Where Can I Get a Hamster

You're looking for a pet hamster - but where can you get one? Whether the hamster is for you personally or for a child, hamsters make great pets! You may be thinking of your options, about where might be the best place to obtain a happy, healthy hamster friend. After doing some research, I found a few different places where you can find the perfect hamster for you.

Where Can I Get a Hamster?

The most common places where people get hamsters from are - 

  • Pet shops
  • Animal shelters
  • Hamster breeders
  • Online Ads
  • Friends

There are pros and cons to each of these options. Keep reading to learn more about your options and see which is the best way for you to buy or adopt your next hamster.

This post will discuss adopting any type of hamster. In case you're not familiar with this pet, there are several breeds: the Syrian hamster, Campbell's Russian Hamster, Winter White hamster, Roborovski’s hamster, and the Chinese hamster. The Syrian hamster is the only hamster out of the five that is not a dwarf hamster.

Where Can I get a hamster?

It’s great to know where to get a hamster friend, but it’s also important to take hamster welfare into consideration. Not every place that sells hamsters has the hamster's best interests in mind.

Some of these hamsters aren’t raised in the most humane way, or in the best conditions. This can lead to the hamsters being sickly and not living very long. Following are some pros and cons of purchasing hamsters from certain people.

Hamster Breeders

Hamster breeders are great people to buy hamsters from! If you want a specific breed of a hamster or a specific color, then a hamster breeder if the perfect person to go to, as they tend to have various breeds with different coats. Unfortunately, not every hamster breeder treats their hamsters humanely, and a con of getting a hamster friend from a breeder is that you aren’t always sure whether or not they’re being treated right.

Purchasing from a local small-scale breeder is the best way to ensure that the hamsters have been raised in humane conditions. Hamster experts recommend that good hamster breeders keep detailed records of their hamsters. Each hamster should be clearly identified, and their individual records should their date of birth, coat color, sex, medical records, and a breeding log. The breeding log should contain every single one of their matings and the number of their offspring.

Any breeder who doesn’t have any records for any of their hamsters is questionable, and you should definitely look elsewhere and consider reporting the breeder.

Pet Stores

Hamsters in a Pet Store
Hamsters in a Pet Shop | Photo by Joanbanjo

Pet stores are the common places that sell hamsters, and it’s where most people who want hamsters go. They seem to be the most reputable. However, pet stores do receive their supply of hamsters from breeding mills, and not every breeding mill has high welfare standards for their hamsters.

Small, independent pet stores are more likely to buy their hamsters from local breeders they know and trust, Some independent pet stores also breed hamsters themselves, and are known to be more trustworthy than large-scale pet stores. Since they have fewer hamsters, they can dedicate more time and care to each one.

When buying a hamster from a pet store, be sure to take a good look at all the hamsters and their cages. Take notice of the cage conditions, whether they are well kept or not, and try to see if they have a sufficient amount of food and water. Also look to see if the hamsters are given enough space to run around, or if they’re tightly packed into small cages. If this is true, the chances are that this pet store isn't taking good care of their animals.

It’s a good idea to also look at the hamsters themselves; not just the one you want to buy, but all of them. Are all their coats smooth and shiny looking? Do they all have bright eyes? Are they energetic, or are they more lethargic? Noticing these little things can tell you whether or not the hamsters have been taken good care of.

If the hamsters are showing signs of being lethargic or sick, it's recommended you look elsewhere for your new hamster friend.

Animal Shelters

Animal shelters are another great place to find a new furry hamster friend! Known to few, hamsters are actually available at many animal shelters. Adopting fees are very reasonable; they can be as little as $5, which is definitely a pro. You can ask the the staff about the personality and temperaments of their hamsters before you decide on one, so you can see which is the best for you.

However, hamsters don’t have a very long lifespan. The average lifespan depends on the breed, but it’s usually between 2-4 years. Hamsters in shelters, unless they are fresh babies, tend to be pretty aged. When you take on a hamster from an animal shelter, you’re taking them with the knowledge that they won’t be living too long.

An Online Ad

There are ads online to purchase a new furry hamster friend. However, you should be cautious with this option.

Please do not respond to an ad online that suggests the breeder will mail the pet hamster to you, as no responsible breeder would ever mail a live hamster. Mailing a hamster would severely stress out the poor thing, and most likely the hamster would die.

Going online to purchase a hamster isn’t the best idea, even if there is the option for you to go pick up the hamster yourself. From purchasing online, you have no idea what the hamsters personality or temperament are like. Not only that, but you have not seen the hamster in person; you don’t know whether the hamster is healthy or not. For all you know, you could be purchasing an ill, dying hamster.

It’s best to go in person to survey the hamster you want, to ensure that it’s both healthy and well taken care of.

A Friend's Hamster?

Another way to obtain a pet hamster is to purchase a baby hamster from a friend. When hamsters have babies, it’s important to separate the babies from the mother once they're weaned. With Syrian hamsters, having so many growing hamsters around her could potentially stress the mother. Even though mother hamsters sometimes kill their offspring, the solution is not to separate the babies from the mother around birth. Baby hamsters are born deaf, blind and with no fur. They need their mother in order to survive.

If your friends' mother hamster is pregnant and you're planning on adopting one of the babies, please make sure they read this article about why hamsters sometimes eat their babies. They'll find advice there on how to prevent that from happening. Either way, don't let that be a reason to separate the babies from the mother too early.

Getting a hamster from a friend may actually be a good thing for you, as you can see in person how well they take care of their hamster. Plus you're getting the hamster as a baby, which makes it much easier to bond with you.

A downside to purchasing for a friend could be the actual purchasing. Your friend may not want to give you a reasonable price range, and this could potentially cause issues. On the other hand, they may actually be happy to give away the babies for free, as long as they know you're giving them a good home.

Be a responsible and ethical buyer of hamsters

Hamsters make wonderful furry friends! When it comes to their welfare, not everyone is considerate and kind. When going out to buy your hamster, doing a little bit of research will do a lot of help. It’ll help you find the right hamster for you who has been treated with care and who is perfectly healthy.

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