Hamsters can be kept both in cages and in terraria, both of which are available in pet stores. Cages are easier to carry; their bars can be used for climbing. On the other hand, glass boxes keep hamsters from throwing litter out of their cages, provide a better view into the hamster's home, and create a quieter and more sheltered interior.
Despite the hamster’s small size, appropriate housing should always have a floor space of at least two square feet and a strong top because hamsters are surprisingly good climbers. Glass boxes must not be higher than their width to allow for a sufficient air circulation. Although smaller in size, dwarf hamsters often need more spacious housing than their larger relatives, at least 80cm by 40cm (2 feet by 4 feet) due to their high activity levels.
In the case of self-built dwellings, care should be taken to avoid materials that are dangerous to the animals. Plywood and wood from conifers is not suitable, because hamsters gnaw at their houses and both glue and resin are poisonous to them. Using standard water-soluble white wood glue to join pieces of solid wood, such as birch or beech wood, creates a safe environment for the hamster, although it may still chew through the wood. A purchased cage can be equipped with several intermediate levels, connected using stairs.
Hamsters do best in a well-lit room of constant, moderate temperature (18 to 26°C, 64 to 80°F), in a place out of strong sunlight that could cause dangerous overheating. Dwarf hamsters like it a bit cooler.
The floor of a hamster's residence is generally covered with a layer of litter. Litter made from recycled paper or wood lacking aromatic oils (such as aspen) is healthiest - gnawing and eating cat litter can be deadly, and cedar, pine, or other softwood-based litters may contain phenols that can irritate a hamster's respiratory system, liver, and skin. There is also commercial bedding available, such as Carefresh and Megazorb.