Hamsters are the most commonly kept pet rodent in the world and although guinea pigs are a comfortable second, there is still a large gap between hamsters and guinea pigs in their popularity.
In recent years, the popularity of keeping a pet hamster has kept on increasing with people starting to wonder how the pet stores are able to meet demand.
This has caused a number of people to ask where pet stores get hamsters from prior to displaying them in their stores and with the big ethical push in animal treatment thats going on, we only expect the number of people reaching out about this to increase.
Where Do Pet Stores Get Hamsters?
As with many animals that are commonly kept as pets, there are a number of different sources that pet stores can get hamsters from. The most common source is commercial breeders who breed hamsters specifically for the pet trade.
Depending on the country, these breeders will usually have a license to operate and will follow all the necessary guidelines in terms of care and housing for their animals.
Unfortunately, many countries, including the USA have very relaxed rules about the treatment of rodents in breeding facilities when compared to other popular animals such as cats or dogs.
This is why there are a large number of rodent mills out there that breed their hamsters in poor conditions and although laws and regulations are changing, change is slow so we doubt that these rodent mills are going to go anywhere any time soon.
Depending on the pet store, they may also take donations from people who no longer want their pet hamster or have accidentally ended up with baby pet hamsters too.
This type of hamster sourcing tends to be more common in pet stores that are not chain stores as most chain stores already have supply contracts in place with commercial breeders that they are unable to deviate from.
Where Do Hamsters Live Before The Pet Shop?
The vast majority of hamsters that are sold in pet stores will come from commercial breeders who will usually keep their hamsters in large warehouse type set ups.
These set ups are often quite bare and provide little to no enrichment for the hamsters that are living there which can lead to a number of behavioral problems.
Hamsters that come from these types of breeding facilities are often not handled much, if at all, by humans which can make them quite scared of people and difficult to handle when they first go to their new homes.
Some pet stores will try and get their hamsters from better sources such as animal shelters or rescue centers but this is not always possible or practical.
Unfortunately, the accommodation of the hamsters prior to making their way to a pet store is often of low quality and rarely suitable for producing a healthy, happy, mentally stable hamster.
Can You Give Hamsters To Pet Stores?
If you have a hamster that you can no longer care for, your best option is to try and find a friend or family member who is willing to take on the responsibility.
Rehoming a pet should always be free of charge and you should never give your pet away to someone who you do not know or trust.
As we touched on earlier in the article, some pet stores, often the non-chain stores will be able to accept animal donations but many won’t do it.
Not only can it cause problems with their supply contracts but it can also present a risk of introducing illness or disease into their current hamsters too.
Are There Hamster Rescues?
There are a number of hamster rescues that have popped up over the years as the publics awareness of the poor conditions that many hamsters are kept in has increased.
These rescues often take in hamsters that have been abandoned, abused or neglected and work to get them healthy again before finding them new, loving homes.
If you are looking to adopt a hamster, we would always recommend checking out your local rescue first as there are so many hamsters in need of good homes.
What Happens To Hamsters That Don’t Get Sold?
Unfortunately, if a hamster doesn’t get sold from a pet store, their fate is often quite grim.
Some pet stores will sell their hamsters to laboratories for research purposes or to classrooms for dissection but many will simply euthanize them.