Hamsters can live in glass tanks with sufficient ventilation and temperature regulation.
Keep the hamster in a 20-40 gallon glass tank. Provide sufficient food, water, and entertainment, and position the tank carefully so it won’t get knocked over and broken.
You’ll need to perform some DIY adaptations to a glass tank to ensure the hamster can breathe freely and doesn’t overheat on hot days.
Can Hamsters Go in Glass Tanks?
If you’re looking for a hamster habitat, you won’t find many glass tanks at a pet store. Almost all homes marketed for small animals are transparent, solid plastic tanks or wire cages.
However, this doesn’t mean that glass tanks are unsuitable for hamsters.
With some adaptations, you can make an aquarium (designed for fish or a vivarium targeted toward lizards) into a home for a rodent pet. Avoid terrariums because they have lighter, fragile glass.
Select a tank that’s 20 gallons or larger, and choose a habitat that uses its capacity in length, not height.
Advantages of Keeping a Hamster in a Glass Tank
There are some good points to homing a hamster in a glass habitat. Using an aquarium theoretically makes it easier for you to see a hamster, harder for them to escape, and easier to clean.
Aquariums are often bigger than traditional hamster enclosures sold at pet stores.
Long aquariums are better than tall ones, as the hamster won’t be able to climb the sides or roof. The more room you have, the more entertainment you can provide for a hamster.
Clear View of Your Hamster
Hamsters are fascinating to watch. If you keep a pet in a glass habitat, you’ll have a perfect view of the hamster’s life. That can be enjoyable and is important if you’re trying to breed hamsters.
Pairing two hamsters in a single home introduce risk.
Dwarf breeds are usually happier to co-exist, but Syrians fight once they reach sexual maturity. A glass habitat means you’ll be able to see if a conflict is brewing before things escalate.
Can hamsters see through glass? In truth, hamsters have poor eyesight and can barely see anything.
As per Behavioral Processes, hamsters use vision to catch prey but rarely watch the world go by. This makes the difference between plastic, glass, or wire negligible for a hamster’s vision.
Limited Escape Opportunities
Hamsters are infamous for their ability to escape habitats.
Some hamsters climb walls and find escape hatches on the ceiling of their habitat. Others use their strong teeth to bite through wires until they create a space big enough to squeeze through.
Hamsters will likely get loose and embark on an adventure if they live in a plastic tank or wire cage.
In theory, determined hamsters can escape from any habitat. However, it’s impossible to bite through glass, and it’s too slippery to climb. So, the hamster is unlikely to get loose.
Glass tanks make hamster habitats much easier to clean. You can wipe down the walls, and the glass will soon air dry in the sun after you undertake a deep clean.
A hamster will make less mess in a glass cage. If a hamster is digging in the substrate, some can leave the sides of a wire cage. A glass home keeps everything in place until it’s time to clean up.
Risks of Keeping a Hamster in a Glass Tank
Is glass safe for hamsters, or will your pet be better off in a more traditional habitat?
Glass can be safe for hamsters, but you’ll need to consider some factors to keep it this way. You’ll need to place a glass tank tactically to reduce the risk of extreme temperatures or accidental breakage.
Heat and Ventilation
If you’re going to home your hamster in a glass tank, ensure the habitat offers sufficient ventilation. You’ll likely need to replace the current ceiling of the aquarium with a bespoke wire mesh.
A roof ceiling for a glass tank must allow the hamster to breathe without letting draughts in. Don’t leave spaces big enough for a hamster to escape through or another pet to access the tank.
Glass tanks heat up faster than plastic or wire alternatives, especially when exposed to direct sunlight. So, get a thermometer. If the cage temperature exceeds 72 degrees Fahrenheit, it must be relocated.
Another issue is where you’ll place a hamster’s water bottle.
Ordinarily, this would be positioned on the side of a tank, with a hole to accommodate a sippy bottle. However, that’s rarely an option with glass.
The easiest way around this is to hang a bottle inside the cage. You can do this using a hook and wire or velcro backing, but neither is a failsafe. If a water bottle falls on a hamster, it becomes an injury risk.
You could also look into a free-standing water bottle. Another solution could be a water bowl, although this may create more work for you.
While a water bowl allows a hamster to drink freely, it can get messy. Some hamsters like to play in the water and splash around in their drinking bowl, while others will tip it over for fun.
Hamsters can’t climb the walls of a glass enclosure. That’s good for safety but can be distressing, as hamsters love to climb in metal cages.
You’ll need to tackle this by packing a hamster’s glass tank with entertainment and obstacles. Regularly introduce new toys and exercise equipment and provide climbing apparatus.
Glass tanks won’t easily accommodate tubes, so your hamster will need hiding places. You’ll also need to provide things to chew and gnaw on so the hamster can wear down its teeth.
If a hamster can’t follow its instincts, it’ll grow increasingly bored and stressed.
Check for signs of a hamster pacing a habitat but ignoring a running wheel or similar equipment. This is a warning that the hamster is distressed, potentially leading to ill health.
There’s a small but notable risk of breakage if you put a hamster in a terrarium.
Designed for plants rather than living animals, terrariums tend to be too light and flimsy to make effective hamster habitats. Aquariums or vivariums are safer for hamsters, as it’s unlikely they’ll generate sufficient force to shatter the glass.
All the same, these hamster homes aren’t indestructible. If you drop a glass tank while cleaning it, it may crack or break, which is a safety risk.
A glass tank is an ideal habitat for some hamsters, while others may find it constricting. If you believe a glass home is best for the hamster, choose carefully and equip it appropriately.