Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford
As well as being the right size for your hamster, gerbil or chinchilla, a rodent cage must be equipped with the right accessories. From feeding accessories like bowls, hay racks and water bottles to tunnels and wheels for playing, and a hut for sleeping, your pet needs a range of equipment to stay happy and healthy.
- Food bowls and hay nets
- Water bottles
- Huts and houses
- Toys and shelters
Key accessories for rodent cages
Home to a variety of small pets, cages should be chosen with care to ensure your hamster or gerbil can enjoy long naps in safe, comfortable bedding and hours of play! To ensure the well-being of your pet, you need to pay attention to three key factors.
- The size of your pet: there's a big difference between a chinchilla and a mouse!
- Your pet's activity requirements: be sure to choose a big enough cage so that your pet can move around with ease.
The cage layout and material: plexiglass cages might be attractive but they do not offer adequate ventilation while wooden cages will absorb waste. The best option is a barred cage with a plastic base that can be removed for easy cleaning.
Essential rodent cage accessories
Your cage accessories should be chosen according to the type of rodent you own and their specific set of needs. There's no sense in filling up an already modestly sized cage with a bunch of useless equipment. The best option for your pet's well-being is to stick to the bare essentials.
Food bowls and hay nets
There are two basic types of feeding accessory designed for rodents.
- Classic food bowl: to be filled daily with fresh and healthy food. It's important to clean the bowl regularly to avoid bacteria growth. These bowls are generally made of plastic, ceramic or metal.
- Food dispensers: delivers food as required by the animal. While more expensive than a basic food bowl, a food dispenser means you won't have to top up your pet's food on a daily basis and allows you to plan out their food for several days at a time. This can be a good option if you are going to be away for a couple of days.
- Hay nets: generally attached to the cage bars, these accessories are used to store hay and are often made of stainless steel or wood.
Rodent water dispensers
A traditional water dish can be attached to the bars of the cage in order to avoid any spills.
Rodent water bottles
Rodent water bottles work a bit like a food dispenser in that they allow you to provide a few days worth of water at once. These water bottles are also attached to the bars of the cage and come in a range of different volumes from 50 ml to 900 ml.
Rodent shelters and houses
In the wild, rodents make their own homes or find a cosy nest to sleep and shelter in to protect themselves from the outside world. The most important factor when choosing a shelter is size: it must be big enough for your pet.
In terms of design, you can find houses in all shapes and in a range of different materials: rectangular or round, wood or plastic, with or without windows... you're sure to find a model to suit your rodent. Houses are generally the most common option.
Wooden vs. plastic houses
While attractive to look at, wooden houses are not as suitable as plastic models. This is because the wood soaks up waste and clings onto odours.
Rodent beds and hideaways
Beds for larger rodents come in all designs and sizes to match your pet. Choose between plastic, fabric, ceramic and wood – although bear in mind that washable materials (i.e. plastic and removable fabric covers) are preferable to absorbent materials such as wood.
You can find a wide variety of models from to teepees and fun designs such as slippers or even mushrooms!
Accessories to make your rodents happier
Some accessories should be chosen according to the habits of your pet.
- Perches: some rodents love to sit at a height. For example, chinchillas often choose to sit on a perch away from their cage mates.
- Wheels: small rodents in the wild are used to running long distances on a daily basis. A wheel is therefore essential for the well-being and physical fitness of your pet. Be sure to choose the right size according to the length of your pet's spine in order to prevent injuries. It's better to size up to avoid the risk of accidents.
- Sand baths: like chickens, chinchillas rid themselves of pests and parasites by rolling in sand. A sand bath is an essential hygiene item for these rodents.
In addition, you can choose from a wide range of smaller accessories to kit out your rodent cage:
- houses and nests;
Guide written by:
Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford, 31 guides
From a background in waste transportation, I became a farmer specializing in organic market gardening. A graduate of a professional baccalaureate in Agronomy and Horticultural Production, I tried for several years as a young farmer to settle in the beautiful region of Oxford. After many disappointments, I finally started a small-business in home services, specifically in gardening, assisted by my loving, dear husband. Passionate about nature and wild edible plants, I am very attentive to ecological solutions and respectful of our environment in all aspects of my daily life. From the vegetable garden to the flower beds, from seed to harvest, I have all kinds of advice up my sleeve. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions.