Fixing the door to the Topper


The mesh I used for my Gerbil Topper was the 1/4 inch grid. It’s not as strong as 1/2 inch. I didn’t use 1/2 as I didn’t want them to be able to get their muzzles through it and start chewing habits. However, due to the need for them not to slip through the door and sides of the entrance I use spring loaded hooks and the tightness was causing the mesh to begin bending. And the door was floppier as well. I just became unhappy with it and did not feel it was secure enough. I was always afraid the mesh would eventually break causing the hook latches to come attached and therefore come home to missing gerbils. Ugh. The thought horrifies me.

So, I bent a section of 1/2 mesh in half and put the hard plastic borders around it (Totally blanked on what those are called! – The red things around the frame) and attached it. It’s so sturdy that I only need two spring latches opposed to the four I needed with the other door. And the way I folded the piece makes it a little difficult for them to get their muzzles through. And even if they could this mesh is very strong so they couldn’t gnaw through it if that’s even possible or desirable for them to try to do. It looks cleaner to me. I’m pleased.

*Other additions – I took the two sides off the burrowing box and flipped over the little steps and turned it into just another shelf for them to climb on. In the middle is just free space with no walls. Only walls are on the sides facing and the back to stand it up.


October 2013 Cages of the Rodents of Hammy Happenings Tour!

Alrighty! October’s Cage Tours of all my rodent babies. And of course – pictures of my rodent babies! All of these pictures were taken today and tonight except the one of Bob. The picture I took of him tonight wasn’t so great. But I had taken the one I posted a few days or so ago and love it.


Let’s start with Penny. Ladies First! She had been taking a nibble at her chews.

penny chews pennys cage collage

Penny is in a Marchioro Kevin 82cm Cage. I purchased this cage for $119 at but it is also available at It usually ranges between $119-$134. In the United States it’s one of the best sized cages you can get for any species of hamster but especially Syrian’s. It has 7mm bar spacing so ideal for as big as Syrians to as tiny as Mice and Chinese Hamsters.

Up Next! Bob having a moment beneath the toad stools

bob toad stools bobs cage collage

Bob is in the Ware Luxury Rabbit Cage. It retails a bit over $100 bucks. I got mine used for $20. It has 1” bar spacing so it needs to be meshed for hamsters. This is an awesome cage. It has casters and opens from the top and a large front door. The tray slides out for easy cleaning and then slides back in. I wish I could find another just like this for Penny. The height is much less scary than the Mamble which I had her in before. It’s long and narrower so it takes up less space without sacrificing footprint.

Now Strawberry as he lounges in his space pod.

strawberry space pod sb cage collage

Strawberry is my eldest hamster (I think!). He’s a hybrid Cambells/WW or “Russian” hamster. He has slowed down. Looks great. Healthy. Eating and such. But really not very active.  I have plenty for him to do now. And I love his “retirement” cage. A Grreat Choice Pet Home for Small Animals cage from Petsmart. It’s 24 inch long, 15 inch wide, 14 inch tall. Below the RSPCA guidelines for a dwarf hamster cage. It’s suitable for a retirement cage for a dwarf and honestly, it depends on the hamster. Strawberry has never liked large cages. I’ve tried. He has been really happy in here so far. I find it easier to interact with him and get him out and check on him in this too. And it’s easier to make a jungle gym for him in there. He loves to climb though I can tell he’s struggling with it nowadays. The high base is ACE for my little digger. He has epic tunnels going on around the entire cage.


Gabriel’s Turn! He likes to meditate and other business in his sand box.

gabriel sand gabriels cage collageMy Chinese hamster is also older. In fact he probably is older than Strawberry but I will never know. He is adopted with barely any known history. I’m his 3rd and final home! He is in the FOP Gabbia Tamburino Linera Natura – a hybrid of a tank and cage. I had hammocks and suspension ladder toys and the like going on in here and other cages I tried putting him in – he had no interest. Today I decided to leave the top grill off (the grid lid) because he cannot climb out. This gives me better view of him from above and I don’t have to meddle with lifting it up and putting it down (it’s loud because it needs a handle). Anyway, he prefers his environment low to the ground and with plenty of hideouts. He does like to climb driftwood and such. I go with a forest floor type of habitat for him.

Finally, for the hamsters –  the Roborovski’s Snow & Patch! Having their nightly sand bath.

snow sand

patch sand

robos cage

The Roborovski brothers were separated due to my ignorance. I began with them together when I brought both home from the shop. I had one wheel. Multiple platforms. One house. If you are to keep your robo’s social due keep in mind – no platforms. A home and toy for each. Two Robo’s = two wheels, two food bowls, two houses. Or some will say better to have no houses but instead numerous hide outs. By the time I realized my mistake it was too late. They were drawing blood. Snow reminds me of this whenever I see the sections taken from his ear by Patch’s past nips. So, I did a DIY cage out of a book shelf that a neighbor was throwing out. It was a dollhouse style bookshelf. I simply put vinyl tiles down for the floor. Contact paper along the walls. And made a partition that is removable for clean out. It’s also vinyl and is attached from the inside with heavy duty velcro. They cannot climb out. I forgot the measurements but it’s as long as Bob’s rabbit cage and a little narrower in width compared to his. It’s the most space they’ve ever had and it’s easy to clean and fun to and easy to watch them. They’ve never been happier!

Last but not least: My Gerbil’s Mercury and Lennon! Waiting patiently for their treat. They also give me kisses!

gerbils posinggerbils cage collage

My gerbils have sampled many a layout/aquarium. I had them originally in a tall 28 gallon. Then 20 long. Then a 110 qt Bin cage. And finally a 40 long. Then I DIY’d a topper to put on top. I change around their set up every time I clean out. I have large pieces of drift wood I trade out each time to keep it fresh. Various tunnels and bridges and such they bury down into the bedding. You can barely see the current drift wood I put in there. It was a smaller piece than usual. In the topper they have water bottles, a sand pot where they do all their business. A Gnawsome hut to chew on and they prefer to snack within with the treats I give them. The topper has 2 floors. Or two separate “lofts” where I put their food dish. Or just for a perch and look out. They are pretty spoiled methinks. They are worth it. My little daytime buddies!

And that is the October 2013 cage tour of the Rodent’s of Hammy Happenings!

Gerbil Topper Improvements

The gerbils have two new ramps in the topper. No more having to use bulky not really ideal methods for them to get to the topper and to the 2nd floor of the topper. They love it. And it makes my topper look more sleek and pro. Takes up less room for them as well.




So a little while back I ordered two metal ramps that are actually replacement parts for a commercial tank topper for gerbils from Overall, I am happy with the seller. I would order from them again. They give a 10% Military discount too which is a kind gesture.

My cons are only there is no email notifying of receipt or acknowledgement of order and or of shipping. However if you register with them you have access to your account which will reflect the process of your order. Also when I emailed customer service I received a prompt and courteous response. Shipping isn’t really fast but reasonable. Good prices but the shipping cost is a wee high but as stated on their site that is the way they keep their items priced lower. So, it’s not truly a beef with me.

The selection is awesome. I saw so many parts I would love to order for my DIY cages and such. My friend Kerri got her front panel to make a bin cage door from there. A replacement panel for a commercial hamster cage.

I also got a replacement ramp for Bob’s converted rabbit cage. The true part for. The cage. I got that cage cheap and used and it was missing that ramp. It fits great in there and now he can climb to the shelf that came with the cage with ease.

Gerbilarium clean out and plans

So, I found that dollhouse on the trash pickup curb and took it in to make something of it but in doing that saved this background and used it as wallpaper for the gerbils topper. LOL. I think it’s cute! Originally the function was only temporary to keep their mess within the topper and not over the side onto the floor in the back.

I haven’t bought a rotary tool yet or attained acrylic glass sheets which I plan to soon to make a barrier on the lower half of all sides of the topper to keep it tidier.


Now I kinda love it.
Also I added back the hanging hay holder. Make them work for their hay for while. Love these darlings.



Then later today I decided to try a homemade hammock out of jeans. I figured it would be harder for them to chew up if they decide to and if its a success I can have a jean hammock sewn well and sturdier.

And I added their suspension ladder bridge from Bobby’s Bunny Boutique placed in. I can’t wait to see them climb around on these. Right at this time they were snoozing when I put it in.



Get this suspension ladder bridge from Bobby’s Bunny Boutique!

I get asked this often so I will take this opportunity to answer as I just did this big clean!

How long does it take to clean their gerbilarium?

The larger the space and deeper the substrate and whether you supply a litter pan/box/pot for your critter to do all their business in – the less cleaning is required.

My gerbils go wee and poo in aragonite sand that I keep in a high sided metal pot. I change this sand out every couple days.

They also sometimes use the cardboard squares I place in there for them to chew. So when I see they have I replace the cardboard. This is spot cleaning. Something that should be done daily or semi daily.

Monthly I do a full clean.

Gerbils do not wee much. They are desert rodents and drink little and wee little. They are also very clean animals. So they do not have much of a smell (I have a sensitive nose and notice only a smell in their litter pot). Mine go mostly in their pot. When I scoop out their substrate I never notice poops. I am not saying there isn’t poops in the main substrate but for a month and two gerbils the fact I haven’t seen any is telling that they go mostly in their pot and that is changed semi daily.

With a full clean monthly I remove most everything from the topper. I sweep with a little hand broom the cardboard and tissue they shred up there and nest with inside their summer home in the topper. In the winter they sleep “downstairs” in their burrows. But I have noticed that when it is warmer they nest in a wood house “upstairs” to keep cooler. This is why I am an advocate of the big tank and topper extension for a gerbil set up.

I place my gerbils in a box to play in with tubes to chew and hide in while I begin to clean.

I vacuum the topper out with the hose attachments and remove it and then wipe it down with a cage cleaner chemical safe for animals. then go over that with a warm wet cloth to wipe the residue of the cleaner away. then dry it with paper towels.

Then I remove the driftwood and platform out of tank and begin to scoop out most of the substrate and then vacuum out the remaining bit. I use a cleaner to wipe out all the residue left in the tank and repeat same process as the topper.

I wipe all around the outside of the tank too.

I replace their driftwood and platform and add a semi deep layer of substrate (shredded aspen by Native Earth) and hay so they can shred and thicken their burrows. In the hotter months I put less substrate. In the winter I put at least 8 inches of substrate.

On goes the topper and I replace all their items in there. Add more cardboard and toilet paper rolls and treats in there before putting them back. Then I hand feed them their most favorite treat so they have a positive experience after all the upheaval.

Then I vacuum my floor all around the area.

All this process from start to finish including vacuuming the floor I have found takes an hour at least.

But this is only monthly. Therefore really not bad at all.

The semi daily spot cleaning as well changing out water in their bottles takes 5 minutes I think.

Gerbil Tank Topper a Hit!

I am SO happy. Today was a good day. I made a friend and her hammy happy but also I finished (well to a point finished) the tank topper for the gerbils. Scratches and puncture wounds and 3 days of wrestling with mesh, wire, pliers, and duct tape and here we go! (And two videos of it.)

Sorry for my crappy pictures. My external flash went out on my Canon and I misplaced the battery charger for my Nikon (we’re camera nerds in this house) so I’ve been using the iphone mostly.


Note: The pipe cleaner closures for the door is TEMPORARY – I have ordered springs to attach hooks to make a spring latch on both sides!


These were some seriously happy gerbils. Mercury in particular doesn’t know what to do with himself. He is up and down the mesh. Climbing up and down the platforms. Jumping in and down from the tube swing. He chewed the twine off and slid down the tube swing like a slide and Lennon – the obsessive chewer – went to work chewing the heck out of the tube. LOL. My husband sat back watching them this evening and cracking up. We’ve never seen them like this.

The bottom is now full substrate and driftwood. Now they can have at it down there. Foot loose and fancy free! The food, sand pot (their potty), and water bottles will be substrate free upstairs!

Here are two videos. The first is my voice talking about it.

And this one is with just music but it’s when they were first getting into the new digs!

Oh, obviously I decided I wasn’t fond of the duct tape from before. Or the height. I changed to my favorite decorative tape ever. And before that I did trim off a few inches of the height. What is coming up (if you don’t listen to me in the video) is the latches for the door. I have them on the way from Amazon. Spring latches. They don’t come with the hooks so I’ll make hooks with paperclips. Also, for looks and not to be jabbed I am waiting for the nickel moldings on the corners at the top and the aluminum dryer tube to possibly use to connect the levels. But right now the driftwood is doing the job as a ladder!

I am so proud. So happy. So triumphant. Seeing how enthralled they are with it makes my heart soar. It took so long for these gerbils to trust me. To not be terrified of people. To not run away every time I approached the tank. I have slowly but surely built up their trust and the more I do for them the more I see them appreciate it and come out of their shells. And this really pleases me!