I have three Russian dwarf hamsters that are almost 41/2 weeks old now. My sister purchased two hamsters that she thought were both females, but she realized they were not once she unexpectedly discovered seven hamster pups. She asked me if I could maybe take a few off her hands once they were old enough. I said yes because I'm not allowed a dog or cat where I'm living, so I wouldn't mind having something other than my pet fish and leopard gecko to hang out with and take care of.

I took them home when they were three weeks old, and the only cage I had at the time was an old small critter trail. I knew that it would not be enough to house all three of them permanently, so I kept them in that until I was able to get my hands on a new enclosure. They got bigger and began to fight, but I was able to get a ten gallon tank to house them in. This is what they are in now. It has a mesh top, so they have ventilation in there. I have put roughly 4 inches of bedding in the cage, so they can burrow and dig as they wish. They have a saucer wheel (I know that the upright plastic wheels can cause back issues and I know they can hurt their feet from wire wheels, also it is quieter.), a house with enough room for all of them to comfortably pile up and sleep in, a large, easily accessible water bottle, a ceramic food bowl that I empty and refill for them with hamster food and various fruits & vegetables daily, and many toys in different sizes, shapes, and textures, so they have plenty of options and plenty of things to do.

They have been placed in my bedroom which is usually at a comfortable, consistent temperature, and has little to no traffic other than an occasional visitor. I live at the back of the house and like to have the room be dark and quiet, so there are no loud sounds or bright lights in the room either. I handle them daily, so between me and themselves they are all getting plenty of socialization and interaction. They no longer fight like they did right before they were moved to their new enclosure. They make no attempts to escape and are extremely friendly, so they seem perfectly happy and I feel like I am doing everything right. I'm investing in a 20 gallon tank now, because I know a 10 gallon is ok but not ideal, especially for three hamsters.

But besides that, is there anything I should start doing or be doing differently? I have seen these hamsters grow up from when they were just little pinkies and so I'm very fond of them and want to do everything in my power to make them happy, healthy and comfortable.

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    Please have a look into my answer here: Hamster's cage larg enough? I described in detail the reasons, why hamsters do not like to live together. You even sgould be aware that and have an alternative in you mind, when needed. Apr 4, 2021 at 4:58
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    Oh and you need to be aware, that home breed (means not bred by a professional breeder) have a much higher risk to be inbreed, so your hamsters will have higher risk for genetic illness... Apr 4, 2021 at 5:26
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    I am sorry, I be this pessimistic. You made the first right step in asking and thinking about the health and happiness of your pets! This will change a lot for the quality of living for your little fur balls :) I wish you thw best and welcome to pets.SE Apr 4, 2021 at 5:31

1 Answer 1


The best advice I can give you is to build layers into the cage / tank to increase the effective area the hamsters can use to roam.

For their body size, hamsters have an instinct to run incredible distances every day. That's the reason why every hamster enclosure must have a running wheel. But better than a running wheel is actual space to run around.

You could, for example, buy or build a foldable, temporary fence. That allows you to let your hamsters run around in your room for a while without constantly taking up too much space, as a large cage would do. Just make very sure that your hamsters cannot escape this temporary fence.

There are also commercial "hamster castles" and toys available, which add more platforms to the hamster cage. Most of them are made of plastic, which might cause problems if the hamsters nibble on them. But you can also build a rich environment with things like coconut shells, toilet paper tubes, popsicle sticks, bamboo or craft wood. Search for "DIY hamster castle" and you'll find numerous ideas from easy to ambitious.

Instead of buying an aquarium, a cheaper solution can be an Ikea hack that transforms an inexpensive item of furniture into a hamster enclosure. Please search for "hamster ikea hack" for different ideas and instructions. There are so many possible solutions - depending on the available space and your budget - that I cannot give you a meaningful list.

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    Wishing I could double-upvote this for the Ikea hack; a friend of mine uses one of these for her hamster and he's an extremely happy little critter
    – Allison C
    Apr 6, 2021 at 13:13

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