Where Do Pet Shops Get Hamsters From?


“When you buy a hamster from a pet store chain you are making more space for another animal to be bred in a Rodent Mill”



Chain Pet Stores Have Rodent Mills


Most Big chain pet stores sadly have something called a rodent mill. Rodent mills are big warehouses that breed hamsters with very little care. The female hamsters will be bread to death, these places will contain the hamsters in small, crowded and dirty boxes. The hamsters will then start to become stressed due to the small / crowded enclosures and this can possibly trigger health conditions alongside the poor breeding and genetics.


PETA UK went inside a pet mill in Europe. This is the article they wrote about what they found inside:


The Heartbreaking Story of How Animals are Bred for the European Pet Trade


rodent farm cage


Inside a Rodent Mill


TikTok Video from @nalathehammyy




PETA Investigation Inside a Pet Mill




Sadly, some of the new baby hamsters may not make it to the pet store. There have been reports of hamsters and animals having conditions such as wet tail, skin conditions, neurological problems, brachycephalic and hydrocephalus. A Brachycephalic / hydrocephalus hamster could have various genetic problems, they can have a short squished-in face and brittle teeth and they would then need a special mushy diet. Some may have water on the brain that can cause a lot more problems.



A Video of a Brachycephalic Rescue and Diet Demonstration




Hamster Rescues


Rescues are big or small organisations that will take on hamsters that are in a neglectful situation, abandoned, given up to, and seen offered for sale on websites in poor care.


Here’s what a Hamster Rescue will do:

  • Most rescues will help the hamster by vet checking, taking care and taming them.
  • They will be looking at your care knowledge and guiding you on the best care.
  • They will be looking at what cage, wheel etc. that you have got for your soon to be hamster.
  • They will give you information and will check up to see how everything is.
  • They will also get you to sign paperwork to say that you will care for the hamster properly and that the hamster is yours.
  • Some pet stores have rescues attached to them, these rescues are normally of hamsters that get returned or have not been sold or have any other problems, any hamster brought from the adoption section the money will go to the rescue and not the pet store. Most rescues have a small rescue fee, this fee will go to the rescue to cover costs such as vet bills, food, bedding etc.


List of Some Hamster Rescues


Happy Hamsters Co. – UK Durham and York


Tiny Paws MCR – UK Manchester


Cosy Paws Hamster Rescue – UK Manchester Bolton


Hamster Haven UK –  Cheshire and North Wales


Bacchus Residents – Cheshire




Blue Cross – UK


Wee Critters Small Animal Rescue –  UK North Kessock Inverness Highlands Scotland


Tiny Tales Derby – UK Derby


Happy Paws Rodent Rescue – UK Stroud, Gloucestershire


Munchie’s Place for Homeless Pets – USA Maple Valley, Washington


Strong Brew Hamstery – Canada, Mississauga


We would love to hear about more rescues and we will be launching a rescue section on the site. If there are any rescues you would like us to mention please get in touch.



Ethical Breeders

  • An Ethical breeder will breed an animal for their health, temperament, blood line etc.
  • When starting their journey they will often shadow under another ethical breeder.
  • Ethical breeders will have a vet to check on their animals when needed.
  • They will not over breed an animal and they will keep them in a perfect enclosure and feed them a healthy diet etc.
  • They will have very high standards for their animals and they will be very interested to see what care you will be giving; they will help and advise you on your animal care. For example, discussing appropriate cage size.
  • They will keep records of their animals, even the ones that are been sold.
  • A Ethical breeder will care more about the animal than the money.
  • You can tell a hamster is ethically bred by their eyes, ears, coat, overall temperament of the hamster and also the care the breeder gives to their hamsters.




Here’s what Strong Brew Hamstery an Ethical Breeder says on their website:




“Why Adopt from SBH?

We understand that you can easily go to the pet store for a hamster. However, choosing a pet from Strong Brew has many benefits:

  • Strong Brew Hamsters are raised ethically and with love – this means that we do not overbreed our females, breed too young, or house improperly – most importantly we are not back yard breeders
  • We are committed to providing the best care possible to our hamsters
  • We strive hard to have good genetic temperament – this means our hamsters are naturally friendly with minimal handling. However, we love our pups dearly, so any hamster born at SBH is handled frequently, and should be well adjusted to humans and handling
  • We know almost everything about a pup’s genotype, and their phenotype as well – this means we can tell you what genes they carry, and what the hamster’s colour/pattern/fur type is called
  • You will adopt your pup with a care package, and we will provide a pedigree to the best of our knowledge
    Should you wish, and I am able, I will show you baby pictures of your pup
  • We will carefully go through proper care with you, and help you select the best pup for your lifestyle and wishes
  • Our hamsters are bred with a specific goal in mind and not simply to “produce more hamsters”
  • You will know the hamster’s lineage, and likely their parents, should the sire be in house
  • You will have constant communication with us about husbandry, care, etc. should you so wish

How does this differ from a pet shop animal? Well, just like puppies are in puppy mills, rodents are bred in rodent mills.


Rodent mills are an integral part in the North American pet trade. Our pet shops are supplied by distributors, who get their animals en masse from “breeders”. These breeders run mills. They put no thought into the health, temperament and longevity of these animals. The animals are money making, profit machines. They are overbred and wildly neglected, mistreated and abused.


Every time you buy a hamster from a shop, you are putting money back into the hands of this store, these breeders, and making more space for more animals to be abused long term. You aren’t rescuing that hamster, though you might provide better for them – you are opening up that space for more hamsters to be born into this hell. You are tacitly and financially approving rodent mills.




Please Avoid Backyard Hamster Breeders

  • Backyard breeders will be only breed for the money.
  • They will not look into the mum’s and dad’s genetics like the ethical breeder would.
  • They tend to over breed their animals until they cannot breed anymore (like pet mills.)
  • The animals may be in horrible conditions and in a stressful environment.
  • They will not look into your care knowledge before getting an animal.
  • Backyard breeders will put two store brought hamsters together and make them breed.
  • They will not look into ethical breeder’s research into breeding.