If you are seriously thinking about getting a hamster, do consider going to a rescue centre – there are so many unwanted and unloved creatures in this world all just hoping to be given a home and lot of TLC.
If you have any unwanted hamster cages that are in good condition and could be re-used, these are often greatly appreciated by hamster rescue centres who can then re-home hamsters in them, thereby saving the new owner the expense of buying a cage. It’s a good idea to phone the centre beforehand to check that they want it as some cages/tanks on sale are not particularly suitable.
To read some of my stories of rescued hamsters, click on the links below.
Scruffy’s owner loved hamsters. Unfortunately he had to go into hospital for a month, so he arranged for a neighbour to feed his pets while he was away. After a month he was allowed home for a brief visit only to find that no one had fed his pets. All his birds were dead and his beloved hamsters were in a very bad way. He knew he had no alternative other than to ask the RSPCA to take them from him as that way they would at least be fed and looked after when he returned to hospital.
Scruffy was so traumatised when the RSPCA tried to move him that he screamed. Even after being re-homed he was quite nervous until his cage was moved next to a pretty female hamster called Wheelie. Love struck Scruffy relocated his nest from under the platform in his cage to out in the open so he knew when Wheelie was up and about. The pair spent many hours sniffing each other and chewing their bars together. After about a year sadly Wheelie was taken ill suddenly and had to be put to sleep. Scruffy pined for her and less than a week later he died. They were buried together in the garden!
Wheelie got her name because she was found in wheelie bin by a binman who was collecting rubbish from a block of flats. Wheelie and her brother had been tied up with string and taped inside a black sack before being thrown out with the rubbish. Fortunately the bag split open and they were spotted by a binman.
They were both taken to an RSPCA centre and re-homed from there.
Despite the awful way Wheelie had been treated she was a very trusting and loving hamster. Wheelie and Scruffy were clearly good for each other and it can be seen from their story that you should never underestimate the power of friendships between animals. Although, had they met outside their cages, being Syrian hamsters, they probably would have attacked each other!
Tripod is another sad, but typical case. Abandoned in a box in an alleyway, he and his young brothers and sisters were badly neglected and undernourished. Tripod and one of his brothers had serious leg injuries, possibly due to the type of fluffy synthetic bedding that had been given to them. The danger of this type of bedding is that it can tighten round the hamsters’ legs and they are unable to chew through it to free themselves. One of the hamsters had been so badly injured he had gnawed his own leg off.
Tripod required immediate surgery to remove the damaged leg. Fortunately for Tripod it was one of his back legs that had been injured, and for a hamster in captivity, this does not present much of a problem. Apart from not being allowed a wheel in his cage which would result in over use of the other rear leg, and possible rubbing of his ‘stump’ he lives a perfectly normal and happy life.
Ted and Cassie were rescued from the same house. A young child had purchased them from a local pet shop. Despite his obvious love for them he did not understand how to look after them. His parents would not allow any pets in the house and subsequently they had been kept in the garden in inadequate conditions. Both had problems with their feet due to the cold weather at that time of year. The cold had turned Ted’s paws black and swollen and he had to have one of his fingers removed. It was touch and go whether he would survive but he did and he became an extremely friendly hamster despite all the hassle he had been put through with endless medication.
Cassie welcomed a warm home and plenty of food to recover from her ordeal and allow her paws to get better. She was a large hamster and very funny to watch as she always moved every morsel of food from her bowl into her nest – more often than not all in one go! Because of Cassie and Ted’s great temperament they were mated and Cassie produced 12 babies which all survived and were re-homed.
Sadly Oscar’s story is very common.
His owner didn’t realise that Syrians must be kept in their own cages from about 6-8 weeks. She kept a number together who subsequently produced babies. As they were overcrowded in their cage they all ended up fighting. Oscar was very badly injured, a great lump had been removed from his side and it was doubtful whether or not the wound would heal. Oscar has a real fighting spirit and did survive and today only shows the physical scars of badly shredded ears. He is an incredibly friendly and docile hamster despite the trauma of his childhood.
Bonny was a very young mother with a litter of five. When she arrived it was immediately noticed that she had a leg injury.
She was monitored closely although as she was feeding her young there was little anyone could do to help her. She didn’t appear to be in any pain and therefore it was decided to leave her until her litter had been taken away from her before her leg was properly examined and she was put on any drugs.
She arrived on what was the hottest weekend of the year ever in this country. Despite being put in a cool room, with the fan going all night and day, she decided she was too hot to look after her young and subsequently abandoned them. A whole night was spent with her, trying to coax her back to the nest to feed her young who were by now very hungry. In the morning she returned to them.
During the day she decided to relocate her nest to the other side of the cage and accidentally left the runt of the litter behind. He was found that afternoon, buried in sawdust and very cold. He was warmed up gently by hand and fed warm milk through a dropper although he was so small the drop of milk was too large to go into his mouth. With a bit a persuasion Bonny took him back and fed him. He remained considerably smaller than the rest of the litter and was therefore named Half Pint. He has now gained weight and is incredibly friendly and active. Bonny has since been to the vet to have her leg examined. It appears that either she broke it when she was a baby before being rescued or she is suffering from some birth deformity. For now her leg is being left alone but she is being monitored in case it needs amputating. She gets around perfectly well but drags her ‘dead’ leg behind her.
URGENT APPEAL – HOMES URGENTLY SOUGHT FOR HAMSTERS Current Rescues