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Terrarium Set-Up 1,2,3

Choose a Habitat

Make sure to select a habitat with plenty of space for your pets and all cage accessories. As a general rule of thumb, minimum cage sizes for small pets are as follows:

Small PetMinimum Habitat Size
Guinea Pig24"L x 12"W x 12"H
Gerbil12"L x 12"W x 12"H; wire spacing no more than ½" apart.
Fancy Rat24"L x 12"W x 12"H
Fancy Mouse12"L x 12"W x 12"H; wire spacing no more than ½" apart.
Chinchilla30"L x 29"W x 18"H
Syrian Hamster12"L x 12"W x 12"H; wire spacing no more than ½" apart.
Dwarf Hamster12"L x 12"W x 12"H; wire spacing no more than ½" apart.
Rabbit30"L x 29"W x 18"H
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  • Most small pets are social and can live in pairs. (One exception to the rule is the Syrian Hamster, which should always live alone.) Make sure not to house pets of opposite genders in the same habitat and to provide multiple food and water dishes, hide huts and extra toys.
  • Place the habitat in a cool, low-humidity area, out of direct sunlight.

Use Bedding

There’s a wide variety of pet bedding available, and having it in your small pet habitat at all times is
an absolute must.

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  • Cedar shavings don’t make proper small pet bedding.
  • Line your small pet habitat with 3-4" of clean, new bedding. Spot cleaning as necessary between changes. Frequency of changes will vary depending on type and number of pets in the habitat.
  • Aspen, pine and recycled paper based pet bedding are among the most popular choices.
“I recommend CareFRESH® products, not only because they're so safe for my patients, but also because I've seen thousands of my patients thrive on these products for nearly two decades.”
Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)
Owner, Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics
Bedford Hills, Westchester, New York

Pick Play & Hide Items

Furnishing a small animal cage is as simple as knowing which Play & Hide items are appropriate for your pet.

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  • Hide House
    Hide houses provide a welcome refuge for any small pet. Easily cleaned, they’re also available in an edible variety to help encourage normal chewing behavior.
  • Exercise Wheel
    Hamsters, Fancy Mice, Fancy Rats, Chinchillas and Gerbils love to run on exercise wheels. Solid-surface wheels are available, offering a more tail-safe option. Be aware that nocturnal pets will likely make a habit of jogging after you’ve gone to sleep.
  • Dust Bath
    Chinchillas, in particular, need a container with two inches of bath dust to roll around in periodically. Make sure to choose a container with plenty of room for your Chinchilla to flip back and forth.
  • Chews
    Most small pets have teeth that literally never stop growing, so they need lots of healthy things to chew on. Leaving treat sticks or chews in the habitat will do the trick.
  • Nesting Material
    Hamsters, Fancy Mice, Gerbils and Fancy Rats all like to shred materials to make their own sleeping areas. You can give them paper or cotton fabrics and watch them go to work.