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Zoozone for dwarf ?

We have just took on a very sweet dwarf hamster, she came to us in a rather small cage so I am wanting to move her to something bigger.I do have a large zoozone she could have but would I have to mesh the lid? And would all that space freak her out? She is about a year old.
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  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    Its a zoozone 2.
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    edited June 2016 Posts: 1,228
    Hi Nicky. The Zoozone 1 is usually a decent enough size for one dwarf hamster, but you could put plenty inside the ZZ2 to make it appear smaller for her. They are rather large when the hamster is used to something a lot smaller. My older Russian dwarf male likes to hide a lot and he`s in a Gabber Rex (same size as the ZZ1) I actually thought about down-sizing him to a Ferplast Duna, but all in all, he`s happy where he is and does use the space.

    The lid meshing is not necessary. I don`t even have a lid on mine! Just place the lid on but make sure you don`t allow anything high she can climb on. Placing a shelf (where a Duna one would normally be sitting on the lip of the base) is a fine. I have my Ferplast Duna shelf inside the Gabber Rex and have a Trixie log ramp where the plastic one would normally be and my lad runs up and down this. He has a cardboard box up on the shelf and spend his grooming time in there!

    Spot clean the cage only where necessary to reduce stress. They like their own scent. I had to half clean my cage yesterday though as I felt it needed doing, but I normally just replace a handful here and there. x
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    Thank you racing mouse for your advice, not having to mesh the lid will make life easier lol. I will try her in it as soon as the Velcro for her water bottle arrives then we will keep an eye on her to see how she goes. yes I will put plenty in for her and
    Only spot clean when necessary, that will save on substrate as well. X( .Its quite a few years since we had a dwarf and I'm sure things have changed a lot since then I'm researching like mad so any advice would be most welcome. We have called her Elfin and she likes to run out and look at you when you talk to her she seems to be settling in. She will also need a new wheel for the zoozone so any recommendations would be great thank you.
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,228
    Actually, it may make the cage transition easier if her smaller cage can fit inside the ZZ2? Would this be do-able or is the current cage too long or would look a bit strange? I was thinking that if the cage she is currently in has a door that opens to the front, you could place a solid ramp over the open door and allow her to come out as and when she pleases and still have access to the cage she`s used to. Just a daft thought really to help with the move, but not totally necessary. Using an upturned shoe box at one end of the ZZ2(remove the lid from the box) as the substrate underneath allows her to dig down inside the box. I actually use a long tissue box for Chubs and cut a few doors into it. These make great bed areas and are chewable and easily replaced if necessary. Wooden boxes can prove heavy and they do love to dig under their bed boxes and have a rummage!

    I still use my old silent spinner wheel (medium size) and Chubs loves it. The new versions are noted to be a bit slower/stiffer to turn, but should be okay for an adult Russian dwarf. It may be baby hamsters (lighter in weight) who may have problems turning these wheels. I would avoid using the flying saucer wheels as they can sometimes trigger head tilt in some susceptible animals, especially Roborovski.

    Pets At Home were selling their own versions of the silent spinner. Can`t remember the actual size but look into those. Any solid wheel that is safe and a similar size to the medium silent spinner will suit.

    Cardboard egg boxes with a turret cut off and a door in each end go down well! Toilet roll tubes are too narrow for Russian dwarfs really, so I would avoid those and go for a Chube tube or buy a tube of Pringles and use that.
    ;)
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    Great advice thank you. I am not sure the cage idea will work as the cage she is in opens from the top like a zoozone , although saying that I could easily fit the base of it in.I will nip to pets at home and look at their wheels. I'm glafd you mentioned not to use a flying saucer because I was thinking about one. Sounds a silly worry but if I buy one with a stand should I use something to stick the base down so it doesn't fall on her?
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    Just ordered her the Trixie wheel. The one she came with is horrible so I hope the Trixie is better for her.
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    Oh and I forgot to ask,do dwarfs take to a litter tray? The Syrians I had in the past always used a toilet but my current Syrian Mrs miniver point blank refuses to use hers.
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    edited June 2016 Posts: 1,228
    Yes, you could just place the plastic `base` of the cage inside the ZZ2 and then she can come and go in and out using a Trixie log ramp or something easy for her to use as a long bridge! :)

    No,a toilet tray isn`t necessary. Neither is a sand bath as sand can dry their skin out. Chinchillas have dense fur and they need sand, but although dwarf hamsters will roll around in chinchilla sand, I feel it`s too drying and not necessary.

    The Trixie wheel is fine, good choice. If it rattles around, try attaching the metal stand to a wooden base with small nails. I used a flat plain piece of pine from a shelf (untreated pine) and nailed my silent spinner wheel stand to the wooden base. Works a treat. The wheel never moves and if Chubs chews the wood, I just sand any edges down with sand paper.

    I just measured out a square of the wood and used a hand saw to cut it to size. x

  • MouseLoverMouseLover Lemming
    Posts: 188
    Sorry to but in - but just noticed what you said about flying saucer wheels. Maybe things are different for hamsters and mice, but on some of the mouse forums I visit, flying saucers are regarded as one of the safest wheels around. I have never heard about the head tilt issue, so maybe it's a hamster thing?

    But for mice, as long as they're on the correct sized saucer, they run with their backs very straight, and it's actually a more natural way of running than a standard wheel. For that reason they're super popular with mouse owners. My girls usually prefer the flying saucer to a standard wheel, though every mouse is different, so I usually provide both :)
    Hamster: Archie
    Mice: Honey, Violet, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.
    Rainbow Bridge: Daisy, Peach, Ivy, Penelope, Hazel, Ruby, Clover, Peanut, Minnie, Ginger
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    Thankyou racing mouse,again glald you mentioned the sand bath as once again I was going down that route lol. The wood idea is great thank you.
    Mouselover ,my mice have a flying saucers and love them .
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    edited June 2016 Posts: 1,228
    Just to clarify my own personal reason for not using the saucer wheels was due to an elderly robo I took in. He was absolutely fine. I introduced him to a medium sized flying saucer wheel and after using it for over a week, I saw him emerge one afternoon as if he was falling to one side/drunk. I knew the wheel was the culprit and withdrew it immediately, worried that the brain damage was already done. Thankfully, his balance came back, but later on down the line, he developed `spinning` which is something Roborovski hamsters can suffer from. It`s said to be neurological and it can`t be treated.

    Some may say it was coincidence. I`m convinced that the tilted running motion could have interfered with his balancing mechanism somehow. I`ve read of a few other robos developing this condition after they used FS wheels, or some who became obsessed with `running around` an object within their cage.

    After my robo developed this spinning behaviour, he would spin around things like his food dish or a tube, so they have to be removed or placed where he couldn`t use them as a pivotal target.

    I`ve never heard of mice having issues with FS wheels, but having seen the development a robo behaving normally to one that started to `spin` in older age having been fine for weeks beforehand, the use of this FS wheel gave me the post warning I needed and I havn`t used one since. At least, not with dwarf hamsters, especially Roborovski.

    Upright wheels allow the hamster to run forwards naturally as long as they are large enough and don`t bend the spine. Flying saucer wheels tend to cause a slight lean to one side, although it doesn`t look as though the animal is leaning or bending, imagine your body alignment if using one yourself? You would be inclined to stay on a slight turn or would run off the end. On an upright wheel, you run forward/straight. The difference looks slight, but the running motions won`t be balanced the same. x
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    So glad you mentioned this, thank you. Its just not worth the risk.
  • MouseLoverMouseLover Lemming
    Posts: 188
    Wow, that's crazy! I still think they're great for mice, but that's good to know if I should ever get a dwarf!
    Hamster: Archie
    Mice: Honey, Violet, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.
    Rainbow Bridge: Daisy, Peach, Ivy, Penelope, Hazel, Ruby, Clover, Peanut, Minnie, Ginger
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,228
    Robos are more prone to the spinning condition than other hamsters, but once burned, twice shy I say. I learn from what I see and prefer the upright way of running. It`s fair to say that mice may not be affected by using this type of wheel but mice can develop inner ear infections sometimes and using a such a device could enhance a balancing issue. Flying saucer wheels where probably devised as a new concept but I`m not sure why or how some think tank came up with the idea that running on a saucer shaped wheel is any safer. They do fly off these wheels just as much as they can inside an upright one, but both have their uses. The upright wheels have been used far longer so we tend to know where we stand with those.
  • Posts: 529
    I have to say that I've never heard of any other hamsters who even may have developed issues due to a flying saucer wheel, I've used them with a few hamsters with no problems (including robos). I understand racinghamster's concern but I know plenty of people who totally safely use flying saucers with many hamsters :) I have a hamster with neurological problems similar to the spinning sometimes seen in robos and in her case a flying saucer definitely wasn't the culprit - she'd never even seen a wheel before I got her, admittedly there's no way I'd now give her a flying saucer but I happily use them with other hamsters (at the moment two syrians and a russian hybrid have them). I also don't think a flying saucer would do Calypso (my ham with neurological problems) much harm, but we've found that in her case it helps if she's got incentive to run in a straight line and a normal wheel is another item to help provide that incentive. To be honest as long as the flying saucer or wheel is a suitable size I don't tend to worry too much what type of wheel my hamsters have as long as they have quiet ones.

    I've had dwarf hamsters in ZZ2 cages in the past and yours may really enjoy having all the space, Muffin certainly did when he had his, the same went for Dusty :)

    I usually give my dwarf hamsters sand baths, I find they enjoy them and have never had a problem with them drying the skin out. I've heard it may be able to happen but if it does its rare and my dwarf hams have all always enjoyed a good sand bath, quite a few use the bath as a toilet too. I have loads of the trixie wheels for my dwarf hams though and have never had a problem so hopefully you'll like yours as much as I like them :)
    Currently one of two pet-humans of some hamsters (syrian, roborovski, chinese and russian hybrid), mice, mongolian gerbils and a duprasi :)
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    Thank you Kyrilliondaemon. I really like this forum as even when people have different views it stays friendly and helpful unlike a lot of other forums. :D
    I'm really looking forward to putting Elfie into her new cage as the one she is in hardly gives her room to play.
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,228
    I certainly took the view that the FS wheel triggered my wee robos spinning disorder, but kyrill is right to say don`t judge a book by one incident. FS wheels can be fun and I imagine in such a large space like the ZZ2, adding one in may become just another accessory your hamster may or may not use, but I would also give her the upright wheel to make her own choices. x
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    The Trixie wheel came today, I am just waiting for her Velcro to arrive so I can attach her water bottle and we are all set.
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    edited June 2016 Posts: 1,228
    Remember too that you can make a bottle stand inside these tank style cages and weigh them down with stones or coloured beads. Can sometimes work better if your bottle hole is a bit higher than you want it to be, especially for older animals.



    plastic bottle holder.JPG
    337 x 429 - 22K
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    What a great idea I have never seen that before. Well she's in ! she seems both excited and a bit worried at the same time. We put her in last night and she was all over the place. Later on she had a go on her new wheel and that went down a treat as her back leg use to slip off her old wheel so she couldn't seem to go as fast as she wanted , so the Trixie was heaven for her Hopefully she will soon get use to it all. The next think I want to do is make her a level of some sort as she likes to peak out.
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    Well the change in Elfin since she moved into the zoozone is like night and day. She's relaxed, will happily come over for a cuddle then go back to what she was doing she's enjoying exploring. She's just a different girl Hope it keeps up.
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,228
    Really happy to hear that Nicky, you have done her proud. :) With a cage that size, all you will need to do is spot clean, use some wet kitchen towel to clean things and basically allow her to make a home for herself. Dwafies are good little organisers! Let her dictate the pace. x
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    Thanks racing mouse I will do that.
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 321
    RM your suggestion to spot clean only is interesting. I have currently 9 mice in a large enclosure, open to the air (walls and floor only) at 120cm x 80cm. The walls are wood the floor is glass. I spot clean daily and change them completely once a week. I have wondered if new environments are interesting or terrifying. They run around exploring and seem happy but could they be happier with stuff they are familiar with? Perhaps it's different for hams - they have a set place for toilet? My mice do tend to go in corners where I place little corner trays which I change daily, but also they do go everywhere else. Basically, can one clean/change too much? Could they be stressed?
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley.
    Never forgotten fancy girl mice Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex, wild mice Harry Houdini and Little Wills
  • MouseLoverMouseLover Lemming
    Posts: 188
    As far as I'm aware Sarahnash, mice pee and poop more than hamsters (as hamsters are desert creatures), and tend to need cleaning out more regularly than hams. However, cleaning too regularly can cause them to make it smellier by going over board on scent marking. I'd spot clean every few days, and then clean the whole thing when it begins to get a little whiffy!

    As for changing the setup every week - in my experience, mice love it. I don't find mice get stressed eaily - they love having new things to explore. Just leave their nest the same with their old bedding in it, as often as you can.

    Your enclosure sounds huge and awesome, I'd love to see it, did you make it yourself?
    Hamster: Archie
    Mice: Honey, Violet, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.
    Rainbow Bridge: Daisy, Peach, Ivy, Penelope, Hazel, Ruby, Clover, Peanut, Minnie, Ginger
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,228
    MouseLover has covered that fairly well. Mice will poo/pee more than hamsters but hamsters can tend to poo in a bed area just outside where they sleep, so this needs checking weekly to make sure there is no real build up in any areas. Mice just `go` wherever! x
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 321
    Hi ML, thanks for the confirmation. It felt right to me but with the OCD itching/grooming issues 2 girls have got it made me wonder if I was contributing to the problem, also if it might be too big. I'll take on board 'leave nest the same' I generally change the comfy stuff, paper, jcloth whatever, more regularly. The enclosure consists of a rectangular slot together enclosure http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/small_pets/runs_fencing/73299/453205
    That sits on a table and between table and mouse is towel on top of which are 8 glass worktop savers (£4 each from Sainsburys!). Then I put down substrate except where the wheels are as they kick it up underneath and jam it. The other end is sleeping and burrowing where the substrate is deep in places.
    I buy lots of stuff and do make occasionally with cardboard boxes and tubes. Picture of Saturdays offering.imageimage
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley.
    Never forgotten fancy girl mice Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex, wild mice Harry Houdini and Little Wills
  • racingmouseracingmouse Mouse
    Posts: 1,228
    Wow, can I stay?!!!!! X(  Looks fab Sarah. x
  • NickyNicky Mouse
    Posts: 816
    That is great !!
  • SarahnashSarahnash Lemming
    Posts: 321
    Thank you, they seem to like it.  I hope so.  Yes you can all come down.  You'll have to eat off trays on your laps because the mice are on the table (haaa).
    Mum to rattie boys Charlie and Bosley.
    Never forgotten fancy girl mice Jill, Kate, Eve, Sabrina, Dylan, Kris, Abby, Kelly, Tiffany, Natalie, Alex, wild mice Harry Houdini and Little Wills
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