When you walk into a pet shop, you’re likely to be greeted by a variety of colorful, plastic modular cages. These eye-catching designs, such as Rotastak and Habitrail, are often marketed towards children, making pet ownership seem fun and exciting. But the question remains, are these modular systems actually good for your pet? In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the subject and explore why they may not be as beneficial as they initially appear.
The Natural Behavior of Pets
According to the Animal Welfare Act of 2007, pets have the right to exhibit their natural behavior. However, modular systems fail to mimic the natural environments of most pet animals. While naked mole rats do live in burrows, the majority of animals simply use burrows as sleeping areas. No animal naturally confines itself to such a small living space. In fact, the floor print of most basic rotastak setups is smaller than the tanks used by reputable rodent keepers during cleaning. Our pets deserve enough space to be happy, even if we can’t replicate the vastness of the wild.
Ventilation and Health Problems
One of the major downsides of modular systems is the lack of proper ventilation. Without careful customization, your pet may develop serious health issues that could shorten its lifespan. The tubes lack vents, and the “kidney pods” also suffer from poor ventilation. Additionally, the inadequate substrate, like sawdust, exacerbates the problem. It’s essential to provide good airflow for your pet’s overall well-being.
Lack of Enrichment Opportunities
Modular systems also fall short in providing essential enrichment opportunities for your pet. For example, a Syrian hamster or larger mice require a minimum 8-inch wheel, which is not accommodated in these cages. Bar climbing, a favorite activity of female mice, is also impossible in these setups. Moreover, there is no space to hang hammocks or rope toys, depriving your pet of entertainment and sleeping areas.
Coaxing and Cleaning Challenges
The absence of proper corners in modular systems can be distressing to rodents. It can also make it incredibly difficult to coax out an untamed hamster. Additionally, cleaning these cages is a time-consuming task. The tubes must be washed with a bottle brush, and ensuring all the clips are in place to prevent your pet from escaping adds to the cleaning process.
Issues with Dwarf Hamsters
Even if you opt for a pair of dwarf hamsters instead of a Syrian hamster, they come with their own set of problems. The separate but connected sections of modular systems often lead to territorial disputes among hamsters, increasing the likelihood of fighting. Furthermore, some of the curves in pre-made basic sets are too steep for smaller hamsters to navigate comfortably.
The Cost and Aspiration
While it is possible to connect enough main units to provide a minimum living space, it can be quite expensive to do so. Although Habitrail offers slightly better design and better-sized main items, they still occupy significantly more physical space than other quality cages like Savic Cambridge, Imac Fantasy, Hamster Heaven, or Gabber Rex. Instead of settling for the minimum, it’s always better to aspire to larger and more enriching habitats for your beloved pets.
In conclusion, while modular systems may initially seem appealing, they often fall short when it comes to providing a suitable living space for your pet. The lack of natural behavior stimulation, ventilation problems, limited enrichment opportunities, and the challenges they pose for cleaning and coaxing make these systems less than ideal. It’s important to prioritize the well-being and happiness of your pet by opting for spacious and enriching habitats rather than settling for modular systems.