Practical tips for buying a cage

Rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals need both their daily exercise and a cage with enough space to move about. We’ll tell you the size of cage and accessories the experts recommend for your pet.

When it comes to the size of the cage, there is a wealth of recommendations for interested owners. However, not all pet care books are up to date, and not all of the advice found on the relevant Internet forums is correct. As a result, some recommendations may reflect preferences but not necessarily requirements.

Rabbits

The popular dwarf rabbit belongs to a group called “flight animals” that typically need a high level of activity. This small breed also likes to take off at breakneck speed and run in a zig-zag pattern – even in a cage. The cage needs to measure at least 150 x 60 x 50 cm (L x B x H) to meet a dwarf rabbit’s minimum requirements. For the basic furnishings and accessories, the long-eared members of your household need a den to sleep in, a raised platform, a heavy feeding bowl and a drinking bottle. A variety of toys and climbing options are important too.

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs need a lot of space to run and play too. According to the Veterinary Association, the minimum size of cage for two animals is 120 x 60 x 50 cm (L x B x H). Important: The cage needs to stand at table height or higher as the guinea pigs feel much safer there than on the floor. They love to have raised platforms and ramps within the cage too. On top of that, they need a den to sleep in with two exits, a stable feeding bowl and a nipple drinker which is attached to the outside of the cage.

Hamsters

Little hamsters don’t need as much space as a pair of rabbits or guinea pigs, but they still like to run. The Veterinary Association cites the minimum size of cage as 70 x 50 x 40 cm (L x B x H), however the a minimum of 100 x 50 x 50 cm (L x B x H) is recommended. For furnishings and accessories, the little guys need a sleeping enclosure, a storage house, a feeding bowl, somewhere to drink, climbing options and an injury-proof treadmill. They need nest-building material too such as fully digestible hamster cotton or hay.

Mice

Mice are very active and need a large living space with a varied layout. The Veterinary Association stipulates that a cage for four mice must have a minimum floor area of 80 x 50 x 80 cm (L x B x H). For their furnishings and accessories, the following are recommended: a sleeping enclosure, a place to hide with connecting passageways, climbing bars, ladders, a feeding bowl and automatic drinker as well as ropes, swings and an injury-proof treadmill that’s closed on one side. For nest building give them unbleached cellulose, hay or straw.

Rats

A rat’s cage must satisfy his sense of adventure. According to the Veterinary Association, a cage for a pair or trio of rats must be at least 100 x 50 x 100 cm (W x D x H). A cage tower with several floors is also an alternative, and a minimum size of 70 x 50 x 120 cm (W x D x H) is recommended. For the basic furnishings and accessories, you will need a nipple drinker, a heavy feeding bowl, a sleeping enclosure, climbing branches, ladders, ropes, hammocks and an adjustable platform. Wooden and cardboard tubes are also recommended for places to hide.

Chinchillas

Chinchillas need a great deal of space. Just two of them need a rodent-friendly aviary with a minimum volume of 3 m3. The Veterinary Association stipulates that the aviary should be at least 50 cm wide by 150 cm high. For each additional adult animal, a further 0.5 m3 is required. The aviary should be set up with benches in at least three levels plus thick branches and ramps to jump and climb on. They also need crawling holes, sleeping enclosures, a sand bath, food and drink vessels.

Call into your local store today to discuss your small animal’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.

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