Designing a Hamster Room
Do you want a room that's safe and comfortable for your hamsters? If you are using a spare bedroom in your house as a hamster room, there are simple steps you can take to "rodent-proof" the place.
You want to have the right furniture, lighting, ventilation, and space. You want to make sure there are no cracks or holes a hamster can get into. And, of course, you need to make sure electric sockets and cords are out of reach.
First, look at the layout of the room. If there are heating or air-conditioning vents on the floor, you want to make sure they are secure and tight fitted. Ours have little mirror clips on the sides so that, if the vent covers need to be taken up for any reason, the clips can be turned to release them, then turned back over the edge to secure the the vent covers when back in place.
Are there any holes in the wall or along the floor that a hamster might be able to squeeze through and get into the walls? The general rule is that if it's only half as big as it needs to be for a hamster to get through, then it is big enough. Hamsters not only can get through tiny spaces that you wouldn't imagine, but they can make very little holes a lot bigger in mere seconds. All these openings have to be sealed tightly.
How about the door? Is there a gap under it? If a hamster is allowed to run loose in a room for "play time," somebody should be with the hamster to supervise (and anything over 15 minutes is too long). But even with someone present, a hamster can slip under a door, even one that seems to be just above the level of the carpeting. If you can stick a finger under the door, there's probably enough space for a hamster to slip out.
One solution is to put a strip of wood on the underside of the door, which would require taking the door off the hinges and then re-hanging it. A simpler solution is just to keep something on hand that can be laid in front of the door to block it while the hamster is out.
Check the windows, too. You want to make sure there's a place to put hamsters that is not in direct sunlight and where there won't be a draft.
The kind of furniture used in a Hamster Room is important. Sometimes drawer chests cause trouble. A hamster can - and will - manage to squeeze between the back of it and the wall. If there's an opening, the hamster will get inside, behind or under the drawers. Some bookcases have false floors with closed sides and an opening at the back so that a hamster can get into the enclosed space under the bottom shelf. The problem here is that furniture has to be moved to retrieve the hamster.
Furniture should be like the bookshelf in the photo (left column) that is open so that the hamster can go under or even on top of the shelf and not be in any danger. The lamp table in the photo above has no openings in the back and no space underneath, so a hamster can squeeze behind to explore it but can't get inside.
Then there's the closet. If there's a way for a hamster to get into it by going under or around a door, make sure there's not a lot of clutter on the floor, nothing dangerous to the hamster, and nothing that the hamster can get into that might create problems.
Finally, there's electricity to worry about. You don't want any power cords lying on the floor. None! The solution is fairly easy. Make sure that there is something above the outlet that the cord can be fastened to - tied or taped or looped around it - and that the cord runs to the lamp or radio (whatever) without dropping below the level of the socket.
We also put child-proof plug covers into all unused sockets, just to be safe. (See picture at left.)
For those fortunate enough to have a room that can be devoted to hamsters, it can be a fun and relaxing place for humans, too. And hamsters do appreciate your company. So make the room comfortable for you, too.