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Hamsters are fairly cheap in price, only costing around £5-£15. However, it is not the hamster that you should be worried about in terms of cost, the equipment and food needed for looking after a hamster properly, is what is going to cost you more.
The prices between hamster breeds don’t differ much either. Whether you want a Syrian hamster, a Chinese hamster, or a Dwarf hamster, the prices don’t vary much. However, sometimes if a particular breed is difficult to get in your country, then it may be more expensive.
To take care of hamsters are relatively cheap, needing fed only once a day, and cleaned out once or twice a week. You only really need to pay for food and bedding. The amount of food and bedding you go through will of course depend on your hamsters size, and how many you own (make sure that the breed you are planning on buying can be socialised as some hamsters will fight and kill each other when they have competition). There may be larger costs if you are planning on vets fees, but also cages can be quite expensive.
There aren’t many options for buying hamsters, but the go to is normally places such as Pets at Home. Alternatively you can re-home hamsters through adoption by getting them from places such as the Blue Cross and the RSPCA. Pet stores are often criticised for encouraging ‘mill breeding’, the breeding of animals on a large scale. Often animals involved in mill breeding are not treated very well and live in poor standards. Adopting from somewhere such as the Blue Cross is a good way to avoid mill breeding. There is also the option to buy from reputable breeders, these are people who breed animals on a smaller scale and take good care of the animals they breed. They breed hamsters due to their love for them, rather than to make a profit as mill breeding encourages.
When you go to buy a hamster make sure that you handle it first, it shouldn’t be too skinny or too fat and it shouldn’t have any unusual bumps or swellings. The coat should be smooth and fluffy with no bald patches. Also you should check to see if the tail is wet and whether it smells. If the tail is wet then the hamster may have a disease called ‘wet tail’ which is highly contagious. Handling it also lets you see how it reacts to being handled. It is also a good idea to go as late as possible so that the hamster is likely to be awake, that way you can see how active it is and get a sense of its personality. You should also check what age the hamster is, ideally you want to buy one that is around 4–6weeks old. However, adopting hamsters who are older is also a good way to help a furry friend in need of a home. Your local animal shelter should always be your first option before getting a hamster.