Product Type: Ferplast small pet accessories
Newest Review: ... though being red it does not match the rest of the cage. The water bottle is a standard Ferplast sippy bottle, that uses a ball valve t... more
Ferplast Mini Duna Hamster Cage
Member Name: sandemp
Ferplast Mini Duna Hamster Cage
Advantages: Good size, easy to clean, less mess, enclosed
Disadvantages: Top can become a little fingerprint smeared
While the majority of hamster cages are constructed from a plastic base with a wire mesh enclosure, the Mini Duna is somewhat different. There is still a plastic base, but this then has a clear plastic lid, with a wire door at the top for easier access. I particularly like this design for several reasons, the most important of which is that it protects the resident hamster from inquisitive fingers and will also provide protection from other pets such as cats and puppies. The lack of wire bars also helps prevent the problem of hamsters chewing on the bars, which means they are less likely to end up with a bald patch on their nose. Finally this design reduces the amount of mess that the hamster will kick out of the cage to virtually nil, along with containing the distinctive odour of a male hamster.
The Mini Duna is available in several colour-schemes including pink, but ours is a lovely, neutral pale blue and looks far less garish than some of the brightly coloured wire cages. Although titled the Mini Duna, there is nothing mini about this cage, at approximately 55cm by 39cm it provides far more floor space than many, more expensive wire cages, especially when you consider that it also has a platform that increases the floor space by a third again. At approximately 12cm, the base is also far deeper than many of the wire cages, meaning that you can add an extra deep layer of wood shavings for your hamster to dig and burrow in. The lid adds an extra 15cm to the depth, leaving plenty of room to hang toys or treats from the wire door. The wire bars on the lid are less than a centimetre apart, making the cage suitable for both Syrian and dwarf varieties of hamsters. Pets At Home state that this cage is indeed suitable for either dwarf hamsters or a single Syrian hamster.
The Mini Duna is extremely easy to set up for use, the complete, transparent top is easily removed by undoing two clips (which are equally easy to do back up and yet hold the top securely), and it is then simply a case of wiping the base with pet-safe disinfectant and allowing it to dry before adding a layer of wood shavings. As the base is so deep you can add a good layer of shavings which will allow your hamster to dig and forage to it's hearts content, while you're safe in the knowledge that the hamster won't be kicking shavings all over the floor. Depending on how a deep a layer you add, it takes anything between a quarter and half of one of the small packs of compressed shavings to cover the base, which gives a layer between three and six centimetres deep. What's really great about the depth of the base is that if you have a hamster who particularly loves to dig, then you can add an even deeper layer.
The supplied house may not be the largest, but it is plenty large enough for even an adult, male Syrian hamster to snuggle up in. Being made of plastic it is easy to clean and what I especially like is the way it fits securely onto the shelf by way of a little peg and hole affair. While this isn't an essential feature, it does stop the house from being pushed around by the hamster. Talking of the shelf, this adds about another third to the available space, is accessed via a ramp, has a textured non-slip surface and features a barrier to help prevent hamsters from falling off the edge. Although the plastic it is made from is a little on the thin side, the ramp has a relatively gentle slope and is ridged to give purchase and make it easier for even quite small hamsters to move between levels.
The wheel is attached to the edge of the platform and rather than have spokes and bars is in one piece which reduces the risk of injury to the hamsters feet. As with the ramp, the interior of the wheel does feature ridges, which help reduce the risk of the hamster slipping. Although a standard size, the wheel is a little too small for adult Syrian hamsters, but unlike many wheels that we've had previously, it does not squeak and is relatively quiet even when the hamster is running furiously. (I always wonder exactly where the hamsters think they are going when they're on the wheel and in they realise that they're never going to get there).
The supplied food bowl is made of plastic, which is not the most suitable for use with an animal that love to chew, but the plastic is quite thick so it will survive a while and it is big enough to hold a days worth of food for an adult Syrian. I will be replacing this bowl in the near future, but it's good enough for now, even though being red it does not match the rest of the cage. The water bottle is a standard Ferplast sippy bottle, that uses a ball valve to dispense the water while preventing leaks, but it has a special attachment to allow it to be attached to the plastic lid. The metal tube section fits through a hole in the side of the base and the actual bottle is held in place with a pair of suction cups. The bottle holds more than enough water for even the most thirsty of hamsters, does not appear to leak and is easy to remove for emptying, cleaning and refilling. Personally I would recommend buying a bottle brush (a cheap one for cleaning baby bottles is fine) for cleaning the bottle as they are best for removing any algae that may grow inside. The wire door on the lid is a really good size to allow access for spot cleaning, feeding and handling the hamster, is easy to open and secure with two latches and provides plenty of ventilation throughout the cage.
Although Spot is only a baby, he seems to love his new home and spend much of his waking hours exploring every last corner. He has no difficulty moving between levels, running on the wheel or drinking from the bottle and looks very sweet sitting in the food bowl stuffing his cheeks. I will admit that the lack of wire bars means that the cage itself provides fewer opportunities for climbing than other cages, but this is off-set by the amount of available for toys. We've added several toys to add interest to the cage, including a wooden log, play sticks, a hay ball and Tube, and there the cage does not seem in the least bit crowded. While a hamster will often chew the bars in a metal cage, Spot does not have the opportunity to do this, which makes the addition of these chewable toys even more important. Hamsters are great escape artists, and I'm sure, given the chance, that Spot is no exception. I have watched him examining the cage at great length and looking for escape routes, but so far he has been unsuccessful, with the bars being too close together and there being no surfaces he can get a purchase on to gnaw his way through.
When it comes to cleaning the cage out, the design could not make it simpler. The large top opening is perfect for taking Spot out during the cleaning process and then the whole cage can be placed in the bath for cleaning. I really like the way the base is far more rigid than that of other (wire) cages that we have used, which makes it far easier to empty the wood shavings into a black bag for disposal. I also like the fact that I can use boiling water occasionally to give the base a deep clean without it warping. The transparent lid is equally easy to clean, although I have to admit it does tend to pick up smeary fingerprints quite easily meaning that needs a daily wipe to keep it looking it's best.
One of the main reasons for buying this particular cage over a wire model, was so that Spot would be protected from both my two year old son and my five month old Westie pup. It has fulfilled these criteria perfectly, allowing my son to be able to watch Spot, while being unable to poke his finger through the bars and either hurt Spot or allow Spot to bite him. It has also protected Spot from the pup, even staying together when being knocked off the side. That's not to say that I would ever leave the pup on his own in the room with the hamster (not yet anyway), but it does give me the peace of mind that the hamster will survive if I don't intervene quite quickly enough.
If you are looking to buy a new hamster cage and have young children and/or pets such as puppies or cats then I can't recommend the Ferplast Duna Mini enough. It has a much larger floor space than similarly or higher priced wire models, is far easier to clean than modular models, comes with all the basic accessories you need, has plenty of space for toys, is enclosed to protect the hamster from little fingers and not so little teeth, provides a more stable temperature for the hamster by reducing draughts and as a bonus allows for a far deeper layer of substrate and prevents the mess that can be kicked out during digging. With all things considered, I would be quite happy to give the Ferplast Mini Duna four and a half stars out of five (rounded up to five), with my main recommendation being to buy it in-store at Pets At Home so that you also get the starter set, which makes the £25 unbelievable value for money.
Summary: A great hamster cage if you have young children, cats or puppies
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