Are you researching where to buy a hamster?
Most local pet stores sell hamsters. But you can also get hamsters from small breeders and at hamster shows. You can even adopt hamsters from local animal shelters.
The most reliable source for a new pet hamster is a local breeder. They are often part of local and regional groups and therefore can be found with a quick online search.
Let's take a look at where to buy a hamster for a healthy and happy pet.
Where is the best place to buy a hamster?
Hecute hamstermakes a great pet for a family. In fact, many people keep hamsters as a child's first pet.
They are beautiful, relatively easy to care for, and generally not very expensive. Also, they don't take up much space, but they still need certain amenities like a cage, toys, and the right food.
Everyone has seen hamsters being sold at the local pet store along with other small animals like mice, guinea pigs and birds.
Are pet stores the only places to get a hamster? Are they the best place or is it better somewhere else? And are there hamster pet stores specifically for these cute little creatures?
Let's take a look at all the different places you can get your new pet hamster!
Where can I buy a hamster?
Of course, most pet stores sell hamsters. But when it comes to getting a hamster, they're not the only game in town.
You can also buy hamsters directly from hamster breeders and at hamster shows.
There are some hamster stores that focus on these little creatures.
And did you know that you can also adopt homeless hamsters from your local animal shelter? Many animal shelters and rescue groups keep a variety of animals in addition to cats and dogs, including small pets like hamsters.
Let's take a look at each option.
Where to buy a hamster: hamster breeders
The most reliable way to ensure that your hamster came from a reputable source and was bred in a species-appropriate manner is to purchase it from a local small-scale breeder.
Hamster Breeders are also a good resource if you are interested in a specific color or type of hamster that is not commonly found in hamster pet stores.
They are also the best place to buy hamsters if you are interested in trying to breed hamsters yourself!
Getting a Hamster from a Breeder
Now you're probably wondering, "How can I find hamster breeders near me?"
They might be easier to find than you think. Many hamster breeders belong to local or regional clubs (or less formal groups) with members who breed and show hamsters in a specific geographic area.
These groups almost always have a website, which you can find with a quick Internet search.
Online hamster communities
There is no national association of hamster breeders in the US, but most states have at least one hamster fan club that also maintains an online directory of hamster breeders in your area.
For example, heCalifornia hamster organizationis a well known hamster club in Southern California.
You can also join online forums like this one.hamster hiding forumand contact hamster breeders and hobbyists in your area.
In the UK it isNational Council of Hamsters(NHC) is the leading organization for hamster breeders and has three regional clubs that maintain breeder rosters and organize hamster shows.
The NHC is the world's oldest and most well-known organization for hamster breeders.
Find a good hamster breeder
How do you know if your hamster's breeder is trustworthy?
Hamster experts recommend that good breeders keep detailed records of their breeding population. Each hamster must be clearly identified. Individual records must include:
- date of birth
- show wins
- medical records
- Stud and mating book.
The studbook should record all matings and details such as the number of puppies and postnatal deaths.
Medical records must be kept for each hamster detailing all illnesses and treatments.
Where to get a hamster: hamster shows
Hamster breeders often take their hamsters to shows to display and sell them.
They are usually run by volunteers who love hamsters and are dedicated and passionate about fostering them as pets and working for their welfare.
Finding a hamster show near you depends on having one of these remarkable people operating in your area.
The UK has a well-established calendar of hamster shows organized by local NHC clubs.
If you can't find a hamster show near you in the US, you can still buy hamsters from breeders at local pet shows.
Where to buy a hamster: Pet Expos
Visiting an animal fair near you is a great way to meet local breeders. It's also a good opportunity to buy a hamster and pet supplies.
Most large metropolitan areas host at least one pet show per year, usually held in convention centers.
tu county festivals4 hour showsThese are also good places to find hamsters from local breeders, especially if you live in a rural area.
The 4-H organization has a service animal department that includes small pets such as hamsters. Most 4-H events are administered by government college counseling services.
Your local college's counseling service website should have a link to upcoming 4-H pet shows and events.
Where to get a hamster: Hamster Pet Store
Pet stores that sell hamsters are common. Most people probably buy their hamsters from pet stores rather than from individual breeders.
What do you need to know before buying a hamster from a pet store?
Let's cover some of the main details.
the hamster shed
Almost every pet store in the country speaks the right language about animal welfare. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the path.
And that means some pet store hamsters still come from commercial hatcheries with poor welfare standards.
Large-scale commercial animal breeders are inspected and licensed by the US Department of Agriculture, but even a licensed facility can run into problems. For example, the minimum allowed cage size is too small.
2016,a secret investigationa factory that sold to large animal supermarkets found small animals living in very inhumane conditions (WARNING: the link contains very disturbing content).
But the good news is that we, as consumers and pet owners, can help eradicate bad breeding practices by asking the right questions and buying from stores that truly guarantee their stock was humanely raised.
Find an ethical hamster store
Start with small, independent pet stores in your area. They are more likely to buy their hamsters from local breeders they know and trust. Some pet store owners are also hobby breeders.
Make sure the cages in the warehouse are clean, well maintained and have adequate food, water and space.
Look for pet store hamsters with smooth, shiny fur, bright eyes, and no discharge from the eyes, nose, or rump. This applies not just to the hamster you like, but to all your cagemates.
Your new hamster should be healthy and alive. Visit pet stores in the late afternoon or early evening to see your hamster in action while he gets plenty of sleep during the day!
Baby hamsters sold at a pet store should be between 4 and 8 weeks old. Store staff should be able to tell exactly when the hamsters were born.
Where to get a hamster: hamsters for adoption
You don't have to go to a pet store or hatchery to get a hamster.
Hamsters are available for adoption at many animal shelters, and there are many benefits to giving a hamster a forever home.
You can ask the staff at the shelter about their personalities, and it's likely they've also been through a vet before being accepted for adoption.
I looked up adoptable hamsters on petfinder.com. In just one US zip code, I got an impressive 59 results!
Most hamsters were in small animal rescue organizations and traditional animal shelters. Adoption fees for small pets like hamsters tend to be very affordable, usually no more than $5.
Where to buy a hamster: Can you order a hamster online?
These days, there doesn't seem to be much you can't buy online, and some people even ask if they can buy their next pet online.
To be clear, no responsible breeder will agree to send you a live hamster. A trip in the mail would be extremely stressful for a baby hamster and would likely kill him.
The US Postal Service and most mail carriers such as UPS understand this and therefore do not ship live mammals.
get a hamster
It is worth noting that many consider hamsters to be "beginner" pets. They don't seem to be investing as much time, attention and money.
This perception may be reinforced by the fact that hamsters are relatively cheap and easy to find. Finally, hamsters are available at most pet stores and usually don't cost much.
However, we recommend any potential homeowners do their research. Hamsters may be small, cheap, and easy to find, but that doesn't mean they deserve any less attention and care.
There is also the added potential difficulty of finding a veterinarian who can care for your hamster. Not all veterinarians work with small animals.
It is also very important that you have a hamster-proof home and that you can provide the equipment, toys, food, and general environment that will result in a happy, healthy hamster friend.
Best place to buy a hamster
Amateur hamster breeders are a great choice for people who want to learn more about their hamster breeding and lineage, especially if you plan on showing or breeding your hamster in the future.
Breeders also tend to have some interesting colors and varieties of hamsters not normally found in pet stores.
Another great option is to house hamsters. There are likely to be many hamsters available for adoption from animal shelters and rescue organizations in your area.
If you decide to shop at a pet store, look for small, independent pet stores that can tell you exactly where their hamsters are from. And never order a hamster online!
Where can I buy a hamster?
We've covered the different answers to this frequently asked question. Now is the time to share your own experiences with us!
How did you find your hamster friend? What advice would you give someone looking for where to buy a hamster?
Please share them via the comment box below!
- price, l."Are hamsters from a USDA-licensed breeder better?"California Hamster Association
- Nine Facts You Should Know Before Considering a Hamster, PETA