If you have a pet hamster, chances are good that your pet has made at least one or two attempts to escape the confines of the hamster cage. Hamsters are notorious escape artists, and keeping one inside its cage can be a challenge at times. However, there are many tricks and techniques you can use to make a hamster cage more secure. They will vary based on your individual cage and hamster, but with the help of good planning, you should be able to prevent your hamster from escaping, or secure a cage that your hamster has figured out how to escape from. Here are some strategies you can use when you set out to make your hamster cage escape proof.
1. Choosing a Cage
Sometimes, a cage simply cannot hold a particular hamster due to how it is designed. For example, most wire mesh cages are useless at containing dwarf hamsters. Dwarf hamsters are small enough to squeeze their heads in between the bars of a wire cage. Any opening a hamster can fit their heads through, they can fit their bodies through too -- or worse, they can potentially get stuck and end up choking.
For this reason, you should use a (properly ventilated) aquarium or improvised plastic bin cage for dwarf hamsters. However, both of these come with their own set of problems. Aquariums can be hard to keep properly ventilated, since they are designed to be completely sealed off, and may trap bad smells and harmful gasses inside with your hamster. Plastic bins are great, unless your hamster decides to chew through them, in which case it is only a matter of time before there is a hamster shaped hole in the bin.
Larger teddy bear hamsters can still fit through bars under certain circumstances. If the bars of the cage can be bent, a persistent hamster will bend them eventually. Cages with unreinforced corners can be vulnerable to this, so be sure to test all bars before buying a cage.
2. Preventing Escapes
Test all of the entrances and exits to the cage. If any of them feel loose, consider buying a simple combination lock for them. Simpler is better — a hamster won't chew through metal, or pick a lock, but a lock that is easy to open is best for your convenience.
3. Fixing a Cage
Even if you secure a hamster cage to the best of your ability, your pet hamster may still escape. How should you prevent this from happening again? First, you should figure out how your hamster escaped.
If it was a problem such as a loose door or opening, consider adding a lock, or blocking that exit off permanently. Remember, hamsters love chewing, and can be very persistent, so don't use anything they can chew through to hold an exit shut. A lock or a heavy thing is best.
If it was a larger, more permanent problem, such as bent bars or a hole, you may need to buy a new, better cage. You can use a plastic bin as a temporary solution, or keep your hamster's cage inside the bin (with no lid, of course) as a permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary solution.