Housing

Cost: Includes not only price for basic unit but also expected costs for expansion, costs incurred in obtaining items of limited availability (i.e. long drives or shipping), maintenance costs (replacement of easily broken or damaged parts), and how likely the item is obtainable second hand.

Safety: This is a measure of how safe the housing is for the rodent, not for the owner. This includes whether the housing is escape-proof, if there are any small or moving parts that could cause injury, protection from drafts and the possiblity that the housing would contribute to the build-up of toxic substances such as ammonia or mold.

Mess control: This is an indication of how easily the rodent can distribute seed, bedding, etc. outside of the housing and measures the impact that a rodent will have on the environment surrounding the housing.

Cleaning: This gives an indication of how easily the housing can be cleaned and includes both the time required and the effort involved in disassembling and reassembling the unit.

Looks: This is the overall aesthetic appearance of the housing and includes aspects such as visual appeal and whether or not the rodent is easily visible when inside the housing.

The overall rating is calculated based on a simple points system:

– Good, 2 points
– Fair, 1 point
– Poor, 0 points

 

Aquarium (or similar)

Cost: Safety: Mess control: Cleaning: Looks:
     

Pros:

+ Easy to clean and sterilize
+ Unobstructed view of rodents
+ Controlled climate with few drafts
+ Chew-proof
+ Nearly escape-proof
+ Great for mess control
+ Reasonably priced
+ Often available second-hand

Cons:

Heavy and awkward
Glass is breakable
Acrylic becomes scratched over time
Lids (plastic or wire mesh) are not chew-proof
Ammonia can build up between cleanings
Retains moisture risking mold growth
Can be difficult to add accessories
Have to open and loom to give treats
Not recommended for stacking

     
Overall rating: 7/10

Cage (wire)

Cost: Safety: Mess control: Cleaning: Looks:
     

Pros:

+ Moderately easy to clean
+ Chew-proof
+ Can attach accessories to bars
+ Can feed treats through bars
+ Can be stacked
+ Bars can be climbed and played on

Cons:

Poor mess control
Bar width often not designed for small rodent
Poor climate control
No draft protection

     
Overall rating: 7/10

Habitrail, Crittertrail (or similar)

Cost: Safety: Mess control: Cleaning: Looks:
     

Pros:

+ Highly expandable
+ Many accessories available
+ Comes in many colours and styles
+ Widely available
+ Can feed treats through the bars

Cons:

Expensive
Difficult to clean
Awkward to assemble and disassemble
Some accessories are unsafe
Dark colours can make rodents hard to see
Poor ventilation outside cage proper
Not stackable

     
Overall rating: 4/10

Plastic Bin – modified

Cost: Safety: Mess control: Cleaning: Looks:
     

Pros:

+ Cheap
+ Endlessly customizable
+ Stackable
+ Very easy to clean

Cons:

Requires work time and tools
Not the most visually attractive
Not chew-proof
Non-transparency makes rodents hard to see

     
Overall rating: 7/10