Validating refinements to laboratory animal housing
If a wooden shelter cannot be found, try a plastic pipe of a 7.6 cm diameter and 15 cms long from a local hardware shop which suited 55% of hamsters in one study (Veillette & Reebs 2011) If for some reason you can’t give them a shelter then there must be masses of bedding so that they can make their own shelter/hideaway out of it (Gerber 2008.) Wild hamsters live in burrows, so making a tunnel in the bedding is the next best thing for them.
Ideally they should have a shelter, as well as much bedding as they like. (2011), ‘Shelter choice by Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) in the laboratory,’ .
If a hamster gets fat it may get stuck in the tubes.
These are best used for temporary recreation not for a permanent home.
Fish tanks are not suitable either because of poor ventilation.
They will often store their food there and quite often they will urinate there (Gerber 2008).As hamsters like climbing, a two-tier cage may give them a chance to do this.Try to buy a cage t a fixed wheel already in it, as often wheels in cages are too small.The advice in this section should be taken only at the owner’s own risk. General advice of the kind found in this website is no substitute for an individual consultation with a vet or qualified behaviourist working on a vet’s referral.
Here we provide general information on the housing and husbandry requirements of commonly used laboratory rodents, including mice, rats, guinea pigs, gerbils and hamsters.More detailed guidance can be found in the resources and references provided.