“ Rotastak / Hamster cage „
I'll start by saying that I really HATE this cage but I'll try not to be too harsh as I'm not the one living in it and the one living in it really likes it........
I eventually caved and let my son have another Syrian hamster, he did want a rat but I couldn't cope with having another pet rat die on me I was too upset the last time........they really are sweet pets and don't deserve their reputation they're friendly, clean, intelligent one of them used to go over to my daughter with food and put it in her hand- anyway I digress back to the Super Pod cage.
We looked online and although having mixed reviews settled on the Super Pod by Rotastak because it looked modern and stylish. Not too badly priced either we found the cost ranged between about £20 and £30, ours was from Farm and Pet Place at a reasonable £21, Pets At Home are selling them for £25 at the moment. This particular cage is suitable for hamsters & gerbils but not suitable for dwarf Hamsters and mice due to the bars on the cage section.
There seems to be two choices of the same design of pod, one has the extras like the wheel and tube (as the above picture) and the other hasn't, this version is slightly cheaper but the tube and wheel are worth having and the main reason we bought it. On inspection in the shop it did look small but the dimensions are about average 26 x 61 x 30cm and the wheel being external gives a bit more floor space. Comes in a nice bright colour too a green base with yellow panels and a contrasting red 'shelf'. The tube colours vary, ours was just plain white so might be worth looking in the box if you really want colourful ones (we didn't and we did).
It came in a nice big colourful box with a happy looking hamster on the front- you can't miss it, most cages aren't boxed when you buy them. On opening the box at home my heart sank, I swear there are nearly 30 parts to assemble- groan. The pieces looked like a childs plastic game and didn't seem particularly well made though in fairness once assembled the goodish quality does become apparent.
The instruction leaflet is straight forward enough it takes you through step by step using pictures. My son built the cage in about 10 minutes. The parts are many- two end panels, two floor panels, a red shelf with a tube through the middle, one plastic see through triangular shaped 'lid' and one caged 'lid' which has the opening in it- again the same triangular shape as the plastic half but a cage. The lid halves are held together with a yellow plastic band. Various clips are included to secure all the parts together. The end panels have three holes in each to attach the various accessories which consist of a water bottle (which is on the outside), a tube and a wheel. You can buy more tubes which is what we have done and are waiting for them to arrive- these cost £13.99 off Amazon and are part of the Rotastak range, it's also worth mentioning that you can buy all the parts for the cage separately if any get lost. Also included in the box are 'stoppers' to plug into the holes in the end panels when not in use, these are secure. What doesn't come with it is a bed so we had to buy one. There aren't any ladders either but it doesn't need one as the tubes suffice for going to the 'upstairs'. Once all put together it's surprisingly sturdy and secure when looking at the array of parts and bits I was concerned but needn't have been.
Once built the floor space is quite good it's not the biggest cage nor is it the smallest. It appears small though because of it's design. We've managed to add a few things to the cage, a wooden bridge thingy that clips to the bars- which it does despite the cage's triangular shape. The hamster uses this to reach the wheel as our wheel is situated in the top hole, for no other reason than to make use of the bridge and to give the hamster something to do.
All sounds very positive- good price, easy enough to assemble despite all the parts, it's well made enough, the hamster loves it, it doesn't take up much room, it's stylish and you can buy more tubes and things to extend it. It has a really good door, the best I've seen on a cage.
So why do I hate it so much?
Firstly and my most biggest gripe is the flaming wheel, it drives me potty. The hamster loves it, so much so that he's moved all his bedding and food in there which would be okay if he only slept in there.... the rattle off the food when he's running in it sounds like thunder. I've even taken to sometimes propping something under the wheel to stop him turning it, it's that bad. With it being an enclosed wheel the only access is a hole and small tube, the food etc never flings out into the cage which is what would normally happen therefore it stays put and rolls around with him. I have to keep taking the bedding out of there because when he fills it with all the bedding he can't run which he needs to do for exercise. It would be nice to remove this wheel permanently and replace it with a free standing one, but the sloped shape of the sides would mean placing a wheel in the middle of the cage and there just isn't room.
Second problem is that the enclosed wheel gets dirty, he wee's in there and it gets condensation from his breathing which wouldn't be a major hassle washing the wheel if it wasn't a pain to do so. It has to be removed thus leaving an escape hole, so can only be done when the hamster is being watched or in his ball- it's a two man job....and has to be done daily sometimes more. I could have done with an extra hole plug to place in the hole when the wheel is removed.
Third thing that really annoys me is how the side panels are attached to the base. Where it's attached is underneath the cage which allows any wet in the cage to leak out- not pleasant I couldn't understand where it was coming from until I looked under the cage and saw the gaps.
Cleaning is another pain but not too bad, we just undid it in the middle and cleaned out the two sides separately then put them back together.
The last pest is that the base isn't deep enough so sawdust goes everywhere. I have to keep the cage on newspaper because of this and the wet problem.
I wouldn't recommend buying one for the wheel problems alone. If I could get away with replacing the cage I would like a shot. I'd give it no stars if it was upto me but have have to award two just because the hamster loves it.
* Footnote- I've since had the extra tubes and the quality of them isn't very good, they fit together okay but could have done with an extra end plug. Not worth the £13.99 I paid.
I have written a few reviews about Rotastak, I have mixed feelings on their products. I currently own a Space Command which Speedy my hamster lives in quite happily. I was given the Superpod about a month ago by my brother after his hamster sadly died.
After a good clean I decided to add it on to my current cage to give Speedy more room to run around and explore.
I have checked the price of this cage online and it costs about £31. The cage consists of a wheel, some external tubing, a water bottle, a food bowl and an upper level.
The size of the cage is; (H x W x D) 26 x 61 x 30cm.
Rotastak cages are designed to simulate your hamsters natural environment and enrich your pets home/play area. They are also compatible with other cages in the Rotastak range.
As I have said in previous reviews Rotastak cages come with horrendous instructions, they are just pictures, which don't give enough of an angle to show you how to constuct the cage correctly and there are no descriptions or explainations.
The main part of this cage consists of 5 main pieces. You get a caged part which clips to the plastic see through part which then clip on to the green base, both ends are then sealed off with yellow triangular shaped pieces which are held together by a metal clip. There is the first problem, to get the yellow ends on there is a lip that connects to the main part of the cage, even if you get it on there correctly the metal clip is so flimsy that you often find the traingular pieces fall off, this isn't good if like me you have an inquisitive hamster who will push the ends off! The main part of the cage when fully constructed also doesn't feel very sturdy, it feels like it will all fall apart at any moment. I much prefer my Space Command which is one solid piece!
In the main layer is also a red shelf which creates a sort of upstairs for your hamster there is a vertical tube to get up there as well as the outer tubes which connect the two floors. The red floor doesn't fit in the main cage very well it sort of balances between the two plastic walls, as a result when Speedy climbed up there the floor collapsed! She is a Syrian Hamster and not very big so she was a little shocked!
The next problem is the bars, I layer the floor with sawdust and as hamsters like to burrow the position of the bars means that all the sawdust ended up on my front room floor!
The cage is also very small I wouldn't say it is big enough alone for anything more than a dwarf hamster!
It is also horrendous to clean when you take the end pieces off the cage has a tendency to come apart leaving smelly sawdust everywhere, I had to take it into the garden to clean.
At the end of the main cage section are some stoppers which you can remove to connect extra pieces so you can make it bigger, they sell the extra pieces online and in pets at home they are however really expensive!
I wouldn't recommend this cage at all it may look good but it is flimsy and not really fit for the purpose, I would recommend buying a normal hamster cage with bars that is sturdy and durable.