Hamsters are very active tiny rodents. They love to scuttle around on their little feet and go about sniffing at things with their never-ending curiosity. If you aim to build a nice home for your pet hamster, instead of purchasing a readymade one from the market, you can DIY it. You will save money and introduce dozens of customized features once you know how to make a DIY hamster bin cage.
To make a DIY hamster bin cage, all you need is a large-sized plastic box such as the one for storing things like clothing, toys, or old books. Though the name includes the word “bin”, using garbage bins to construct a hamster cage isn’t a good idea since they might be harboring pathogens or might be smelly—something which will surely not be appreciated by your darling pet.
To make the cage even better, you may also consider installing a hamster wheel or layers of a substrate, especially if your hamster is playful and like to burrow itself in a quiet space. Now that you are well-informed about the nitty-gritty specifications on how a hamster cage should be like, let’s jump right into how you can make one!
Size of the DIY Hamster Bin Cage
The size of the plastic box would depend upon the size of your hamster. Pet hamsters grow to different sizes with the commonly domesticated ones, including the dwarf or Winter White Russian, growing to sizes of 3 to 4 inches, and have an average lifespan of 1.5 to 2 years.
Other types include the Syrian hamsters and the Chinese hamsters—the Syrian breed has a life span of 2 to 3 years, and grow to quite large sizes of 6 to 8 inches, while the latter ones grow up to 4 inches and live for about 2.5 to 3 years.
Generally speaking, cages should most preferably be of the dimensions 20×30 inches or 100 liters in volume. When you go to a pet or utility store to get yourself a plastic box, measure the length and the width of the box carefully– you can do this by measuring the bottom length and width of the box.
How to make a DIY Hamster Bin Cage
If you are making the hamster cage on your own, ensure you follow all instructions. To start with, you would need to gather all the necessary tools to DIY a cage for your lovely hamster, which include marker pens, power drills, pliers, box cutters, wire cutters, wire mesh, and zip ties. Once you have collected everything, keep them close by, pull up your sleeves and let’s get going!
1. Lid or upper cover
If you are going to use the same plastic lid that comes with the box, ensure sufficient air circulation inside the box. For that, drill several large holes around the corners, sides, and center of the lid to ensure abundant air supply.
If you do not opt for the plastic lid, and you need a cover that is air-circulation friendly, use a wire mesh. To use wire mesh as a part of the lid, follow the steps given below carefully:
a). Cut off the area for wire mesh: Take a measuring scale or tape, and mark the measurements with a marker pen of the area you want to cut out and replace with wire mesh. To cut off the plastic lid, you can use pliers or a jigsaw cutter. However, be careful so that the lid does not crack or snap since they are quite fragile.
Keep an inch and half of space free, all around the lid, before cutting off the wire-mesh area. This extra perimeter around the lid ensures that the lid does not crack and will also allow a lot of room for the cable ties to be fitted later to hold the wire mesh in place.
b). Fit the wire mesh: Wire mesh could be fitted securely using cable ties. Firstly, drill small holes, as many as possible, around the sides of the lid to tie the cable wires around to affix the wire mesh.
c). Cut wire mesh and smooth the edges: The area of the wire mesh should be half an inch wider than the hole that you have cut off the lid. This will make sure that once you have fitted the mesh, its edges overlap the lid, and there is no gap left for the hamster to chew on and escape from.
After having fitted the lid, smooth the top and the edges of the mesh to get rid of any rough or sharp bits.
2. Add a water bottle and a wheel
You can fit the water bottle either inside of the cage or externally. Fitting it inside has some demerits, such as the hamster, being a master at chewing, might chew on the edges of the water bottles thus making holes in to, which would lead to flooding inside the cage and an eventual mess.
But if you must, make sure you secure the bottle tightly to the lid, and the spout should be 1-2 inches above the floor of the cage so that the hamster can drink from it easily.
If you want to opt for an external fitting, use wire support or clippers to hold the bottle into position and make sure to drill a big enough hole in the lid for the spout to go through. Similarly, you can also attach hamster wheels to the cage using clippers or wiring mechanisms.
3. Add a floor to the cage
The DIY concept allows unlimited creativity. If you ever feel you want to add another hamster to your cage as a buddy to your already existing hamster, or you want to start a happy hamster family and want to introduce a female hamster, then you might have to consider a larger space.
You can do that by stacking another bin cage on top of the first bin cage by simply cutting off the floor of the 2nd bin cage, and attaching it to the lid of the first bin cage. By using wood pieces and substrate, you can add levels and stairs for your hamster to explore and dig into.
In case if you do not have sufficient time or the expertise needed to DIY a hamster cage and would like to opt for a readymade one, then the review guide on the petsadvisors would be quite helpful. We would highly recommend you pay a visit.
Hamsters are quite popular as pets, especially because they are so adorable, curious, and intelligent creatures. Though their curiosity and restlessness could get the better of them at times, still you cannot deny the idea of gifting your annoying little friend a gift, such as a house.
Gone are the days when you had to rush to the market to get yourself expensive pens or cages to house animals in. Why would you spend so much money buying an animal cage, when you can DIY one yourself?
To construct a DIY hamster bin cage, you would need one or two plastic bins or storage boxes. For air to circulate, drill several holes all around the lid, or fit the top with wire mesh. The wire mesh could be added very easily using cable ties. You can further customize your lovely DIY hamster cage by adding layers of substrate, water bottles, and a hamster wheel.