Compilation of Bad Hamster Cages To Avoid

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Let’s be honest, many of us didn’t start our hamster caring journey the right way or the way where hamsters should be getting the proper care. But before you disagree, you should know that it’s okay. We all made mistakes, and it’s not entirely your fault.

We were fed the wrong information, we were sold the wrong hamster cafe because we trusted the shop owner or keeper that they know what they’re doing and that they know the best for your lovely hamster.

For years, there has been very poor information about hamsters. But thankfully, today, we have all these tools and resources to explore and learn important details, history, details, and scientific facts about hamsters.

Today, we can do better and care for our hamsters with the best intentions and the best knowledge available. .

What do hamsters need in their cage?

One of the most significant issues in hamster caring is how we were taught the kind and size of hamster cage is suitable. We thought, hamsters are so tiny and cute, which means they should have a cute cage too and a tiny one, they’re small, they don’t need much. Well, that’s a big mistake.



This article is here to show you samples of bad hamster cages. We will talk about what’s wrong with these cages and why they are not safe nor suitable for a hamster.

MUST-READ: How to buy the right hamster cage

Critter Cage / Unmet Cage Size


The critter cage is those colourful yet super tiny cages. Often they come with tube tunnels, wired floor/stairs, with an extra platform, little running wheels, and wire metal walls. Typically, the sizes of these cages are 20x20x20 cm which is super small for an animal with such energy to burn like a hamster.

Placing a hamster in a critter cage causes stress, anxiety, and excess energy which results in aggression such as biting, bar chewing, and untamed behaviour.

What you can do

There’s only one solution – get a bigger cage. The suitable cage that meets the required floor size is 4000 cm2 or 100x50x50 cm (620 in2 / 39x20x20 in). You can either buy a ready-to-use cage in this size or design one instead but get a 40-gallon bin cage (plastic boxes) or aquarium glass or an 11-cube bookcase. Read this article on how to choose the right large hamster cage.

Metal Wire Base

Just ouch!

What is a metal wire base and what’s wrong with them? If you are aware of bumblefoot hamster, you’d know why but don’t worry, I’ll explain it to you.

Here is the reason why are wire cages bad for hamsters.

These metal wire bases are basically the floor of the cage or the platform that is made of a metal bar instead of a solid (see photo above). These metal bars cause bumblefoot, which is an injury to a hamster’s feet. So, if there is a hamster owner still asking “Are wire cages bad for hamsters?” you know the answer.

Imagine if you have to walk on these metal bars with no shoes or on bare feet, carrying all your weight and running around. Sounds painful right? That’s exactly what your hamster experience with such ground type. Moreover, we think it’s also impossible for hamster wearing shoes.

What you can do

It’s best and crucial that your cage with a reliable and flat base. Most bin cages (plastic boxes), ready-to-use cages, and aquariums are with a flat, smooth, and stable base which is excellent. The same rules go for the platform. If you want to add a platform (2-storey) inside the cage, the platform ground should also be flat and solid.

Metal Wire Walls

This wheel is too small and placed too high from the base, and how can a hamster get to that sleeping den on the right?

Once you have a hamster, you’ll notice that they will chew on bar cages like in the picture. Like what we discussed in this article about why hamsters bite, having a big cage doesn’t solve a hamster’s obsessive chewing on anything even on bars.

Chewing on bars might be because they’re hungry, want attention, want to get out of the cage, stressed, angry, frustrated, or simply because they need to cut down the length of their teeth. But chewing on the metal bar is very unsafe for them.

What you can do

Instead of getting a cage with metal bars, the best way to solve chewing problems is to get a hamster cage that doesn’t have bars in it like a bin cage or aquarium. But you should also remember that providing lots of chew toys will be beneficial to your hamster’s teeth.

If you already bought a cage it has metal bars and your hamster started chewing them, you can try these solutions on how to stop bar chewing.

Metal Wire Ladders

Let’s be honest, even human hates ladders like this, and that’s with us wearing shoes

The problem with metal wire stairs is the same as the metal wire base cage. These metal wire stairs can cause serious injury to your hamster’s feet, and this can also be another toxic product that they might chew on.

What you can do

If you really want your hamster to have stairs or place a second platform, use a tunnel instead (toilet paper roll or plastic) or wooden stairs or make your own using Popsicle sticks (without dye colour).

Tunnel Tubes and Bar Wheel or Wheel that can’t Move

The size of that wheel is actually great, but it’s hitting the wall and ground, how can a hamster spin it?

Next question is, are tubes bad for hamsters? Alright, tunnel tubes are not specifically bad; however, most plastic tunnels and even toilet rolls are too small for Syrian hamsters. Also, many critter cages come with a tunnel that goes straight up, and that’s just not safe for a hamster.

If you are using a tunnel as stairs to the above platform, make sure it’s not too steep and doesn’t zigzag too much.

Wheels made of metal bars are just a big no-no. Again, these metal bars are not suitable for your hamster’s feet. Make sure that you get a wheel that has a solid platform material, big enough both for Syrian and Dwarf (meaning their back doesn’t arch when running on the wheel), and doesn’t make too much noise especially if the cage is inside your bedroom.

In the photo above, the cage looks like a great one, it seems big enough, it has a solid platform and stairs, and the deep tray is deep enough for burrowing. However, look at the wheel, it doesn’t have enough space to spin.

What you can do

If you want a tunnel for a Syrian, it’s best to make one yourself using a softer version of cardboard boxes or buy the plastic one that is made of plastic but specifically for Syrians.

Wheels must be at least 12 inches which are both good enough for Syrian and Dwarf. Read more about hamster wheels here and what the best one you can buy is. Speaking of wheels, make sure there’s enough space for it to spin and it’s not placed way too high from the ground of the cage.

Shallow Base Tray

Hamster: “I want to dig deeper but I can’t 😞”

We talked about how much hamsters love to burrow on how to keep a hamster happy article. In the wild, hamsters have to burrow or dig deep to find food to hoard. While domesticated hamsters don’t really need to hoard and burrow, they still find comfort in doing these things in their cage.

Many critter cages don’t have a deep base try, which is not a good sign, and many first-time hamster owners think that a handful of bedding is good enough, which is wrong.

What you can do

When you buy a cage, make sure to measure the base tray if it’s deep enough. You want to have at least five (5) inches between the main floor and the bars. Of course, if you are going to use a bin cage or aquarium or bookshelf instead, you don’t need to worry about this. But you have to make sure to make the bedding at least five (5) inches deep.

Poor Ventilation

Even you won’t get into a room without a window

Hamsters are hyperactive animals, they are little, but they have so much energy to burn which is why they need a running wheel, playpen, chew toys, burrow, and a cage that feels like a maze. Because they move so much, there must be adequate ventilation for them to catch their breath and feel comfortable.

This is probably one of the few pros of using a cage that has a metal bar as the wall. However, cages like bin cages, aquariums, and bookcases often lack ventilation because their walls are made of solid glass or plastic, which doesn’t allow air to flow properly.

What you can do

If you are using an aquarium, bin cage, or bookcase as a cage, it’s essential to be smart about ventilation. You can’t keep the top open because hamsters can climb up and escape.

What you can do is plat a mesh wire on top that you can remove for cleaning or when you need to replenish food to take your hamster out for playtime. You can also place a small fan near the cage to keep the air flowing or place the cage near a window.

For bin cages, most of them come with a top cover. You can poke holes in this cover for ventilation. I used a drilling gun to place holes, but you can also use a hot knife. You can also make holes in the walls of the bin cage near the top. Don’t place ones that your hamster can reach because your hamster might start chewing on it and make it an escape door.

Not Escape-Proof

This is the same problem with bin cages, aquariums, or bookcases if you don’t place a cover on top, the hamster can climb it up and escape they go! While with bin cages, it’s been proven many times that a hamster can chew through it without you noticing and use it to escape from the cage.

What you can do

If your problem is the top cover, it’s very easy, just buy a mesh and hook it securely. Ensure the holes between the mesh wire or the poked holes are not too big.

You must give your hamster a generous amount of chew toys to direct their chewing habit away from the corners of their cage.

MUST-READ: Awesome and inspiring cage themes and designs from Reddit



Sadly, until today, unsafe hamster cage still exist and is being produced, sold, and bought every single day. Many shops all over the world are opened by careless owners and filled with staff who are uneducated about the proper hamster care.

Resulting in hamsters being the victim and suffering the most because of uninformed decisions that a human-made. Businesses that are in the pet industry should be invested not just in the business side to make a profit but also to educate themselves and their staff.

If more people who are interested in owning a hamster as a pet were guided about hamsters, know which ones to avoid when it comes to bad cages for hamsters and how to provide a better life for them, there would be fewer hamsters who die accidentally or are abandoned in the hallway or dumpster due to incorrect caring or different exceptions from them. That way, hamster ages can be longer.

If an inexperienced hamster owner was told that hamsters are not the most suitable pet for kids or that hamsters actually need a big cage instead of a bad cage like critter cage, perhaps, unprepared and uneducated people would think twice before getting a hamster instead of regretting it later.


Avoid hamster cages with inadequate space, wire-bottom floors, and lack of ventilation. These cages can lead to discomfort, injury, or stress for your hamster. Proper research is vital for your pet's health and well-being. via @thehamstercareblog

4 thoughts on “Compilation of Bad Hamster Cages To Avoid”

  1. Cages with the appropriate metal bars provide the best ventilation. If you get vertical bars with industrial grade powder coating, it won’t chew off. Plus, hamsters like to chew horizontal bars and you can discourage that by giving your hamster plenty of tasty things to chew so he leaves the bars alone.

    • Hi Marti, I’ve seen many times when a hamster still chews vertical bars. Many hamster owners I know and people on forums have trouble with too. They will simply bend their heads sideways. Not only the paint is the concern, but also the skin irritation around their mouth, cause of hair loss on their nose, and possibility to injure their nose bridge are all great concerns when it comes to metal bar chewing. When it comes to chew toys, regardless of how many tasty chews your place, it works most of the time but some hamsters just get bored or develop the need to chew their bar cages, especially with female Syrian hamsters.

      But it’s true, metal bars do provide great ventilation especially for warm places, it’s a difficult situation. We have an article on how to stop the bar chewing habit, if none of them works, we highly recommend changing to a barless cage, like a tank or bin cage and work a lot on top ventilation. You can find the article here

  2. Thanks! Please send more information about hamsters 🐹! I really love my hamster! ( Puff) I don’t want her escaping out of her cage!


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