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I'm preparing for the arrival of my little hedgie in two months time, and have just tried out my cage setup. I have a cage that is 2.5 square feet (with a plastic bottom and fleece liner), and have bought a ceramic heat lamp to use for heating. I don't have a thermometer yet, as I had to order one online and it won't be here for another two weeks. (I'm also getting a thermostat).

After trying out the ceramic heat lamp, I have two concerns:

1. Is it safe to be placing the lamp directly on the bars? They are coated, and my roommate commented that he smelled hot plastic. Should I find a way to make it "hover" above the bars? Any suggestions on how to do this?

2. It didn't feel like the heater was throwing off much heat. I may be wrong, as I don't have a way of checking the temperature yet, but it really didn't feel all that much warmer in the cage than the rest of the room. I have a 100 watt bulb-thing in it right now. Should that be enough?

I'm so nervous about screwing something up and hurting the little guy! Thanks for any info anyone can give.
 

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The heat emitters usually emit a funny smell for maybe 24hrs. If you are worried about melting the coating on the bars then plug it in somewhere else for now and see if you still smell the burning odor.
 

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A 100w should be plenty for a cage that small (almost too small, actually).

There shouldn't be a problem with the CHE directly on the bars. Just make sure it can't be pulled off the top accidently.
 

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If you have one of those 10" metal lamps into which the the CHE "bulb" screws (Like this: http://www.petco.com/product/9469/Fluker-s-Clamp-Lamps.aspx?CoreCat=RepAmpFC_Heating), and you set the lamp directly on the bars, there should be tiny bit of clearance between the CHE and the top of the cage.

I've had my cage set up that way for years (and now the new cage for my recent rescue)... no problems. Though you're right that there is a funny scent for a couple hours after you first plug it in.
 
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