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Adopt a Hamster: Things to Consider Before Getting One!

I’ll be the first to admit it.

When I got my hamster, Bubbles, I went to the pet store and bought him.

And I could never imagine having chosen someone else over him.

However, I know hamsters have a relatively short life span, and Bubbles won’t be around in a couple of years.

And my next hamster will not be from the pet store. Here’s what I’m going to do instead.

I will adopt a hamster.

Get our handbook of hamster ownership!

Why Adopt a Hamster?

The reason is that there is an overpopulation of pets in the US [1].

And while there are no estimates for the number of hamsters euthanized, approximately 3 million dogs are put down due to shelters being full and a lack of adoptive homes – every year.

For much more on animal adoption, we highly recommend heading over to https://www.wileypup.com who has put together an excellent article on the subject you can read right here: Why Adopt a Shelter Dog? 20 Astonishing Shelter Dog Facts. [2]

Those Statistics Sound Awful, But Aren’t Adoptive Hamsters Harder to Integrate into My Family?

a cute hamster, how to adopt a hamster

After reading the statistics, I was not convinced that adoption was right for me.

After all, wouldn’t it be harder to get a well-socialized hamster if I adopted one?

I decided to dig deeper, and here’s what I found:

  • Shelters are generally better at caring for hamsters compared to pet stores.
  • As an example, many pet stores will have Syrian Hamsters [3] in cages where they are with other hamsters, which they under no circumstances should be. This does not happen at shelters and humane societies.
a pregnant hamsters with her childs

Shelters will sex the animals to make sure no one accidentally gets pregnant.

Again, this is not necessarily the case at pet stores (it is pretty hard to determine the sex of a hamster), and there have been stories where people have brought home a pregnant hamster from the pet store.

READ MORE: Do Hamsters Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Humane Societies Go Above & Beyond in Taking Care of Animals

Below is a story from the Heritage Humane Society [4] of what happened when 30 hamsters were brought in during the Summer of 2016.

I think the story really highlights how much work is done before putting animals up for adoption.

“Most of them did find a home; however, we did have a few escapees who ended up in hostile territory (i.e. our free-roaming cat area room and 2 ventured into the dog kennels). Having that many dropped off without the proper cages and the proper bedding and food caused us to purchase these items again, a huge burden for a shelter. We finally managed to keep up with separating them prior to any more pregnancies thanks to our vet who had to take them to her clinic and use a high powered light to sex them.”

The story convinced me that humane societies go above and beyond in caring for the animals that are brought in.

And to top it off, they have vets that will ensure no one does anything “good-hearted but the wrong action”.

After reading this, you might be thinking:

“I’m going to adopt an animal right now!”.

I know I was just typing this…

However, that is probably not the right conclusion which brings us to item number 1 to consider.

Related: How old do you have to be to buy a hamster?

Don’t Make An Emotional Decision

a hamster eating carrot

When you decide the time is right, you should leave your emotions at the door.

Why?

Because it can be hard to go into a shelter, you will be greeted by lots of cute, happy animals, and you might feel like adopting all of them.

However, it is critical to remember what you came for and be methodical so you don’t do something you’ll regret later.

What it Takes to Have a Hamster

Going home with your hamster is a big moment.

And before you bring home a hamster, you should make sure you have the following (or can get it on the way home):

  • A hamster cage
  • Hamster food
  • Hamster toys, most importantly a wheel

Once you get home, you also want to start taming your hamster.

The best way to do so is to let it adjust to its cage for a couple of days before starting. Both of you start adjusting to your new life.

That is sufficient for the first few days, and we recommend checking out our big hamster guide, so you know how to take the best possible care of your little hamster.

Check: Are All Hamsters Nocturnal?

Pet Adoption Resources

There are a lot of good websites linked below that show hamsters you can adopt in your area.

a cute hamster to adopt

However, before using them, you should just try to call your local shelter.

The reason is quite simple, many shelters don’t post the animals online as it takes significant effort to take pictures and upload them to different portals.

So, start by calling the shelter.

I recommend going through hamster adoption sites if they do not have any hamsters available. On my list below, you can find the most popular ones:

Now it’s Time To Help an Animal

 I hope this article has shed light on the many positives of adopting a hamster instead of buying one.

I had always kept the option at a distance – I knew it was the right thing to do, but I looked the other way and still went to the pet store.

However, after studying the subject and reading the stories, I know that adoption is the best option for my family and me.

And that is mainly because I know I’ll bring home a hamster that has been well taken care of at the shelter with no risk of hamster babies.

Resources

  • 1. Companion Animal Overpopulation and Homelessness [Internet]. PETA. 2010 [cited 2022 Jan 13]. Available from: https://www.peta.org/issues/companion-animal-issues/overpopulation/
  • 2. Why Adopt a Shelter Dog? 20 Astonishing Shelter Dog Facts – wileypup.com [Internet]. wileypup.com. 2019. Available from: https://www.wileypup.com/why-adopt-a-shelter-dog/
  • 3. Hamster care – everything you need to know | RSPCA [Internet]. Rspca.org.uk. 2017. Available from: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rodents/hamsters
  • 4. Home [Internet]. Heritage Humane. [cited 2022 Jan 13]. Available from: http://heritagehumanesociety.org/
a hamster in a men's hand

When was the last time you adopted a hamster? Please let us know in the comments below!

Andreea Juganaru
Andreea Juganaru

Andreea is a very passionate content creator and her purpose is to provide you with the most interesting articles, while constantly discovering new facts. She’s been freelance writing for the past five years and has created numerous articles and educational materials while managing her own mom blog.
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