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Forum Home > Reviews & Homemade projects > Habitrail OVO Dwarf Hamster Habitat Review

gabbagabbawill
Member
Posts: 18

My review of the Habitrail OVO Dwarf Hamster Habitat:




I am new to Roborovski hamsters, and this site has helped me so much in learning about them. I have come across several questions about the Habitrail OVO dwarf hamster habitat on this and other forums, and so I thought I would write my own review as my contribution to the review section of this site, based on my personal experiences with this habitat so far. Because I only have experience with Robo's, my review is based on using this habitat with Roborovski's only and no other hamsters. Because Robo's are unique, even to the dwarf hamster types, I will not address the suitability of this cage for any other hamster types.


Looks:


First off, this has to be the coolest looking hamster habitat available! All of the OVO products have very nice color combinations offering retro/ modern appeal, as if the design cues were inspired from somewhere between Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange and Ikea's most recent catalog.


The multi-hued circusy/rainbow colored palettes of many typical hamster cages are very unappealing to me, and I didn't want a glass aquarium, so the OVO really caught my eye. Not that there is anything wrong with those types of habitats, but the design of this cage really spoke to me.


Build Quality:


The build quality of this cage is very sturdy and allows for complete disassembly and cleaning. Though, breaking it down and reassembling may take an hour in and of itself; it is not difficult to do even though there are a lot of pieces. I think that an entire cleaning would not be warranted every time, so it would be easy enough to break down only those parts of the habitat that get dirty and require cleaning most often. The rings are made in such a way that they tightly grip the connections, and all of the locking pieces seem very Roborovski proof, making escape very difficult if not impossible for them.


The only caveat to the overall build is the OVO habitat has many different places that allow entry/ exit, and if would be very easy to forget to close one of these up. Including the end caps, and lid openings for the pad, den, and transport unit, there are a total of seven (7) possible points of entry. For this reason, I find it imperative to check ALL of the openings each time I service the cage. For those who are slightly OCD like I am, you may want to check all points of entry before leaving the hamsters alone for an extended period of time!! Better safe than sorry! :D


Design Implementation:


The OVO dwarf habitat offers plenty of room for one or two Robo hamsters to explore, play, sleep, relax, and eat. As it comes, I think it offers everything you need to keep one or two Robo hamsters healthy and happy.


The entire habitat together is very lightweight, which makes moving it a breeze, however it is not so lightweight that it feels flimsy, and it is surprisingly robust with the added durability of the locking connectors.


The transport unit can be configured for travel, giving your hamster a familiar option for taking trips. Because it is simple to configure this way, hamsters will feel more at home and less stressed when traveling.


The tubes that this habitat comes with are perfectly sized for Robo hamsters. They can go up and down in the tubes with ease, and they seem to enjoy being able to roam to different spaces whenever they like. I have read varying reports of hamsters not being able to transverse the tubes, but I think that their hamsters were either NOT Robo's, they were talking about another OVO habitat's tubes, or their hamsters were a tad over-weight. This may not be the last word on the matter, but my robo's have no problems with the tubes, and learned them in less than one day of being introduced to the habitat.


I decided to use the den compartment as a "sand bath" area that the hamsters can go to whenever they want. They seem to like visiting it between their other activities. Because the den is slightly lowered from the connecting tube, the sand remains in place and doesn't foul the rest of the cage, their food, etc. Of course, you can use the den for whatever you or your hamsters like, but that is one of the things I like about the OVO is all the options you have for things like this without using up other available space.


I would like to address a minor issue that some folks have expressed with this habitat:


The water bottle:


While this seems to be everyone's pet peeve, and there is no easy way to add another water bottle to this habitat, I'd like to offer some suggestions on how to set it up properly so that it does not leak.


First of all, almost all water bottles of any design will leak a few drops over the course of a day or two, to some extent. It is just usually such a small amount and in a place that it is not so noticeable. This bottle does not use a steel ball bearing to keep the water in the tube like on many conventional small animal water bottles, so it relies on a vacuum created inside the bottle to keep the water in place.


This is how I recommend to fill it up to keep it from leaking:


1. Only fill the bottle half way. Robo's are not going to drink the entire amount of water in a day or two, and you can easily refill it in time if the water level gets low. Filling the bottle half way makes it so there is less pressure at the tip of the opening.


2. After filling it, dry the steel cap off so there is no water on the outside anywhere. Invert the bottle over a sink and allow it to drip a little bit, and shake the bottle gently up and down, this will get water between the steel cap and plastic bottle and create a seal.


3. When the dripping slows down, GENTLY squeeze the bottle to let some water out, but DO NOT allow an air bubble to enter. THIS is the key to lowering the pressure inside the bottle slightly so that the vacuum holds the water in place, but doesn't suck air back in.


4. Once you've accomplished a leak-free bottle, carefully place the bottle back in it's holder and try not to squeeze it again or allow an air bubble to enter. If you do, just dry it out, and repeat steps 3-4 until you get it right.


A little practice with the above steps, and you'll have a non-leaking bottle every time you refill it. Of course, you may still have a few drops leak out over the course of a day or two, but this is normal just like any water bottle will do this. You'll just have to make sure the water doesn't collect underneath the bottle, and that any wet bedding or waste is removed and this section is kept clean more often. Because it is easy enough to remove the entire water bottle section, and replace the end cap on the adjacent tube, it makes maintenance an easy daily task.



Specific Issues I have with this habitat:


Food bowl:


An issue that seems to be more real with this design, is the placement of the food bowl above the wheel. It is difficult to see in most pictures of the habitat, but the "staircase" leading up to the food bowl seems very difficult for a Robo hamster to climb. Because this habitat is designed specifically for dwarf hamsters, I think this is unfortunately overlooked in this design. In fact, I didn't want to chance it, and so I put a small food bowl on the floor of the cage, just in case they couldn't reach the bowl higher up. As a test, I put some treats in the upper bowl, and these have gone untouched so far.


The wheel:


First thing I did was make it silent by rubbing a slight amount of vaseline on the shaft that the wheel goes on. Once I did this, it does not make any noise whatsoever. The wheel is seemingly the same size as the one for larger hamsters, and at the center of the wheel is a hole that runs lateral to the two halves. Because Robo hamsters are so small, it makes it so they tend to run on either side of the hole, but their feet can go in the hole, which is not good… Though it seems that they get used to running around it, I worry that there is an off chance they could get hurt if their foot were to get stuck. I believe it would have been a better design to make it a solid wheel.


Because of the issues with the food dish I mentioned along with the wheel design, I am considering removing the entire steps/wheel/food dish assembly and going with a small/ mini silent spinner wheel. I am already using a small ceramic food bowl, and not only will this take care of the other issues, it will make for even more floor space in the pad.


Conclusions:


Overall, the issues I have are easy enough to figure out solutions for, and because of this I think it is a very good habitat. Value wise, because of the high initial cost, and the need to place another food bowl in the pad along with the possibility of replacing the wheel, make it more expensive than most alternatives for Roborovskis. Because of this, I would not recommend it for the budget-conscious. But, if you like the cool styling along with the features that it offers to you and your hamster, I think it is one of the best available all-in-one options out there!


Since there are many add-ons, and the ability to connect to older habitrail systems, it makes it very expandable, which if you have the room could make for a very fun and interesting place for your Robo! I didn't want to include the add-ons in my review, but because the expandable options are nearly limitless, it is worth mentioning.


I hope this review helps anyone thinking about purchasing the Habitrail OVO dwarf hamster habitat. If anyone has questions, or would like to share their own personal experiences with this particular OVO habitat for their Robo hamsters, or available add-ons, please post them here! I hope we can create a very informative thread and we can all learn from each other's experience!


Thanks for reading!


Will


You can find more about the Habitrail OVO dwarf hamster habitat on the habitrail site here:

http://www.habitrail.com/ovo/eng/news/dwarf.php

November 20, 2010 at 10:34 PM Flag Quote & Reply

MrsFish
Moderator
Posts: 1346

Great review you have given us and detailed well too .Though this set-up looks to fusy for me ..I prefer the aquarium set-ups.Tracy:D

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Mrs Fish

Please remember "1photo" per album rule guys ok...:D.

November 28, 2010 at 9:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Buddy and Chip II
Member
Posts: 97

Thank you for discussing how to prevent the water bottle from leaking, as I have been having major problems with it.

Also, this is a splendid review, I agree with everything you've typed up. :)

--

Taming Status:

 

Chip II: Improving. Chip has come a long way. The biting has decreased (though he still bites every once in a while, I'm still trying to figure out why he bites more than average), and I can hold him and walk all over with him in my hands, he's not as squirmy anymore. I'm able to stroke him without him running away.

Buddy: Improving. Buddy has probably come farther than Chip. I've seen a major change in him. I'm able to hold him a bit easier now (I don't trust walking all over my house with him in my hands, though), and I can stroke him without him spooking. Although he still spooks whenever I open the cage door, I think he's come a long way.

If you have any taming tips and/or tricks, please message me! Every bit of advice helps. :)

~Buddy and Chip II

R.I.P Paris

iheartdewey's lovely hamster

"The brightest little firecracker in the world"

R.I.P Kiwi and Kumquat

iluvKumquat's lovely hamsters

"The Yin-Yang of the world"

R.I.P Flash

brandontherobolover's lovely hamster

"The brightest fighter in the world"

Chip wishes you a Happy New Year!

November 28, 2010 at 1:13 PM Flag Quote & Reply

AnimalsFurEver
Member
Posts: 25

That's a realy good reveiw! It will realy help for any one who has one, :)

November 30, 2010 at 7:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

FionaR
Member
Posts: 68

I just got one of these (£1.04 from ebay - I'm very proud of that purchase!) and I had the same problems with a couple of those things.


Water bottle - I wasn't as patient as you and gave up on the Habitrail bottle straight away! I managed to attach a regular water bottle (cylinder shape with the long metal bit for drinking from) by looping elastic bands through the little holes in the sides of the bottle holder and around the water bottle so that it was being pulled tight from both sides. (I have no idea if that description makes sense to anyone other than me!) The hole through to the cage is covered by the bottle so no risk of hammies escaping, and the bottle is held upright :-)


Wheel and food dish - I took out the wheel that came with the cage and just use a freestading one, and a separate food dish. Gives the hammy more space in that part of the cage as well.


Great review, thanks!

May 9, 2011 at 6:09 PM Flag Quote & Reply

RunningRobos
Member
Posts: 231

Great review, I like the cage, but it's so much easier for me to clean aquarium type cages and a lot easier access to my hamsters. I do have a few tubes around the cage for tunneling.

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May 9, 2011 at 6:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Artcele
Member
Posts: 171

This cage arrived at my house last Friday, and I love it!

For the stairs, I cut strips of sandpaper with a sticky bottom to fit the two steps, and stuck them on. It works and it looks nice! My Roborovski has no problem getting up to his food now.

July 16, 2011 at 10:13 PM Flag Quote & Reply

vvman89
Member
Posts: 9

Totally agree with the wheel and food area. I just got my hammies not more than 2 hours. I heard "tap" sound from the cage and to my surprise is the sound of my hammy's leg slipped into the gap of the wheel. I took the wheel out and will be buying a solid gap-less wheel for it tomorrow. Thanks to this post, I already prepared a food bowl for them.

Now my only concern is the water bottle, because I yet to see them drinking from the bottle. Hopefully I don't have to 'redesign' for the water bottle as well.

*Just incase, if they don't know where to get the water, what should I change?

June 9, 2013 at 11:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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