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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure where, but I remember reading somewhere about wood cages being bad for one reason or another... So, my question here is, outside the obvious cage constructions outlined in previous threads (such as the one stickied above) - i.e. bins, C&C, etc., what materials are acceptable for DIY cage building?

I was reading up on cage construction, though many of the resources I've found have been for building reptile cages, and what I really liked were enclosures that had a floor, 3 solid sides and 1 glass or plastic (plexi-glass) front side - presumably some sort of sliding door. (I believe Mika posted a pic of something like this in the cage examples thread also...)

With proper ventilation, would melamine coated mdf be an acceptable material to use? ...and, just for the sake of discussion, what other materials are ok? Obviously we know Coroplast is ok, and I'm going to go ahead and assume that acrylic and plexiglass are ok... but what about linoleum? laminate flooring? resin-coated materials? formica? vinyl wallpaper? paint? (enamel? acrylic?)

I know I'm throwing some pretty random stuff out there, but I'm curious. :lol: We just moved into our house in October and have been doing a lot of renovations/home improvements and, well, not only am I'm really inspired to build something fantastic for our little girl, but I also think it'd just generally be a good idea to have an "acceptable materials" list (as well as one for unacceptable materials - including obvious things such as treated lumber) for other folks that might be considering building something from scratch as well.

Obviously working with solid materials, as opposed to wire cages, ventilation would have to be one of the primary concerns... and, while I would most likely still want to have an open-top cage, I would still think think that installing a few vents lower on the back/sides would be a good plan just to ensure plenty of fresh air. Would a register towards the lower back of the cage, like the kind found in most homes, be safe/acceptable? Would something else be preferable? A very small/fine wire mesh + plastic combo? (I'm looking at my cup-o-mealworms right now and admiring the top on it, actually, lol... it's very similar to this: http://mantiskingdom.com/images/container.JPG)

I know it's a LOT of questions... but, perhaps, with enough answers, a good DIY guide to alternative, even decorative, cages could be put together. :D I'm sure there are probably other folks out there that would love to have not only a functional and comfortable home for their hedgie, but also something unique that could even add to their home decor. (I'm a sucker for modern decor, myself. :lol: )

Additionally, the "acceptable materials" list could even go so far as fabrics and materials that are OK for things such as custom bedding/liners/etc... Like, I've been curious, I've seen lots of fleece liners, but what about other soft fabrics? i.e. suede/ultrasuede? jersey knit? faux fur? (the short, kind of slick kind, not the fluffy stuff) corduroy? (Presumably anything other than fleece would have the edges serged to avoid lose threads - or even, for padding, sewn together with fleece on the underside.)
 

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I'm from the UK, and a large number of people here (including me) keep their hedgies in 'vivariums', with extra ventilation at the back. I bought a flat pack viv, but a lot of people make their own. I think they're great, as I think the hedgie feels more secure whilst still hearing all the noise around them, and they can be at eye level so you're not looming over them. They also keep any smells in, and can make a really attractive piece of furniture. People over here tend to make them out of 'contiboard', a kind of veneered MDF, similar to higher end flat-packed furtinture, and then seal the edges/corners with aquarium sealant.

Here is my vivarium (minus his wheel) to get an idea....


The white vents that came with it weren't enough, so I added one of these...


And here's my boy :D ..


I know the husbandry methods differ between the UK and the US, just thought you were describing pretty much what I have. Hope it helps.

Amy x
 

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Your vivarium looks great but IMO, doesn't have anywhere near enough ventilation. If it keeps the smells in, then the hedgehog is breathing in stale air and it is not healthy for them. Adding grid sides to provide more ventilation would not detract from the looks but would be healthier for the hedgehog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So if I built something like this, only open-top, would it be ok to use a vents like the one in hers (that looks like a standard home register) lower on the enclosure? or would there be any sort of safety risks? I can't see her hurting herself on something like that, I want to make sure I'm not overlooking something obvious and don't know it. :p
 

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I loved the look of the vivs but was worried about the ventilation issue, so intead of using glass I made mine with fiberglass fly screen mesh (type used for reptile cages). It is incredibly tough, looks just as good as glass but is far cheaper and allows much better airflow. Here's a couple of pics....




I made the cage as big as possible to give the hedgehog lots of room to run around, for comparison the cage on top is a Marchioro 120. I've now got all 3 of my hedgies in cages like this. :D

This is a link to the mesh that I got on ebay here in the uk.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1800MM-FLY-SCREEN ... 240%3A1318
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oooo, the mesh looks really nice, plus the ventilation it allows for is nice too... but I'd be worried about my little girl getting a nail stuck in it or something... I'd hate for her to snag a toenail or something.

I could definitely see using some sort of mesh like that for windows/vents though. :)
 

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If you don't like to use screening, there is plastic hardware cloth available. It's openings are about 1/2" square so no way for a claw or paw to get caught. The cube grids would work as well. Just make the wooden frame to fit the grid.

I've also seen metal closet shelving in flat pieces, minus the turned over edge and it would work well for a door and provide lots of safe ventilation.

Great looking cage Thistle!
 

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ana said:
Oooo, the mesh looks really nice, plus the ventilation it allows for is nice too... but I'd be worried about my little girl getting a nail stuck in it or something... I'd hate for her to snag a toenail or something.

I could definitely see using some sort of mesh like that for windows/vents though. :)
The mesh that I used is too fine for tonails to get caught in, my lot often scratch at it, trying to get out of their cages (mainly the male when he sees one of the females running about), but they have never got caught. :)

M_Canadian, I got the mesh on the uk ebay (ebay.co.uk instead of ebay.com)

Nancy said:
Great looking cage Thistle!
Thanks Nancy! :)

I've got all 3 stacked up now and have even put little silver name plates on each cage :oops: .

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thistle said:
ana said:
Oooo, the mesh looks really nice, plus the ventilation it allows for is nice too... but I'd be worried about my little girl getting a nail stuck in it or something... I'd hate for her to snag a toenail or something.

I could definitely see using some sort of mesh like that for windows/vents though. :)
The mesh that I used is too fine for tonails to get caught in, my lot often scratch at it, trying to get out of their cages (mainly the male when he sees one of the females running about), but they have never got caught. :)

M_Canadian, I got the mesh on the uk ebay (ebay.co.uk instead of ebay.com)

Nancy said:
Great looking cage Thistle!
Thanks Nancy! :)

I've got all 3 stacked up now and have even put little silver name plates on each cage :oops: .

Ohhh, gotcha! That's really cool then, your cages do look really great. :D Definitely wasn't meaning to question the safety of them, since clearly your hedgies haven't had any problems with them. It's just always hard to tell with photos of stuff like mesh though, so I was envisioning something like screen door material and thinking about stuff like how our cats would always claw the **** out of a screen door until there would be little tears in the mesh that they could get their claws stuck in... (Not that a cat's claws compare to a hedgie's at all, but that's where my imagination went, lol) I think I'd just be worried about finding stuff as fine and also as durable as yours. (& of course, I think it'd probably cost me a lot more to order from the UK to find it locally.)
 

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Don't worry, I know what you meant. It is difficult to tell in pictures.

My cat has tried a few times to get into the vivs (to get at the food not the hedgehogs) as has my very greedy giant house rabbit (for the same reason :roll: ) and the screen in still in one piece and looks as good as the day I got it. This stuff is suitable for reptile cages and if you think about the claws that some reptiles have you can imagine how tough it is. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
thistle said:
Don't worry, I know what you meant. It is difficult to tell in pictures.

My cat has tried a few times to get into the vivs (to get at the food not the hedgehogs) as has my very greedy giant house rabbit (for the same reason :roll: ) and the screen in still in one piece and looks as good as the day I got it. This stuff is suitable for reptile cages and if you think about the claws that some reptiles have you can imagine how tough it is. :lol:
Oh, very nice! If I could find something just as durable here, I'd definitely consider using it as opposed to plexiglass. I'm definitely going to have to look into it now. :)

(It also didn't occur to me that you said it was fiberglass, so I kept thinking of, like, the metal stuff. :lol: That's noted now though. ;) )
 
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