Welcome to Dashing Hamsters. I created this website back in 2005, initially to have a place to share my love of hamsters. Throughout the years I have come across a lot of information that just often doesn't match up. Care standards and information are outdated, and these little creatures are misunderstood by many. So I decided to make this website as more than just a hamster lover's website, but a hamster website for modern owners who are looking for up to date advice on how to care for and understand their beloved hamsters. On DH you can learn about hamsters, see some cute pictures and read through a hamster filled blog.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Ikea DETOLF Cage

With the push for people looking for larger cages for hamsters more and more people have run into the problem of not being able to find any. Cages made for hamsters tend to be too small, especially in North America. So then people tend to look into a home made option. Not everyone can afford this option and others just aren't that handy. I know I'm not. So some genius came up with converting furniture from Ikea into hamster cages. The most common are made from Ikea's EXPEDIT and DETOLF. The Detolf is, in my opinion, the easier of the two to convert. This post will focus on how to convert the Ikea Detolf. If you're interested in the EXPEDIT try looking on hamster forums or make good use of Google. I won't be looking at this set up here, they are fantastic and versatile, but a bit beyond my means.

So what is the Detolf?
The Detolf looks like this:

If you tip it on it's back and don't install the shelves and the door than you have a ready made tank, all you need to do is make the lid. I have one myself for my two roborovski dwarf hamsters and they're really do adore the space. I see no negative behaviour indicative of boredom at anymore.

Quick Facts
  • Floorspace: about 1088 square inches of floorspace (7019.340 cm²)
  • Depth (or height when tipped on it's back) is about 14"
  • Can be found at Ikea
  • Easy to convert
  • Bigger cages mean less frequent cage cleanings (hamster's mess is less concentrated)
  • Relatively cheap compared to other options for cages of similar size
For lid ideas try checking out these threads, you may need to run them through Google translate if you want the instructions as the websites are in German, but their ideas a great:

In order to clean these cages it is recommended that you only do partial substrate cleanings as needed. If your hamster has a 'potty corner' than clean most of it out daily. Since the hamster's mess is less concentrated than the substrate should not need to be cleaned as often, especially if you use a deep layer of substrate. I am finding myself using less substrate with the detolf than I was with my 20 gallon long aquarium (360 square inches of floorspace) actually. If you wish to do a full cleaning than you would simply scoop out the substrate (or vacuum it if you want) and than use a hot wet cloth (with some soap or white vinegar) to wipe it down. Since setting up my Detolf in early April of 2010 I have done two full cleanings.

Where to Put it?
I can't tell you where to put it in your home, but I do want to mention that most people use the Ikea EXPEDIT shelf as a stand for the Detolf. It is almost the perfect size, leaving a bit of the ends hanging off. It's almost like Ikea planned for this or something. I have my detolf on the floor in my room, however if you do this be sure that you have something underneath to support the glass. I have some extra pieces of my laminate flooring holding it up. Before I put that underneath the glass actually sagged in the centre and touch the floor- it's just a big risk of the glass cracking.

Fighting Hamsters?
If you have a pair of hamsters and they do end up fighting despite all of this space than you can always insert the middle shelf in and voila! A ready made divider. You only need to find something to support it. Then on each side you still have enough floorspace so you're not below the floorspace minimum of 360 square inches.

Want to see some Setup?
Then please check out this page: Natural Detolf Cages.

My Detolf


  1. This is such an awesome idea! I've just got a hamster in a shop bought cage and feel it is too small so was trying to find ways of branching out! :D

  2. Thanks for sharing one of the coolest hamster cage and I also write a article about Best hamster Cases hope u also like it

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