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I have always loved hamsters and have had a few in the past. My lat hamster died rather suddenly at the age of 4 and I was heartbroken I decided not to buy another as it was quite sad when they died. I soon changed my mind whilst shopping in Tesco one day. I love pink, I am always buying useless pink things and when I saw the pink hamster starter home sitting on the shelf I had to have it hamster or not. Thing is a hamster cage really is no use without a furry little friend to sit in it so in April I bought Princess...well what else could you call a hamster living in her very own pink palace? I specified to the pet shop that a female hamster was required and I do hope that with a name like princess and a pink home she is female! THE PACKAGING -------------------------- The box was colourful with cartoon hamsters around the four sides. There were pictures of the starter home from different angles so it was easy to see hwat the cage would look like. My sister once had a Rotastak cage and I knew roughly what to expect. Like a child unwrapping presents at Christmas time the box didn't stay box shaped for long and was soon scattered all over my living room floor. With the many parts scattered everywhere, I decided to attempt to build it... THE INSTRUCTIONS AND CONSTRUCTION ------------------------------------------------------------- There were instructions provided but I was so eager to get princess settled into her home I failed to read them, and this obviously resulted in a collection of cage parts piled high in no particular order. I definitely needed some help with this cage and the instructions were unfolded and placed in front of me ready to go. The main unit of the cage a cylindrical tank was paced on the floor in front of me. Clipped the base to the bottom and inserted the tube leading to loft bedroom in the lid. The pink wheel was already attached and soon the pink pile of parts started to look like a cage (believe it or not!). I carried on inserting tubes and stoppers (the necessary parts required to stop hamsters escaping) until the cage looked like a proper little home for Princess. I stood back and admired the work of art and was amazed how roomy it seemed. I put Princess into her cage and she was soon digging around and investigating her new home. The construction did not end there however as I received a sheet of stickers with the cage and decided to decorate the parts of her home. I stuck her name across the side and put pictures of cartoon hamsters around the bed. There is also a water bottle and food bowl so there is no need to buy any items separately and cage will act as an ideal 'starter' home for your furry friend for a while. CLEANING ----------------- Yes hamsters can become smelly, they do tend to poop and wee and the cage soon needs cleaning. The construction wasn't so bad so I thought cleaning would be a doddle how wrong was I??? The tubes were easily inserted but pulling apart was a nightmare. I soon managed to scatter sawdust all over my kitchen floor. The pesky little madam had weed in the corner of her carry case and I had to use a cotton bud to reach the stains. The first cleaning session lasted over an hour and the poor little thing had fallen asleep in her ball from boredom. I soon learned to clean the cage weekly by changing the sawdust and giving it a quick rinse and then a monthly clean to blitz the tubes and compartments. COMFORT --------------- I soon learned why it was called a starter home... Princess started to grow rather large and could lift the lid off of one of the compartments. I woke up one morning to find that the wannabe-Houdini had escaped and the cage was dismantled. Princess had outgrown her palace but fear not I could add parts to her existing cage and create a mega cage. I shopped on Ebay for Rotastak parts and h now has a much bigger home. I would say that most of all this is the best part about the pink palace starter home and Rotastak in general. When you get bored of the cage you can add bits and take other parts away. Princess now has a huge home with tubes to investigate. She is very happy with her new home and it looks great on the shelf in my study. PRICE --------- The starter home is not cheap, but it is inline with other cages from the Rotastak range. The starter home cost me £15.99 from Tesco but this price can vary dramatically I have seen the cage in some places for £29.99 so do shop around for the best price.