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Advice needed for hamster cage size

My 13 year old and I purchased a female fancy hamster at Petco. In the past I have had dwarf hamsters but this fancy hamster (sweety) is larger. She is about 4-5 inches long!  Before purchasing her I briefly researched the cages they had available in store and settled on a Kaytee crittertrail 2 level habitat with the wheel. I chose it as it was the largest one they had, floor is 20 inches wide.
The interesting thing about this habitat is it has a removable "petting" compartment on the roof. So she goes up the tube to it. I figured that would be great for her to sleep in.  Surely enough she took a bunch of bedding to that compartment, sleeps there, stores all her food in a corner there but I recently saw her using another corner as the bathroom. 
Although the compartment is roomy (maybe 6x6 inches) I was a little concerned of her using the bathroom in that space as its where she sleeps. 
Is that normal?
The other thing is I'm suspecting the cage is too small as it's quite stinky just after 4 days.that and her back arches with the wheel shee has and seems have a hard time running in it.
Any suggestions for cages for her? I'm assuming the spacing between the bars in guinea pig, small rabbit, chinchilla or ferret cages will be too big for my hamster, correct? 
Any suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated. 
Community Representative

Re: Advice needed for hamster cage size

[ Edited ]

Hi LinAre. Welcome to the community and thank you for your question.

It can be normal for hamsters to create microenvironments in their habitats, and have an area for sleeping and going to the bathroom in a small space. If the odor is getting bad after 4 days, you should change the bedding and clean the habitat more often. Some animals need more frequent cleanings. You may want to consider getting a larger habitat if you think your hamster does not have enough space. You also need to make sure your habitat is made for smaller animals like mice and hamsters and does not have openings that the hamster could escape through. You may also want to consider a flying exersaucer instead of a wheel. We hope this helps! Please feel free to check out our hamster care sheet as well. Smiley Happy

Re: Advice needed for hamster cage size

You may use a long 20 gallon tank, or make a DIY bin cage, make sure to have a wheel that is about 10 inches. I love her name!
New Contributor

Re: Advice needed for hamster cage size

Right now I have a guinea pig cage for my hamster and it doesn't get smelly. The only bad part about mine is that I had to wire around to whole thing due to him getting out threw the large spacing between the bars. If you are up for the challenge I would buy a guinea pig cage and wire it.
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