Hamsters are active animals and need lots of space in their cage to keep them healthy and happy. Instead of buying a regular hamster cage, you can provide lots of space with a bookcase hamster cage. Another plus factor is that you get to design and customise it however you want it. It Doesn’t have any pre-made designs aside from the foundation or original structure.
There are various ways of turning a bookcase into a hamster cage, and the two best ways are to turn it on its side or back instead of making a vertical cage. In this article, we will tackle the characteristics of a best bookcase hamster cage that you need to consider for it to be suitable for your furry friends.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR A BOOKCASE TO TURN INTO A HAMSTER CAGE
Hamsters are naturally territorial species that’s why they need their own spaces. If you have more than 2 hamsters, make sure that you have the space for two hamster cages since you can’t house more than one hamster in a single cage.
Aside from that, you also need to make sure that it has the proper ventilation. Other factors that you need to consider in a bookshelf hamster cage are its size, material used, if the shelves are removable and if it is secured, which would be discussed in this portion of the article.
If you are wondering about the appropriate hamster cage size, the minimum requirement is100x50x50 cm (4000 cm2) or 39x20x20, which is equivalent to 450 square inches for a Dwarf Hamster. For Syrian hamsters, you need at least 100x60x60 cm (39x23x23 in) / 620 square inches.
However, bigger cages would make the hamsters happier. Regular bookcases are not deep enough when lying down but longer than the usual hamster cage, that’s why the larger bookcases are a better option.
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The most appropriate materials for bookcase hamster cages are wood, glass and plastic. Wood is great as long as it is polished because if not, it will absorb liquid and moist. Glass cages are also good in the sense that you’ll be able to see what your pet is up to and it provides better protection from other pets and children.
However, glass cages heat up easily because they are usually poorly ventilated. That’s why you need to make sure to customise the ventilation. You can use plastic bookshelves as well. A quick disclaimer though that it is easy to chew on.
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To maximize the space, you must opt into choosing bookcases with removable shelves. This way, you would also be able to control how big you want the cage to be. That’s why it’s vital to ask the seller first if the shelves are removable before buying the product and if you can assemble it on your own.
Some bookcases, particularly the glass type, often have spaces between the walls or the door. Make sure that the space is no more than ½ inch apart to avoid hamsters escaping. You also need to check if the doors can be removed since this will be where you can add the cover and ventilation. For wire doors, you could put metal bolt clips for an extra level of security.
CUSTOMISING THE BOOKSHELF INTO A HAMSTER CAGE
Turning a bookcase into a bookshelf hamster cage sounds exciting as you get to design it however you want. A couple of things to remember when deciding if a bookcase hamster cage is for you:
Make sure that the bookshelf doors are removable for the cage to have better ventilation. You can also remove the top cover/door and replace it with a mesh screen instead. Creating a wire mesh is extremely easy. First, you have to measure the area that you are planning to cover with mesh wire then snip off any excess wire mesh. The mesh wire comes with a retainer spline which would keep it in place.
For customized cages, you need to make sure that the space has everything that your hamster would need. An ample amount of bedding where they could burrow (at least 5 inches or 8 inches for Syrian), a wheel, toys to chew on, the hamster’s water bottle and of course, enough space to run around and add more toys. Other people add tunnels or tubes or stones where they can trim their nails.
BEST BOOKCASE FOR HAMSTER CAGE
Now that you’re familiar with the characteristics that you need to consider before purchasing a product, we will provide you with a list of our favourite bookcases that could be turned into hamster cages.
IKEA Detolf Bookcase
IKEA Detolf is one of the most recommended bookcases as a hamster cage. It’s made of glass which means you don’t need to worry about chewing and moisture being absorbed. The shelves are removable and the dimension meets the required size.
- material: glass
- size (w.d.h): 65 x 166 x 15.4 inches
IKEA Billy Bookcase
Did you know that this bookcase model was released in 1979? And since then, it is estimated that one bookcase was sold somewhere in the world every five seconds. That just shows how popular this model is among the masses because of its great quality.
This bookshelf is narrow and doesn’t take up much space. That’s why it can be placed anywhere in the house once you turn it into a bookcase hamster cage. Its shelves are removable is perfect if you’re planning to convert it into a hamster cage. It’s definitely the best bookcase hamster cage converted.
- material: wood
- size (w.d.h): 15.75x11x79.5 inches
- colours available: birch, white, black-brown
This bookshelf consists of five levels which are made with high quality compressed wood. Because of its slim and versatile design, it is perfect for either a home or office setup and of course, it is perfect for turning into a cage for your furry pets. There are various colours to choose from that would go well with your current house design.
- material: Wood
- size (w.d.h): 15.91×11.77×59.06 inches
- colours available: beech, black, cherry, mahogany, white
This bookshelf is quite different from the previous two bookshelves in the sense that it has a contemporary design. Made with tempered glass and wood, it would add a modern touch to your home. It consists of five shelves and the whole thing is easy to assemble. Because of its slick and chic design, you can put it in your living room, your family room or even in the office. This could definitely be turned into a bookshelf hamster cage since a back glass panel was also added for extra sturdiness.
- material: tempered glass, wood
- size (w.d.h): 24x13x58.75 inches
Vivohome Cabinet has a frameless transparent design. It consists of 3 stable layers and is also easy to assemble. This cabinet is a little smaller than the other bookshelves, but it has met the minimum floor space required for your furry pets to roam around.
- material: Tempered Glass
- size (w.d.h): 15.7x 15.7×47.2 inches
- colours available: white
This last option is not really a bookcase but an actual playpen. We included this in the list because it is affordable and its size is easy to customize as they will provide you with 20 plastic panels, 27 connectors and 30 cable ties. That’s why you could control its size as well as its structure.
With this type of cage, you can customise this as much as you want. The panels are upgraded in such a way that they don’t have sharp edges which could be a cause of hamster injury. You can buy more if you want to make the cage bigger.
Warning: Hamsters can easily escape from this cage. It’s better to use this as a playpen and emergency cage only
- material: plastic
- size (w.d.h): 56.3×28.7×18.1 inches
- colours available: white
If you are not quite convinced yet on why you should use a bookcase instead of buying ready-made cages, here are some other pros of converting a bookshelf into a bookcase hamster cage. First, it is wider than the usual store-bought cages. Most of the premade cages are too small and unsuitable. Next is it’s cheaper, if you already have a bookshelf lying around somewhere in your house but not being used.
Because it is more spacious, there’s also more room for creativity. You could add more branches and leaves and turn it into a jungle replica or create a rustic looking environment. Basically, the sky’s the limit when designing your hamster’s future cage. If you’re worried that the conversion process is hard, there are tons of written and video tutorials online, as well as forums dedicated to turning these bookshelves into fantastic-looking cages.
I hope that you found this list of the best bookcase hamster cage helpful. You can also visit your local furniture store if you rather measure the bookshelf before getting them.