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Cost Breakdown

Critter Nation

Note: Cages are often on sale, so do some hunting before the sticker shock overwhelms you!

2017 Copyright. California Hamster Association. All rights reserved.

California Hamster Association

Triple level

Cage: $210 for double + $140 for add-on

Cage pan: $46 each + $50 shipping ($196)

Extra shelf: $14 each ($42 total)

Extra Ramp: $7 each ($21 total)

Ramp Covers: $8 for 3-pack


Total: $567 ($189 per cage)


Double level

Cage: $210

Cage pan: $46 each + $40 shipping ($132)

Extra shelf: $14 each ($28 total)

Extra Ramp: $7 each ($14 total)

Ramp Covers: $8 for 3-pack


Total: $392 ($196 per cage if separated for multiple hamsters)


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https://www.pinterest.com/pin/131659989083368316/

Cons

  • Start-up cost
  • Space requirement: you need space to keep it 63" tall x 36" long x 24" wide (for double)
  • Can be a little messy because of the bars

Single level

Cage: $122

Cage pan: $46+$25 shipping

Extra shelf: $14

Extra Ramp: $7

Ramp Covers: $8 for 3-pack


Total: $222


Critter Nation Questions

You can purchase many of these items at other sites, but we have optimized lists for lowest cost. You may be able to omit certain items, or at least bring down the cost per cage by choosing a double or triple level to save on shipping costs. All links are listed below.

http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/105-cages/49810-critter-nation-coroplast-cage.html

Is this cage really worth the price?

 

In our opinion, absolutely! However, we plan on keeping hamsters for many, many years to come. If you are a new owner or don't foresee having rodents for a long time, this cage may not be for you. Keep in mind that the Critter Nation is made of extremely durable coated steel and will last a lifetime. So, even if you take a break from hamsters, it can be disassembled and stored for later hamsters or used for other rodents later on (rats and chinchillas in particular love this cage!)

In short, you are essentially paying a high price up front, but will never have to buy another cage for the rest of your life.

 

Is there anything in your list I don't have to buy?

 

Yup! Our list above is optimized for foolproof safety, but experienced hamster owners may be able to get by without a spare shelf and ramp. Instead, hammocks and other platforms should be used to prevent falls. We have tons of links and photos of ideas if you're interested in going that way. Just contact us!

 

What are these pans you're talking about? Why are they so expensive?

 

The pans that come with the cage are pretty much flat and won't hold bedding. In order to hold bedding, you must purchase some type of pan. Bass Equipment Company makes 3" stainless steel pans that are specifically designed for this cage and fit in perfectly. This is another issue of high start-up cost, but something that will last forever: stainless steel won't rust, stain, or break down with use.

The same company also makes galavanized steel pans that are cheaper, but the galvanized coating will break down with urine. Then, they will rust--so they will need to be replaced eventually. Keep in mind that the shipping is based on size and weight, so the shipping costs will be the same regardless of the pan you choose. To save some money, you could choose the 2.5" tall option, but it will cut down on the amount of nesting your hamster can do and create more mess on your carpet as they push bedding out.

 

Are there any less expensive alternatives to these pans?

 

There are! One option is to purchase a large cement mixing tray from Home Depot (link below). It happens to fit in this cage rather perfectly. The major issue is that it is 8 inches tall--great for holding bedding, but it does block out a lot of light and can make it difficult to see your hamster unless you are looking from above. It also looks a little clunky in the cage, but the price savings might make that worth it to you as they are just $13 a piece.

The tray has slanted sides so the base is smaller than the top, which cuts down a little on cage space. I have heard of rats managing to squeeze themselves between the bars and the pan on the sides somehow, but it has been expressed as more of an annoyance than a danger. Still, that is something to keep in mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another option is to make your own pan out of coroplast. Coroplast is corrugated plastic used in sign making, and it has become a popular material for C&C guinea pig cages. You can purchase 8 foot by 5 foot sheets for about $100 from sign shops (such as FastSigns), which is enough material for three 3" pans. Coroplast also comes in a ton of bright and fun colours! The plastic is easily cut with a craft knife or soldering iron.

The only drawback is that it may be chewed. Never having used it amongst the three of us, we can't say how well it will hold up over time.













Where do I get all the stuff you've mentioned?

Single Story
Double story 
Add-on

Ramp--choose "interior ramp"

Ramp covers

Pans--The navigation on this site is a little odd. Follow this link, then critter cage pans > ferret nation pan > customize and buy

Cement Mixing Tray

Pros

  • Amazon Prime eligible and occasionally on sale!
  • Offers the most cage space--816 square inches per floor
  • Plenty of room for ALL the toys your hamsters deserve
  • Able to easily hang hammocks, platforms, and toys
  • The pans and trays pulls out for easy cleaning
  • Extremely durable
  • Easy access to your hamster
  • Able to house one hamster in each section if needed​
  • Easily extended! You can do a double, triple, or a extra wide version if desired
  • Often listed on Craigslist and other sales sites (check those first!)
  • Needs to be cleaned less often than other cages


If you plan on having hamsters (or small rodents in general) for a long time, a critter nation is worth the investment. While the initial start-up cost to get a critter nation safe and modified for hamsters is high, no additional expenses should come up for virtually as long as you choose to keep animals. The cage space it provides is unrivaled and it looks the most sleek and professional compared to other options.