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Questions And Answers

Where Can I Take My Unwanted Hamster?

Last Updated on: 24th September 2023, 10:16 pm

Hamster ownership is a greater commitment than many people realize. Also, personal circumstances can change, meaning you can no longer care for the hamster.

You can take an unwanted hamster to an animal rescue shelter, which will find it a new home. If you no longer want the hamster, ask friends and family if they’re interested in a new pet.

Some pet stores will accept unwanted hamsters back with a valid receipt within 14 days of the sale. You could sell the hamster online, but ensure it’s going to a good home with a suitable cage setup.

I Don’t Want My Hamster Anymore

If you no longer want a hamster, you’ll need to find it a safe and loving home.

While hamsters only have short lifespans, they require a high level of care. Unfortunately, not all owners have sufficient time to meet these needs.

Hamsters can be unfriendly if they’re not tamed properly. For young children, this can be problematic, especially if the hamster bites their sensitive fingers.

Hamsters are notorious escape artists. If their cages aren’t properly secured, they can scale the walls of their enclosure and find a way out. This is a stressful experience for owners.

You may have an allergy to small animal dander, or another pet could end the hamster’s life. Also, living situations can change, such as a no-pets policy on a rental property.

If keeping your pet is no longer viable, you should consider rehoming the hamster.

what to do with a hamster you can't keep

Where Can I Give My Hamster Away?

Selling or giving a hamster away could be a good idea, provided you find it a good home. That way, you can ensure the home has a suitable setup and good intentions. There are various options, including:

  • Giving the hamster to a friend or family member.
  • Selling the hamster to a stranger.
  • Listing the hamster for sale online.

See if someone you know and trust would be willing to take the hamster from you. However, finding a friend or family member willing to take on the responsibility isn’t always possible.

You can try selling your hamster by listing it online or placing an advert in a local paper.

Before relinquishing the hamster from your care, ask potential owners about their intentions. Even if you don’t want the hamster anymore, you should still ensure it doesn’t come to any harm.

Ask them for photos of their setup to ensure they can properly care for your hamster. They should provide a large enough cage, a wheel, deep bedding, and accessories.

Doing these things will ensure you rehome your hamster to someone who will love it as a pet instead of someone looking for snake food or a lab test subject.

According to The Laboratory Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Hamster, and Other Rodents, Syrian hamsters are commonly used in laboratory experiments.  

Should I Release My Hamster to Nature?

The easiest option for getting rid of a hamster would be to release it into nature. After all, hamsters originate from wild habitats, and domesticated pets are ill-equipped to survive.

Companion Animals explains that hamsters are prey animals. As the hamster hasn’t had to defend itself against larger animals in captivity, it would likely be killed by a predator, like a cat.

The hamster could succumb to dehydration, starvation, or exposure to the elements.

Bedding also differs from outdoor terrain, preventing hamsters from burrowing for warmth and security. This leaves them vulnerable and highly stressed.

There are laws about releasing animals into the wild. Hamsters that aren’t native to their surroundings destroy ecosystems and breed, threatening local plants and wildlife.

There are kinder ways to rehome a hamster, so never consider releasing it into the wild.

Can I Take My Hamster Back to the Pet Shop?

At this point, you may be wondering, will pet stores take hamsters? While all pet stores have different policies, most national chain stores won’t buy a hamster from you or take the hamster back for free.

Pet stores get hamsters through certain breeders, which means they have enough animals to sell.

Stores won’t take on hamsters if they don’t know their age and health condition. That’s because they don’t want to be responsible to a future owner if a hamster dies soon after it leaves the store or for any health conditions that occur once the hamster goes to its new home.

Another reason pet stores rarely take in unwanted hamsters is that they tend to stop selling them at 12 weeks old. At this point, they surrender the hamsters to rescue centers.

Some pet stores will take back recently sold hamsters if the owner has changed their mind and can no longer care for them. However, this comes down to individual stores and their policies.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth enquiring about. If you live near an independent pet store that prides itself on animal care, it may take the hamster from you to find a new, loving home.

can I take my hamster back to the pet shop?

Can You Surrender a Hamster to PetSmart?

PetSmart doesn’t accept surrendered hamsters because they have hamsters to sell and can’t care for unwanted animals.

However, you can return an unwanted hamster within 14 days of purchase with a valid receipt. After a brief quarantine period, PetSmart will put the hamster back up for sale.

If the hamster isn’t sold, it’ll be given to an animal shelter so it doesn’t live out its life in a pet store.

Taking Pets Back To Pets at Home

Pets at Home will rehome unwanted hamsters.

Many Pets at Home stores have adoption centers (run by the ‘Pets at Home Foundation’), which is a charity that finds suitable homes for animals that can no longer be cared for.

Unwanted hamsters remain in the centers until they find a home. During this time, the foundation will cover the costs of food, housing, and veterinary treatments.

Do Animal Shelters Take Hamsters?

As long as the shelter you’re taking your hamster to isn’t full, animal rescue centers will take unwanted animals to find them the right home.

Even if the animal shelter is full, it may be able to connect you with other rescuers in the area who can assist. So, it’s worth getting in touch with any centers in the area.

You may need to call around the local area to find a rescue center that accepts hamsters. Some only take cats and dogs, while others have the facilities to take in hamsters and other small animals.

Before dropping a hamster off, reach out to the animal shelter to check they have the space and capacity to care for it. Also, don’t anonymously leave it outside a rescue center for workers to find.