Hamster Enclosure Legal Minimums

 One of our missions at the Wholistic Pet is to reach as many animals as possible. Our commitment to providing the very best for your beloved furry friends does not stop with cats, dogs, and horses; we believe that any animal you call 'family' should receive the same quality of care. Our newest member of the Wholistic Pet team, Pete the dwarf hamster, was brought in with the purpose of extending a wholistic arm into the world of small animals. For us, this means approaching the wellbeing of these creatures from a biological standpoint - considering the true nature of the animal not as a caged pet, but as a complex creature with complex needs.

 I believe that when you provide a hamster or any small animal with the means to express it's true nature, you will have a pet that is healthy, happy, and absolutely incredible to watch. Hamsters are deep burrowers, underground architects, paranoid hoarders, olympic sprinters, professional foragers, and rulers of the twilight hours. 

The needs of small animals are often shrouded by an industry that views them as products, more specifically, accessories to these these plastic monstrosities:



 Not only are these cages ridiculous looking, they are way to small for any animal to thrive. And unfortunately, there is no official entity in place that supports the best interest of small animals. The Code of Federal Regulations states that a dwarf hamster must have a minimum of 25 square inches of floor space. Here is a scaled drawing of what that minimum would look like:



5x5 enclosure - Pete for scale   

I think it goes without saying that no creature should be confined to such a small enclosure. There is no space for any activities - It is approximately the size of a plastic carrier...

Again, this is the LEGAL minimum amount of space. In France, the minimum space requirement for any hamster is 155 square inches, which would look this:

15.5x10 enclosure

This is certainly an improvement - there is space for a wheel, room to roam and burrow, but this is still not an ideal amount of space for a hamster effectively express its natural instincts, as in the wild their territories are quite large and the construct multiple burrows, elaborate tunnels, and stores of food.

The California Hamster Association recommends 775 for a hamster. This is adequate space for a hamster to thrive.


 Most reputable hamster breeders would agree that this is an ideal amount of space for a hamster. Mel's Neighborhood Rodents, the rescue we adopted Pete from, requires a minimum of 600 square inches for a dwarf hamster and 700 square inches for a syrian hamster. Pete currently resides in a Zilla Deluxe Critter Cage Enclosure 40-Gallon which is 657 square feet.                     










Pete's home is made complete with multiple layers of bedding that allow him to dig and burrow, a 10-inch wheel which allows him to run in a healthy position (a smaller wheel would force him to bend unnaturally), and a sand bath so he can keep his coat clean and shiny. These three elements are what reputable breeders and small animal rescues require you to have before adopting a hamster and they set the stage for the hamster to do what it does naturally.

You can find all of these necessities in our store and say hi to Pete while you're here! The Wholistic pet is delighted to provide wholistic care for the smallest of our furry friends!




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