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My hamster came into our lives a year ago when I spotted him peering sadly from an adoption centre and I decided that it was time he had a place to call home.
Not really being a rodent person prior to this, and not feeling comfortable with keeping a creature in a small metal'square' I bought the biggest selection of tubes, twists and compartments I could find wrapped up in one cage which turned out to be the Rotastak system.
My hamster, being a sociable little fella after all those weeks trying to attract the attention of any passer-by, still comes to the front, where there are little metal grids for him to poke his nose through for tit-bits of seeds, but as well as that he has all that room to run and play.
He also has an exercise ball (but that's another story) but if we miss a day exercising in that, I don't feel guilty about him being too confined in the Rotastak.
Thankfully, my partner is willing to clean out the cage because I think I would lose patience with all those tubes to clean and dry but it would still be worth it for the freedom of movement it gives my hamster. It's also quite good fun when the hamster is newly cleaned out to see what he has done with 'redecorating' the next morning. He often changes things round and varies his living space, moving his bedding from area to area.
There are various lift up lids where you can get to your hamster and again, while this might prove difficult until he gets to know you, it's worth a few minutes of frustration for the facility it gives the hamster the rest of the time.
I bought my cage a while ago for £30.99 I bought mine on line. My last hamster did not live long, he became ill and I found it really difficult to catch him in this cage. He stopped eating and would run when I tried to pass him food or water. The cage was just 'awkward' especially for a sick little hamster.
I felt claustrophobic just looking at the hamster through the plastic - I am sure this type of cage is unhealthy for hamsters. I felt so sorry for the hamster that I bought him a new cage - the type with bars, unfortunately he didn't live much longer in his new cage. It was much easier to stroke him and pass food and water to him in his new cage - I just wish I would have got the type with bars in the first place instead of the plastic thing!
Although at first the Rotastak cage looks big - lots of different areas for your hamster to explore, realistically it isn't really that big because in my honest opinion, each area is far too small & pokey for the hamster.
The Rotastak cage took ages to put together as it just didn't seem safe so I had to re-do it over and over again until I was satisfied! Also cleaning this cage was a nightmare - took for ever!
Would not use this cage again it has been put away ready to be re-cycled as I wouldn't even give it away for the simple reason I think it is cruel to keep any animal in this plastic container!
Rotastak Hamster homeThis product is rubbish would not recommend. impossible to clean out, the hamsters store food and go to the toilet in the hardest places to clean, the water bottels leak making the cage stink. You need a degree to put the thing together and it falls to bits at the slightest movement. Other hamster owners that I have spoken to who have had a rotastak have swaped to a more stranded cage because of the problems mentioned. I would strongle recommend Not to get the Rotastak hamster cage it really is Rubbish. I owned it for a month then bought a more simple cage that was far better.
I used to have a rotastak cage for my old hamster , Harry. I had no knowledge on hamsters and just presumed what pets at home told me was correct. I noyl realised the problems with this cage once Harry had died. I just couldnt excpet that he died naturally and started to blame myself so i looked to the internet to find an answer and that is when i came across animal care at its best. I realised that this cage should never be used ofr hamsters and ill explain why.
First of all the ventalation is poor , yes hamsters live in burrows in the wi;d. But they have cold wind blowing through making the tempratures perfect , however this cage gets heated very quickly and im certain this is what killed harry. This kind of heat is dangerous for a hamster so being subjected to it constantly must be stressfull.
Secondly the wheel is far to small for a syrian and if a bigger wheel & and cage _ isnt provivded then the syrians back will bend in a unatural way , causing back pain and problems. But why does the hamster still use it ? because the chemicals produced in the brain cause addiction.
Thirdly the tubes are way to small for a syrian , causing them to struggle through them. Thus can seriously impact health and hamstyers will often get stuck.
This cage is just to small , i would recommend a cage if no less than 100x60 Cm to furfill a hamsters natural needs , i would never recommend a commercial cage , i would use a big tank which is cheaper than this plastic excuse of a cage.
When a hamster fully stands up it only just has space to accomdate them , Their is no room to jump and climb like hamsters do. Hamsters will chew at the plastic and hamsters wull get bored to easy.
Escpaing is also another worry , many a time hamsters have forced the water bottle out the way and got out of the cage and never been seen again , this is all to common and seems to go unnoticed by rotastak.
Lastly is cost , to get a average size space you need to spend big , when instead you could get a Ikea detolf cage for about £40. Overall its a big waste of money and i would recommend getting a tank like cage.
The only good point i can think of is the fact that very young syrians can mimic their natural habitat with tubes.
I have been looking for a new cage for my Syrian hamster, Noodle, as she had been living in a more traditional barred cage and spent most of her time gnawing on the bars. This was not only very annoying for me (I live in a shared flat and so Noodle shares my room and would wake me up most nights), it could also lead to damaged teeth for her.
I decided the best thing to do would be to change to a plastic cage, where she could not make so much noise or do herself any damage. I was drawn immediately to Rotastak cages due to the possibility for expansion, if you're one for spoiling your pets, this is a great option.
I settled on the Space Command model as it looked to be one of the more intricate cages and although this does mean that unfortunately it takes a fair while to clean it IS more fun for the hamster. It features four compartments (a large main section, a first floor with wheel, a second floor 'lookout' and a carry case which can be used to house the hamster while cleaning) and there is a large S shaped tube around the outside, and a number of inner tubes to connect the compartments. Hamsters love these tubes as they simulate the tunnels they build in the wild.
My first stop in looking to buy the cage was Pets at Home, however I found that they were selling this particular model for £49 and I managed to find it £20 cheaper online, so wouldn't recommend going with the first price you see.
When the cage arrived at my house around three days after I ordered it from Pet Planet, I was left alone to put it up. This is my main complaint with the cage, the instructions are atrocious. It took me over three hours to assemble. Some of the sections become quite hard to access once they have been put together and if you forget say, an anti-gnaw ring on the first floor then they lookout tower and S tube both have to be removed before you can get access to it. However, once I had gotten used to how all the parts should go together, taking it apart and putting it back together after cleaning did not take nearly so much time.
I would suggest that someone with quite nimble fingers be enlisted to help put this cage together as some of the parts (the tubes) can be a little fiddly
I have heard extremely devoted hamster lovers claim that the lack of corners in the Space Command cage is something that hamsters will miss (though mine certainly does not seem to, and she came from a regular rectangular shaped cage before) and that it can be poorly ventilated (once more I do not agree, there are air holes throughout the tubes and the tops of all compartments are fitted with generous slits). Another drawback I have read on forums would be that some believe it to be too small for a Syrian and the vertical tubes too difficult for dwarfs. My Syrian is rather tubby and manages all the tubes quite easily (the tightest part) and I believe 'mouse ladders' can be purchased separately to make vertical tubes easier for smaller critters.
Unlike other cages I have had the wheel runs surprisingly quietly, although my hamster has developed an annoying habit of trying to store food in there and then run across it so it clatters noisily in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, when she does run with food in there smaller pieces of seeds and such can slip through the ventilation holes and get scattered around.
It comes with two food bowls, a large-ish one for the main, lower compartment where I feed noodle all her dry food and an accesible draw in the 'lookout' where I choose to slide in her treats (as this draw is quite small). The only drawback on feeding I have noticed is that the water bottle is quite small.
Overall, I would reccommend this cage, there are a few flaws that some may get frustrated by, but my hamster seems to really enjoy it far more than her old coop. And being able to see what she's doing inside makes it fascinating to watch her potter about having fun.
As a reward for studying hard, Daughter wanted a hamster: she'd been hoping to have another pet to add to our menagerie for ages, so it seemed like a good time. Unbearably cute hamster (Gem) acquired, we had to choose a suitable cage...
It's not like when I was a kid and hamster homes were simple box cages, oh no, the range of styles available is startling.
Obviously Daughter had a major say in the cage we chose for Gem, and she was inexorably drawn to the Rotastak Mission Pod cage. We bought it for about £40 (I know!) at a local garden centre. It is also available for about a fiver more at Pets At Home, (which cheered me up). Less cheerily for me, you can pick it up online for under £30. Ah well...
*** The Look ***
The Mission Pod cage is in strong colours, reflecting its futuristic theme: an almost neon green and dark blue predominately, with silver and red interspersed. (Picture here: http://www.pet-points.com/images/21840%20Mission%20Pod%20Unit.jpg)
It has a prism-shaped central area, with two tubes arching over it. These are linked together by a shorter third tube and the junctions are like two bulbous pods. The central area has a platform on one half to make two levels, which leads to the enclosed wheel section. Much of the cage is made of clear, if coloured, plastic which allows you to see your hamster doing its thing. One section has wire bars and the door. The Mission Pod has three unused portholes to which you can add more Rotastak tubes and extension sets if you're so inclined.
It looks fantastic on the box, very space-age and exciting. It comes with two mini-water bottles and a food dish.
*** The Size ***
The assembled size of the Mission Pod as given on the side of the box is:
Height - 46cm/18"
Width - 51cm/20"
Depth - 63cm/25"
Daughter keeps the cage on a small table in her room, although it would fit comfortably on her chest of drawers. I'm reluctant to do that, however, as the cage does allow the hamster to kick out sawdust and I have visions of piles of the stuff festering behind there. I have no desire to pull out the furniture to hoover more often than I currently do!
The cage gives our Syrian hamster plenty of room, interest and exercise. It's good fun to watch the little beast hurtling through the tubing and using the wheel. What it does lack is digging space, as the tray in the main living space is quite shallow so you can't add much sawdust.
*** Suitable for? ***
Hamsters, gerbils and mice: but not for dwarf breeds or baby mice. It isn't suitable if you intend to breed, either.
*** Putting it together ***
Oh my giddy aunt! When we opened the box there were fifteen million pieces! ... Or it seemed that way.
There are lots of little bits, all of which are vital. You don't need any tools as the pieces press together, however, you do need bucket-loads of patience. A desire to appear on the Krypton Factor would be a good character trait for this task.
Fortunately the Other Half is very practical and set to work - with a sigh. The instruction sheet was reasonably clear, although it did catch us out when it came to the wheel, one of the last pieces of the puzzle. You have to put its tube through the main wall and then add the anti-gnaw ring. We had to pry off the anti-gnaw ring, which wasn't easy, and start again. Not from the beginning, thankfully, but it was quite frustrating! On very close examination, the diagram did show this, but obscurely.
One of the hardest parts of putting the Mission Pod together was joining the plastic parts of the main area to the more traditional metal cage section. It took quite a bit of doing, to get them together securely. I suppose this is a good thing, in that the fit is pretty tight now.
Some of the bits seem less secure, particularly where the two long tubes join the main cage, and I'm pretty sure I'll be getting the gaffa tape out for peace of mind.
It warns on the box to keep the cage out of the way of other pets, and I'd definitely not leave the cats in the same room unattended. They absolutely adore watching the hamster, but there's murder on their minds! I have no doubt that they'd knock a tube free if left to their own devices. They used to have access to every room in the house, but now are exiled from Daughter's room. They look most offended and lurk outside her door, trying to sneak in.
It took us (well, mostly the Other Half) a good hour to put this cage together. I think that was pretty good going and on my own I'd have probably ended up having a tantrum!
*** Cleaning ***
Another point against this cage relates to how easy it is to clean. Obviously I don't want to dis-assemble the thing after the length of time it took to put it together, and also I worry that if I did it would weaken the connections. This means it's quite an awkward job, getting at the bedding etc through the main door.
My bright idea is to encourage the hamster to use its toilet (a jam-jar with soiled sawdust in it) to make it easier to keep clean and just pick out old food regularly. Handily little Gem is using one of the bulbs to store her food at the moment, so its just a matter of popping off the porthole door and half-inching it.
*** Conclusion ***
What I like about the cage is its look, and the activity it offers the hamster with its climbing tubes, wheel and different areas. I also like that you can add new sections, and can imagine we'll end up treating Gem to extra pieces if she continues to be the apple of Daughter's eye.
What I don't like, or find a bit worrying, is how secure it is, how fiddly it was to put together and the other practical issue of cleaning it out.
I think I would recommend it to someone, but only if they're fond of jigsaws and don't have cats!
We bought a Rotastak Space Command cage last year for my daughter and used it for six months. At around £30 it was quite pricey for a hamster cage and despite my reservations we bought it. It now sits unused at the bottom of the garden.
There were a number of features that I disliked about it- apart from the price!
Firstly, it is quite bulky. Because of the large tube connecting different levels, the cage takes up much more room that the animals actually is able to use. The large tube/connecting tunnel is also difficult to fit. Each segment can twist, and it can take some time trying to find a conformation so each end of the tube can fit securely. The segments are also difficult to take apart and clean, which we had to very often as our hamster decided the tube was his favourite place to urinate!! This caused further problems are the sections of the tube are punctured by small holes to facilitate ventilation, and urine to drip out! Your hamster however may have more civilized habits than mine!!
The feeding drawer is very small, and will hold less than our hamster would eat in a day.
Although the set up looks interesting and is probably a more interesting environment than a traditional wire cage it is very difficult to interact with the hamster as the sides of the cage are solid perspex, so rules out hand feeding tidbits through a wire mesh and there is nowhere to hang up seed treats bough from a pet shop. It is also very difficult to catch the hamster without dismantling most of the set up. These two things are likely to lead to the hamster having much less interaction with a human owner. The plastic rings inside the cage including the water bottle fittings are very prone to nibble damage, and even with six month use we had to replace several times.
My last point is that I don't fee the cage is very secure. There are numerous - six or so exit points which I was checking constantly as our hamster escaped twice.
The wheel worked well, and the set up comes with a nice carry cage which is useful when cleaning out the main cage.
not something I would buy again.
When I was about eleven years old I got my first real pet - a hamster called Hamish. Hamish was the result of many years' of haggling and begging for my own little creature, and when I brought him home from the pet shop I was elated. My parents had made sure we were well prepared for the rodent's homecoming, and we had purchased a three tier cage in anticipation.
I think we decided on a Rotostak cage because it stood out amongst the other cages as a high quality brand that offered a variety of levels and spaces for the hamster to reside in. I chose a three storey cage that was comprised of a larger lower level, a medium middle level and a small upper level. The levels are fashioned from durable plastic that have transparent sides, a slim wire bar area towards the top that the hamster receive fresh air through, and semi-transparent tunnels through which it can access the other levels.
In the lower and middle levels I set a layer of sawdust, and in the bottom level I also laid out a handful of bedding for Hamish. The transparent sides of the cage allows you to watch the hamster's movements, and I did so with fascination. Hamish decided to use the larger lower level as his toilet, and in this respect the sawdust came in very handy. He did, however, decide to use the middle level as his bedroom, so spent a good hour transporting the bedding in his cheek pouches from the lower level to the middle one. This was very entertaining to observe, and the design of the Rotostak was such that viewing my little friend's movements was unimpeded. He used the smaller top level as a viewing tower, and there was an unfortunate incident when my father, already wary of the little beast, unscrewed the attic to deliver some food when Hamish was busy in his bathroom, only to find that upon hearing the upper level opening the hamster zipped upwards to administer a nip to dad, only to zip back down again to finish his business. Dad was not best pleased, but I was highly amused by Hamish's cheek.
When it came to cleaning out Hamish's cage, I found I could unscrew the various levels with a simple twisting action, scoop him up and place him in his exercise ball as I began the cleaning process. Unfortunately, the simplicity of the action also meant that Hamish found his way out from time to time, and even though I was vigilant when it came to replacing the various tiers he was on several occasions able to discover an escape route. I am not sure quite how this occurred, but I can only assume the levels were not properly secured into position, or else the screwing mechanism was not adequate in terms of confining my rodent friend.
There are many different Rotostak designs available, and it is possible to modify your cage to include new areas and create a veritable maze for hamsters and other small rodents. I owned my Rotostack three-tier cage for around five years, and eventually modified it to include a tunnel leading to a larger square cage. The stack was not perfect, but it was easy to clean, and designed so that I could enjoy many hours' viewing Hamish's activities. Rotostack deliver high quality cages and offer a wide range of designed. Recommended.
I have got 2 different rotastack cages and they were both very expensive. It cost over £100 just for them!
I love watching my hamster having fun tho. Iv had him for a couple of years now so he's getting fairly old and slow.
The massive problem which would put any buyer off is it's really hard to put together. This means i cant clean my hamster out as often as i'd like to. The cage also seems to be very delicate, if i'm trying to connect the tubes to another part of the cage they usually split open and i have to do it all again. It can be a total waste of time.
The 2 cages i have got are rotastack dreamland and rotastack magic maze. Now i've had an experiance with them both together i would say NEVER combine them!
After reading all your reviews I am now scared that my hamster will escape! He never has before though and i've had him for a couple of years as i have already said. I'm sure he won't but i'll keep checking on him because it's better to be safe than sorry!
We have owned two rotastak cages and i can safely say we will never buy another. They are too flimsy and come apart too easily. In the 6mths we had our last hamster she got out 5 times, a different way every time, despite the fact the we became so paraniod that we checked the cage dozens of times a day. We have not seen her since the tubes cracked open 3months ago leaving our daughter distraught. I will not even put the cages on ebay, i dont want another child to suffer as she has. Please, do not bother buying a rotastak.
I had a large one of these when i just had a couple of hamsters, and my small Syrian thought the tubes were great, I used it as a play cage like a play box at that point he would run round all the tubes like a mad thing! once I used it as a permanent cage i found some flaws in the design, the tubes can be pushed open easy if they get filled with bedding then the hamster can escape, they also get chewed up because the plastic is very soft for such sharp teeth. Hamsters also like to use the tubes of wheels are toilet areas which means they need cleaning regularly, this is awkward because you have to take the cage completely to bits to clean it, i found using a shower over the bath worked best, then you have to re build it again its really not worth the effort. the cages look interesting and attractive but they aren't practical most Syrians are too big and get wedged in tubes, most dwarfs don't have the grip to climb the tubes so its no good for them and if you had a group they would be territorial over the different pods. I also found that the air circulation isn't good the pods get damp with condencation a single Chinese hamster is the best resident for one of these everything is about the right size for them although they are most likely to wee in the tubes. It is usable but I wouldn't recommend rotastack for use with hamster defiantly not when you have more than one!
I have recently bought two new dwarf hamsters and firstly I bought the Rotastak Fairground Fun cage. I've never had hamsters before so I didn't really know what cage would be suitable for them, but this one looked fun and had a lot of good reviews.
Once I received it, I must admit I was very excited! I started to put it together and I have to say it was extremely hard. The main parts are easy to assemble but the tubes.....they're impossible! I had it all put together when I realised that they'd forgot to put my food bowl and water bottle in! I was very disappointed! I already had the hamsters so I didn't have time to order a new bottle and i was frustrated with the tubes so I gave up and went to buy them a new one.
This time I bought them the Rotastak space command cage. Again, the tubes were quite hard to put together but with help I got there in the end! Thank god no pieces were missing this time!
They're very good for active hamsters as most of them have tubes but i have noticed that the wheel is quite stiff, therefore the hamsters don't use it, but you can easily purchase different wheels that fit on Rotastak cages.
That's another good thing about them. You can change them for your hamsters liking as any Rotastak pieces fits onto them!
I would recommend them to people with a lot of patience as they can take a while to put together.
I think i'd rate them 4/5 as once their put together, their fantastic!
When I first saw this product in it's shiny box on the shelf in the pet store, I thought I'd ask a bit more about it cos it looked pretty funky! I was enquiring about the Pink Starter home, as I couldnt really afford anything other than that.
The Pink starter home consists of a main room, with a built in exercise wheel, an attic room and another room with a built in water bottle and a handle on the top so you can take your pet to the vets if you need to. I thought that was quite handy, and the fact that there were 3 detachable rooms made me think it would be a good investment. You can also buy extra rooms and tubes and attach them.
So, I purchased the Pink starter home and took it home. It was relatively easy to put together, though I did catch my fingers a couple of times on the outer metal rings and the clips. If you are buying this for a child I recommend you have an adult supervise them, or even better, dont let a child build it at all. Do it for them.
The first thing I noticed was how small it was compared to how it looked on the box. Ok, so my hamster is pretty fat, but 3 seperate rooms should be enough for her, right? Wrong. I quickly realised that she had even less space in the starter home than she did in the standard cage I had her in originally. So, back to the shops I went and bought a Burrow Basement, which can be attached to any rotastak home. I put the basement below the main room (as it couldnt go anywhere else). Unfortunately, now the room with the handle and the waterbottle is suspended in mid air because that can only attach to the side of the main room.
So immediately there is a problem with the fact that you can add bits and pieces to the starter home. You need to think really carfully before you buy extra parts, as they might not attach to where you want them to be. I've had to put a pile of books underneath the room with the handle.
Ok, so now that I've got the extra room, it seems to be big enough for my wee fatty furball. It's still looking a bit small though. The problem is, buying extra parts is costly, because it's ROTASTAK. The pink starter home itself cost me just over £30, and then the Burrow Basement cost me an extra £20. For all of that, I could have bought one of the bigger Rotastak products for cheaper.
I wont just keep listing all the disappointments though. The great thing about Rotastak is that (if you have the money) you can expand the homes and build them to your own design. The Pink starter home also comes with stickers so kids can decorate the rooms. It's handy to have the portable compartment for taking your rodent to the vets, too. It's about time someone made a hamster carrier.
Unfortunately though, that short paragraph is all I have to say thats good about my Rotastak home. I think next time i'll just build a house myself.
O.k... We've had the Rotastak "Mission Pod" for a week now.. along with our little furry friend. - Neither of them are new to me.. having had two hamsters when I was younger.. and a rotastak cage along with them.
I have to say.. this NEW rotastak cage is a lot more pleasing to the eye... and the neon yellow space theme I will admit brought out the boy in me whilst shopping. (Rotastak have come along way since I last had one of their cages) - Putting it together was only a slight pain.. but wasn't half the trouble some of these other reviews seem to state.
Cost: Expensive in comparison to some of the more basic cages perhaps... that being said.. Pets at home had a deal on (£35).. and we got the woodshavings/food/cleaning spray for free.. so I consider it well worth the expense in the long run.
The cleaning isn't so bad.. I've had a rabbit hutch in the past that was much simpler in design, easier to access but still took far longer to clean out.
I think this cage is great fun for the hamster with it's array of tubes.. and fun for me to watch him running around in those tubes. - Of course.. nothings perfect.. and I do have a few gripes..
1) It's a new hamster.. that means building a relationship with it and physical contact is required to do so. The Mission Pod has one smallish doorway on the side.. and this cage doesn't have a lid you can just 'pop off' - it's a case of taking the thing apart for that.. which is a no-go. I seem to be making progress by basically trying to bribe the hamster out of the doorway with nibbles... but at this early stage.. scooping him up and out.. is nigh on impossible and i've so far only got him leaning out of the door.. not stepping out. (I have high hopes for this.. but it's slow progress lol)
2) The wheel. What can i say... it doesn't squeek like the old free standing one that used to keep me awake when I was a lad.. however.. this one seems to be that stiff... that the hamster simply goes in.. wonders what the small space is all about.. and walks back out due to lack of movement. I'm thinking there may be a way to loosen it but have yet to work out how.
In conclusion.. i'm 'slightly' regretting my purchase... not because the cage is rubbish.. (far from it) - but purely because it restricts my ability to tame my pet. - At this moment.. i'm going to stick with it though... and hope that perseverance will see me through in the end.
As to the wheel.. that is work in progress.. and if I can't adjust the axel this weekend.. i'm going to try taking it off and spinning it for a while as i'm watching the telly or something to try and wear it in a bit.
The Rotastak cage isnt as bad as some people think. The bad points are that it is really expensive and for a 13yr old - like me- paying for one can get ex-ensive. Also, it is quite hard to put together and having big hands makes it even more problematic ( this also makes it difficult to clean). BUT for my hamster,flapjack , it was the best. He managed to eat his way out of three bar cages! THREEE! But with the rotastak, he was fine and he had it for the last 2 years of his life. Children will also love this cage as it has wonderful accesories + many tunnels for them to watch thier furry friend run around and explore its home.
I think this is a great cage for children and if you want a cage that keeps its critter IN it- then i suggest rotastak!