink and fragrances contain toxins that are dangerous for your small pet.

Pine Shavings and Cedar Shavings

These often splinter into dangerous sharp pieces that could harm your hamster. The only wood shavings that are safe for hamsters to use are aspen.

Fluffy Bedding

Some pet stores have begun selling extra-fluffy bedding.

The artificial fibers in this bedding are not good for your hamster’s stomach. So, avoid giving this material to small animals that chew on their bedding.

Hamster Cage Accessories to Avoid

We all want our hamsters to live happy and long lives. For this to be possible, your hamster needs to have enough access to toys and other things to keep him distracted.

But not all hamster accessories are good for them. Even buying accessories in the wrong size is dangerous for your pet.

What kind of accessories must you avoid?

Here is a list of them.

The Wrong Size Hamster Wheel

If the wheel is too small, it will force the hamster to arch its back constantly while running. This can lead to permanent spinal curvature and other back problems.

hamster inside a wheel toy

Running On Rungs Or Mesh

If your hamster constantly runs on rungs or mesh, he can damage his feet and suffer an injury. Hamsters do not recover well from injuries.

Water Bowls

Your hamster is likely to knock over his water if it is in a bowl. This will cause him to wet his bedding and could make the food he is hiding around his cage moldy.

Your hamster might also contaminate his water dish with waste materials. A water bottle is more suitable.

Water Bath

Bathing your hamster is extremely stressful for the pet and can wash essential oils off of his coat. If he is dirty, it is better you provide him with a sand bath.

The Perfect Size Cage For Your Hamster

Are you looking for the ideal home for your hamster?

As hamster keepers, we all want our furry pets to feel comfortable in their new surroundings. This means having enough space to run around but also enough depth to dig and burrow in as a hamster would in the wild.

Thanks to this article, we have found the perfect dimensions for your hamster cage. For the average hamster, its cage must be 24x12x12 inches.

If you have a slightly larger breed of hamster or more than one, you will need a big cage.

Did you find this article interesting?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide you with the best information on different hamster species, what to feed them, and the best cages. For more guides on looking after a hamster or any other young animal, take a look at our website.

Thanks for reading!

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