This Christmas I received an hamster from my girlfriend!
She is so cute and her name his Ramboia! I am not sure if she ia a Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster or a white Campbell's, I guess I'll wait until Spring to see if she changes colour.
Since I am new to taking care of hamsters and rodents in general, I spent some time searching for information on the internet.
I read somewhere that despite the small size of the dwarf hamster, they are quite active and appreciate plenty of space.
In this instructable I'll show how you can:
- Expand and create room for your hamster, using cheap resources!
- Make a feeder from bottles of water.
- Make tubes using bottles of water.
- Do not harm your little friends!! Use common sense when building something for them.
- Take special attention on plastic edges, make sure they are not sharp.
Step 1: The Original Cage
Along with my new little friend I received a pretty much standard cage for small rodents.
It came with a little bowl for food, a bottle for the water, a ramp to access the loft and a plastic wheel (more appropriate for smaller feet).
Despite the small size of Ramboia, I think she feels cramped in this little cage, so I decided to build her a new and bigger house!
Step 2: Cheap Land
While I searched for information on how to care for these cute little things, I found that many people make their own cages, mostly from plastic storage boxes. This is a very good idea!
Unfortunately I made the house before thinking on making an instructable, so I don't have detailed pictures of the whole process.
For the cage I used:
- Original hamster cage
- Bolts, nuts and washers
- 42 L Plastic storage box
- Plastic mesh
- Dremel with cutter disc / or Hot knife
- Permanent marker
- Hot glue
First you need to fix the bolts in the wire cage. Then you measure the door and mark it in the side of the plastic box.
Cut the side of the plastic box with the dremel/hot knife.
Drill the holes for the bolts in the correct place.
Join the cage to the plastic box and fix it with nuts.
If you noticed, there is a small wall separating the cage and box, despite the hamster being able to climb it, I made a small ramp from two small pieces of wood.
I also cut the box lid and placed some plastic mesh with hot glue. This way I can see through the roof and the air flow of the box is improved.
Step 3: Feeder From Plastic Bottle
The food bowl that came with the cage very small, is very prone to spillage and being buried in the litter.
So, to tidy things up, I came up with the idea of using a water bottle as a feeder.
- Water bottle
- Bottom from water bottle from next steps
You need to cut the top of the bottle. Arrange a way so that you can insert the top in the bottle and it sits without touching the bottom, so the food can drop.
Make several openings, at least two, in the bottom of the bottle.
Use the bottom from another bottle as a lid for the feeder.
Step 4: Hamster Tubes! (1)
My little, cute, lovely hamster already has more space and a new feeder!
But one thing is missing if I want it to be a real hamster cage! The tubes!
The most expensive rodent cages usually have tubes where they can play around, I don't want to Ramboia miss that kind of fun!
Then a brilliant idea came to mind! (if I may say so)
Why not use water bottles and make my own tubes?
- Permanent marker
- Adhesive tape
- Hot air blower (useful for curving the bottles)
- Many water bottles
You only need an hot air blower if you wish to bend the bottles and make curved tubes.
Step 5: Hamster Tubes! (2)
Curved tubes are much nicer than straight tubes, but are rather difficult to make.
I tried to bend some bottles, experimenting and checking which brands where the best for bending.
My best method:
Hold the bottles in a vice by the neck.
Apply the necessary force to shape the bottle the way you want and slowly apply heat until you can shape the bottle.
Remove the heat and let it cold down while holding the shape you want.
I was only able to make small curves and while retaining the 'tube' shape of the bottles.
After deciding the layout of your tubes, you just need to cut the needed pieces from the bottles using the X-acto knife.
Pass your finger along the edges, If it fells sharpy, run your xacto along the edge to remove the sharps, or use heat (flame from lighter)
Keep the bits you cut out! You can use on another project!
Step 6: Hamster Tubes! (3)
After having all the cut pieces, all that is left to do is to connect all the pieces together and complete the super tube!
You take each piece and connect it with adhesive tape to the next one. Easy right?
Step 7: Hamster Tubes! (4)
I advise on drilling some holes on the bottom and on the top of the tubes.
On the top, the holes improve the air flow, especially on long long tubes.
On the bottom, the holes improve the air flow, enables the drainage of bodily fluids from your little critter and improves the grip for climbing.
Use a small drill, something between 1mm to 3mm and make many holes.
Step 8: Little Playground From 5L Water Bottle
From two 5L water bottles, I made a small playground to include in the middle of the tubes.
Take two water bottles and remove the bottom. Find the best way to fit the two bottles. Use the ridges on your advantage. You may need to make a few tries before getting the best result.
Use adhesive tape to join both bottles.
On the top of one of the bottles, cut a square, wide enough for you to be able to clean the playground.
Cover with plastic mesh and hot glue/adhesive tape.
The bottlenecks on the bottles are great as doors. You can close/open one door by screwing/unscrewing the bottle caps.
Step 9: Conclusion
Ramboia is happier than ever!
She approves the new space, the new feeder and the tubes!
It is great fun watching her running around the tubes and sliding in the steeper section.
This solution is really cheap,easy to execute and whenever you want you are able to extend the tubes.
I need to find more water bottles! I also might buy another plastic boxes and interconnect them using these tubes, throughout my whole bedroom!
In the next days I might update with more pics and even more tubes, who knows?
Step 10: Update: More Tubes!
I've made many more tubes with more water bottles!
It is really easy having a lot of tubes and adding/removing as you wish.
To note that I always remove the tubes when I'm not around and I never let her play unattended.
Step 11: Update: Happy Hamster Is Happy!
Can't you tell when your pet is happy happy happy?