“ Manufacturer: Rotastak / Type: Rodent & Small Pet Cages, Hutches & Runs „
I own 5 gorgeous hamsters....I simply adore them, dote on them and try to give them the very best of everything. Just recently owning 4 hamsters at the time I decided that I would breed a litter from my beautiful Maud and Trevor my Syrian hamsters. I wanted to keep the family tree kinda going and it seemed a fantastic idea at the time so I read up on it got everything I needed, mated them and 16 days later we were blessed with 11 beautiful babies. It was an exciting time but really traumatic for my girl Maud who ended up struggling big time as a single parent and although she did her best was really exhausted and struggling to feed them all. She'd be feeding them, washing them and they never left her alone even for a minute. Worried by the smaller looking and weaker babies I called a vet who advised me to intervene and help feed them and I ended up hourly feeding most of them for days. We we are exhausted including my fantastic mate Maz who lives downstairs who helped me out loads!
However sadly we ended up losing 7 of them. They died one by one and our front garden became a mini graveyard. Maud was stressed out, we were and tired too but on a positive note we did end up with 4 healthy surviving hamsters to which friends had the three healthy girls (who were stunning by the way lol!) and I kept the one remaining boy, Englebert Humphrey who is the spit of his Dad much to my delight as I adore him lol!
Because of all the troubles going on in Mauds home the cage she was in got battered and broken by us. We broke the lid and some of plastic top split but not only that I wanted after all that happened to treat her to a new, bright home. I ordered Englebert a cage and Maud and the one I went for for Maud was this Rotastak Dreamland home. Pink and with different levels I thought this was a great looking cage and at only £29.99 I thought that was a great price for a Rotastak cage which is known for quality (from Argos)!
The Cage Itself:
I absolutely hated putting this cage together. It took me and two other people actually to get this up and running and even then I went to put it on a table and the thing collapsed....robust this really isn't
It comes in a bright pink box (obviously directed at little girls) with photographs of the cage all over it and pictures of castles and things like that and we are told that it is a 'Complete home for hamsters, gerbils and mice' and contact details for Rotastak are of course given. Inside the box there is numerous pieces which again feel rather flimsy and cheap and mainly plastic which I wasn't expecting from this range at all and an instruction sheet which shows you what to do via diagrams rather than the written word which is simply really confusing!
Putting It Together:
Like I say this took three people and a pair of spectacles to get it up! Lots of room on a floor and a calm attitude (we were all losing it) was really required. It took about an hour to get this put together right because the pieces are not colour coded so you have to guess which tube fits where and they are different colours and different materials and the likes and that is not explained on the instruction leaflet at all!
What you get if the main home which is round. You get a light pink plastic base which slips on via two silver, metal clips which fasten that base on with the see through section which is quite tall and acts as a window section of the home. You have to be rather careful with these flexible clips because they can scratch the see through plastic easily Whig I did rather badly even before Maud got in. Above that the you get a section that clips in which is a purple lid with a slide to open pink plastic hatch which is wide enough to pop you hand in and get your pet out of etc however I find this to be really secure and sometimes I can't open it as I'm not strong enough which is a right nuisance! Below the lid there are shiny silver bars which are small which act as hair holes. This bit isn't hard to put together at all however its the rest!
The bright fuchsia pink see through wheel patterned with a star shape engraved into the outside and this fastens simply onto the side of the main unit via a piece of tubing. I find this to be secure however my Syrian is to big for this and can't actually use it! To the top of the unit is where tubes and other units fit to. You get a look out tower which fits into see-though tubing giving you a round plastic look out tower of a decent size though it does wobble it hasn't fell apart yet and then there is another hole to which you have to fit a variety of different coloured tubes which clasp together with a plastic rings and go into a tall bridge shape and into an oblong and tallish unit which holds a small bottle to the end of it.
The oblong unit is purple plastic with a bright fluorescent pink top section and it also has a light pink hatch to that and purple handle which acts as a carrying case should you need it. The bung there is at the bottom of the main section of the round housing and can be used to fill up the hole if taking it out from the tubing making this a handy little extra. However the bottle supplied is really tiny! It secures into place and is fitted and there is no where else to pop through a more standard sized bottle at all so poor Mauds has to be kept being refilled! It comes with a round grey bowl which takes up rather alot of living area really and thats it!
Now this looks nice enough with pink, purple and even fluorescent areas although they don't glow in the dark oddly enough. However I think this is terrible! The living area for a grown rodent is far too small, the fact the bottle is tiny is awkward too as I have to remember to fill it and I would prefer this to be nearer my pets food to which it isn't and I struggle to find room to make her a bed up and I can't put any toys in it at all. She is really enclosed and looks almost squeezed into here. The tubes although not thin exactly are a rather tight fit for my big girl and I'm not happy that if I touch it it seems to fall apart. Its a pain to take apart to clean it too as there are so many pieces and I hate the way the tubing is put together!
The tubes slot together through click into place rings but a few pieces need silver rings slotted inside of the tubing which is really hard and fiddly to do so and in fact one ring I couldn't get in for love nor money so I'm left with a spare piece and the joint where the carry case section goes in is wonky, doesn't lay flat on my table and is now tied up with some cloth to make sure Maud doesn't escape! (which has worked so far but does look tatty!)
All in all I am not pleased with this one bit. It looks ok but once again Maud needs a new cage as this is more like a starter kit that anything a grown hamster should be subjected to living in and I feel cruel not good about this purchase though I did it with the best of intentions!
This is aimed at children which doesn't seem fair to me its the pets health and well being that counts not whats visually important to some little girl. I got this because I thought it was pretty and interesting for Maud and within my budget and didn't believe it would be so small and nope this one isn't for me or Maud!
Available in all good pet shops, Argos and from online stores such as Amazon at just under £30.00.
For Christmas 2009 my five year old daughter wanted a Go Go Hamster but these were pretty hard to come by at that time and so after a lengthy discussion my husband and I decided a real hamster might be just as good.
Obviously it was a little difficult for us to buy a real hamster and keep it hidden until Christmas day so instead we bought the cage and 'Father Christmas' left a note saying that my daughter could choose her own hamster once the shops opened again after Christmas.
We chose the Rotastak Dreamland Small animal housing as my daughter is obsessed with anything pink and glittery and tacky and plastic and the Rotastak dreamland is all of those things. On the box it has a picture of a princess/fairy castle and both my husband and I agreed that this was the perfect thing to sway our daughter if she was disappointed about not getting the Go Go hamster.
Anyway, Christmas day arrived and the castle on the box and the letter from Santa had the desired effect and our daughter was thrilled with the pink hamster castle. We decided to build it up and get it ready for our new arrival to save any hassle once we had the thing home from the pet shop.
There are a lot of pieces as some of the tubes come in two parts and there are quite a few connectors and clips to keep it all together. The instructions are fairly straight forward and easy to follow and it only took about 20 minutes to put together.
The cage consists of the big round base unit/living area, a bedroom that fits to the base unit with a tube, a spinning wheel that fits to the side of the base unit, a long section of tubes to the detachable travel case, a water bottle and a feeding bowl.
It looked good once it was all constructed although it was a little bit flimsy in places and any weight on the top of the main living compartment and the whole top caved in. I also realised that the travel case was going to be pretty tricky to get back off the cage and even trickier to get back on once it had a hamster inside it.
We went to get the hamster without the travel case as you practically have to take the thing apart again to get it off and they give you a box at the pet shop anyway. Once installed in its new home the hamster seemed happy enough and had adequate space. It is recommended that these cages are used for only one pet and although fine for Syrian hamsters are not suitable for the smaller Russian variety.
The problem I had was that because the whole thing is like a little maze you rarely see the hamster unless it is feeling sociable because it has lots of places to hide. This also makes getting the damn creature back out again or attempting to handle it at all almost impossible. As soon as you manage to undo one area of the housing unit the slithery little rodent has scurried off to another area and you have to approach it from another entrance. Infuriating especially when they have teeth like razors and murderous intent.
My other issue was cleaning the whole thing out. If I eventually managed to coax the creature out I then had to practically dismantle the cage to clean it properly. This makes the whole process very stressful and time consuming and when I have four children aged 6 and under unfortunately the hamster did get a little neglected at time with just a sawdust change and not the full wash and brush up.
Then we discovered that our hamster was not just a little albino Hannibal Lectre but also admired the works of Houdini! There are two 'doors' on the Dreamland, one in the base unit and one in the travel case. Our hamster 'Princess' soon discovered that she could push the lid off the base unit fairly easily and within days of getting her we thought she was gone for good. Unfortunately or should that be fortunately our two cats aren't very partial to hamster and so the following evening she scuttled into the living only to be trapped under a shoe box and returned to her pink prison. We used sellotape to keep the lid closed and this kept her in for a few days until the kids removed the tape to give her some food and I didn't know and so she was out again. After a while the novelty of feeding the hamster wore off and it was left to me to feed her and so I taped down the door and just put the food into the travel case area. It was a few weeks before the hamster worked out how to undo the top of the travel case which has two clips that have to be released simultaneously. We weighted this down but she managed to move the weight and still get out. I have lost count of the amount of times I have had to catch the creepy little thing and return it to its house.
After 8 months we decided enough was enough as I was fed up of the battle on cleaning out days and the constant escaping so we bought a standard hamster cage. Two weeks later the thing died....I think it was spite because I had ruined all her fun.
We paid £29.99 from Pets at Home and they are about the same price in Argos but I would save your money because these things are just a pain from start to finish.