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These must be included in every enclosure.


Your hamster needs a wheel in their enclosure. You can place the wheel on a platform or the bottom of the enclosure. Your hamster needs an upright wheel (not a flying saucer) with a solid running surface. Holes or wires can cause bumblefoot, a painful foot infection. The wheel must also be the correct size so the hamster's back doesn't bend.

Syrian/Chinese- 28cm+ (some larger Syrian/Chinese hamsters may need 30cm+)
Robo/Dwarf- 21cm+ (some larger dwarfs may need 25cm+)

hamster cheerio looking out from her wheel

Water Bottles and Bowls

You can provide your hamster with two sources of water: a water bottle or a bowl. We suggest providing both first to find out which they prefer, you can then provide them with their preference. Bowls are generally more hygienic and natural to drink from, as they are easier to clean thoroughly. 

We recommend you clean bowls with vinegar spray (one part water, one part white vinegar). 

water bottle suspended above platform with natural enrichment sorrounding it

Different Substrates

Use at least three substrates in your enclosure, not including the main bedding and sand. For example, you could use Coco Husks, Aspen, and Beech Chips. You have a few different options when it comes to putting substrates in an enclosure. You can use terracotta pots, glass jars, hard plastic boxes, or a section on the enclosure's floor.

Coco Soil with Pebbles and Moss


All enclosures must have hides in them. As hamsters are prey animals, they need multiple  hides in their enclosure to feel safe and protected.

Some good options are: bendy bridges with moss/bedding glued in the gaps, ceramic hides, terracotta pots, coconut hides, and multichamber hides.

Teracotta Pots and Dish with Coco Soil and Beech Chips


Sand is vital because they cannot have water baths, as it removes essential oils from their coat/skin and often causes your hamster to go into shock.  Robos need a section of sand that is around 1/3 of their enclosure, and all other species need a 25+ cm sand bath. Unipac reptile sand from Amazon and Komodo white sand from Amazon are safe. All sand must be calcium, dye-free and provided 24/7.

Plastic Wheel in a Natural Enclosure


Sprays are essential to every hamster's enclosure as they help recreate their natural environment. In the wild, Roborovski hamsters can be found in Mongolia; they typically have vegetation surrounding their burrows that is, on average, 75 cm tall. Sprays help provide ground coverage to ensure your hamster doesn't feel exposed in their enclosure. Safe sprays include flax, oat, millet, pearl millet, pagima, barley, sorghum, and delicha. You can also get pick 'n' fly sprays from Amazon.

Sprays in a Natural Enclosure


Not all are compulsory, but some must be included for enrichment.


Forage is an important part of your hamster's setup. You may notice that your hamster is interested in eating forage, or they may ignore it; it depends on your hamster. You can add two tablespoons every two weeks. Just keep in mind that it will accumulate if the forage is not eaten.

various red and purple herbs for forage


Branches are important in enclosures as they help replicate a hamster's natural environment and provide great space fillers for a crowded, natural-looking set-up. Safe branches include Java wood, sand-blasted grapevine wood and bamboo root.

hamster underneath grapevine branch


Your enclosure should ideally include at least one tunnel, which can be an excellent burrow starter and help you achieve a natural look.

Opening sizes of the tunnels must be:

  • Syrian/Chinese - 7+ cm

  • Dwarf/Robo - 5+ cm

You could include cork logs (natural-looking), willow tunnels, ceramic tunnels, seagrass tunnels, cardboard tunnels, and birch tunnels.

hamster groot emerging from burrows looking inquisitive

Platforms  (under bedding)

Use platforms to prevent heavy items from falling on your hamster while burrowing. You should place all heavy items on a platform (we use IKEA Varieras) or sit them on the bottom of the enclosure. Alternatively, you can add stilts to the bottom of heavy objects. The larger metal IKEA platforms have a smooth top; however, some have small holes covering the surface, so they must be submerged in bedding or covered by something like a seagrass mat.

metal platform placed inside enclosure underneath bedding
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