* Prices may differ from that shown
*** In The Begining ***
I used to always have hamsters but sadly my last one died about 3 years ago. This hamster was called Lara and she was spoiled rotten with Rotastak Housing including the Maze Unit.
*** Choosing The Right Home ***
I knew from the moment I'd decided on a hamster that I wanted to have Rotastak housing. It was what I'd had when I was younger and it was fun for me and the hamster!
Looking round all the rotastak available I decided to have the Jungle home (I won't go into detail on this as I will do a separate review on this). The Jungle comes complete with the maze area. This was the main thing which attracted me to the product.
All Rotastak products come well packed complete with instructions.
The maze system consists of:
1 basic house unit and base.
This is a round unit which can be used as a living area alone, providing you don't have any accessories inside. Personally I wouldn't recommend this as the basic unit is quite small. This unit is made of a think strong plastic; it has some small bars round the top - which my hamster has taken to chewing in the middle of the night and waking me up with! The roof of this system is also thick plastic. The roof has a removable section so you can get to your hamster. It also has two other smaller removable lids which are removed if you want to connect any units or accessories on top of the unit. The unit comes with a removable base which simply fits into place underneath the main unit and is held securely in position with the supplied safety clips.
1 maze insert.
The maze is a separate piece, which can be placed in the basic unit to create a fun and adventurous environment for your little hammie. The maze is made of a thick touch plastic which I would expect to withstand a fair bit of gnawing! The maze unit I have is green, however if you buy them separately they are a kind of see though grey.
2 standard tubes.
The standard tubes are made of plastic and are approximately 3ins long and connect together very easily. The tubes are used to connect the different rotastak units together.
2 anti gnaw rings.
The anti gnaw rings are round pieces of metal which fit onto the ends of the tubes to prevent the hamster gnawing through the plastic and possibly injuring itself.
2 safety clips.
These have to be one of the most practical but at the same time quite fiddly and annoying things in this set. The safety clips are small silver clips, they are sort of a "G" shape and they hold the base of the main unit to the main unit itself. The only problem is they can be quite awarkward to fit.
*** Getting Home and Setting Up ***
On arrival home I quickly set the whole system up according to the instructions provided. However I found the maze was tricky to set up as the connecting tubes had to go where the holes are - obviously! So I had to position the maze insert very carefully to make sure I didn't move the pipes.
Now as I said previously the base to all this is separate. This is where it got really stupid as I had to line up 3 different holes so the hamster could get through easily and the main thing...So the whole unit wouldn't fall apart!
After a lot of messing and re-positioning I managed to get it all together and all that was left to do was fix the safety clips on and put my hamster inside. Sounds simple... Yeah right!
To put the safety clips on you need to be able to access underneath the base as these clip on underneath and catch onto a small ridge on the bottom of the unit. This would be simple if you have no other units underneath. However I have the jungle base underneath and pipes connecting the two, so yet again I was left to battle with the pipes and maze as they all moved when I lifted the unit to insert the clips.
* If you are thinking of buying this unit I would recommend you have it at the bottom of your stack unless you have a lot of patience or know what you are doing!
It's Finally Complete!
Finally after about an hour of trying to put the maze together it is complete and its time to put the hamster inside.
As this was a new baby hamster I put it in the main living area first rather than the maze, however she soon found her way up to the maze and started her adventures!
For the first few weeks this was great and I enjoyed watching the hamster now known as Lara (after Lara Croft) running through the maze and finding the treats I left hidden around the maze. I gradually became an expert on all the fiddly bits of putting the whole maze unit back together after cleaning out, when I started to notice that Lara was having difficulty getting through the maze when she had stuffed her cheek pouches full of food. She could manage fine when they were empty but she had problems with them full. So as soon as I had finally mastered building the maze, I had to remove the maze insert completely as I didn't want to risk her getting stuck when I wasn't there!
This might be a one off situation which involves me having a giant hamster, but she is only a standard Syrian hamster.
*** Overall ***
Overall I would say if you have the patience to put the maze together and you don't mind the risk of having to eventually remove it when your hamster grows then do buy the maze. It is great fun to watch and the hamster does seem to enjoy it while the fun lasts! However like all rotastak they are quite expensive for the "piece of plastic" you get!
Rotastak can be used for other small animals such and Russian/dwarf hamsters and mice. If you have these animals then he maze would be fine for them as they do not grow as big as Syrian hamsters. (the pipes need special ladders if you have mice)
As I said previously Rotastak can be quite expensive considering what you are getting for your money! The maze I got came as part of the Jungle set but you can also buy it separately as part of a basic unit or just the maze insert on its own.
The prices of these are usually around:
The Jungle set including maze £49.99
The Basic unit and maze combined £19.99
The maze insert alone £9.99
The basic unit alone £12.99
These prices are just a guide as they can vary by quite a lot depending on where about you shop!
Hope you've enjoyed reading and if you do buy a maze I hope you and your little pet have loads of fun!