having recently become co-guardians of a hamster, my friend and i needed a way to contain the hamster because it had chewed through the cardboard box it came in. my friend found a large goldfish-bowl-vase in the backyard and jokingly suggested we use it. but it was actually a good idea - the hamster can't climb up the glass walls. we filled the vessel with things that were around: grass and dried leaves, some flowers, two large pieces of apple ("this will be your food and your drink"), and large, dry magnolia leaves to create a bit of a tent.
we watched to see if our enclosure was working (can the hamster get out? will the hamster be ok in it?) and made adjustments here and there. the magnolia leaves actually ended up being very effective because they are too big and slippery for the hamster to climb very reliably, so they offer shade without providing a way to escape.
here's what our habitat looks like:
the hamster has successfully overnighted in the habitat. i refilled it with a few fresh flowers and grass and readjusted the magnolia leaves as necessary. the hamster is calm and hidden in its nest.
a few lessons learned: