Let's hope it beats a pet rock.
August 29, 2007 7:42 AM   Subscribe

where's the best place to get a hamster in London? And a subtle black cage?

I'd like to get a hamster. As I'm located in London, it's not as easy as checking out CL and the like. I would like to find some place local that I can go to and check out a variety of hamsters, so make up my mind.

I've heard that the best ones come from hobbyists/breeders, rather than mass-bred pet stores...not sure if this is true!

So, once the hamster is selected... or even -before- it is selected, I'd like to get a black cage for it. I've seen some of the "rodent" cages available online and they are way too colourful and shiny. I would love to find a black metal/mesh/glass cage with tubes flying in all directions.
posted by aherdofturtles to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Don't know about where to get the hamster of the cage, but when it comes to the subtle black part, I'm thinking spray paint is your friend.
posted by ottereroticist at 8:29 AM on August 29, 2007

We've got hamsters from animal shelters before (we went to find a cat - came back with a hamster) - try the RSPCA, the Wood Green Animal Shelter, and possibly even Battersea (I know, I know, it's a Dog's Home - but they do cats, why not other small furry things?). Hamsters are one of those pets that people get because they think pets are easy to look after, or that their landlord won't notice, or their 7 year old will love to look after... and then that doesn't happen...

If you do this route, they often want to check out the housing before they let you have it (yes even for a hamster).

Also, you do know about Gumtree, right?
posted by Helga-woo at 9:04 AM on August 29, 2007

Sorry about not mentioning it, but yes, I know about Gumtree. I meant to add that I've also heard that older hamsters may not be used to you, and that they are sometimes given away because they bite!
posted by aherdofturtles at 9:14 AM on August 29, 2007

Random hamster notes:

I would not recommend spray painting a hamster cage as hamsters (especially the Campbell's Russians) make a habit of gnawing on cage bars.

Cages with plastic snap together tubes are wonderful in concept until you discover a lot* of hamsters (especially males) pee and poop inside the entire length of them, tripling the time it takes to do your weekly cage cleanout. Some brands of tubes, notably the CritterTrail brand, are too narrow bore for large/older Syrian hamster breeds. If you do select a tube system, make sure the tubes can be split lengthwise to make cleaning easier (rodent urine buildup is just not a pleasant scent).

*sometimes you get lucky and get a hamster who likes to eliminate in one spot, like a rat does. About 40% of my hamsters do this, but there's still some leakage during traveling.

The best hamster home I have is nothing more than a very big plastic storage tub filled several inches deep with bedding, boxes, toys, and a flat of wheat grass. The hamsters (these are dwarves, which accept multi-hamster colonies as opposed to the solitary Syrians) really enjoy their big digs: in the wild, hamsters trot out a few miles every night in search of food. In captivity, they use this same energy to run all night on their play wheels. Having a big, flat, wide enclosure to explore makes them very happy. Visually, it's sort of like...Hamster Island. Cleaning it is beyond simple: remove inhabitants and furnishings, dump bedding into the garbage bin and hose out the tub. For very small hamster species such as Roborovskis, a glass or acrylic aquarium is best (they can slip through wider-spaced cage bars and are more agile jumper/climbers than Russians).

It's probably self-evident from above but decide upon a species of hamster before selecting its cage. The species vary quite a bit in size.

One of the great advantages of buying a hamster from a breeder vs a pet shop is you'll be less likely to end up with a pregnant hamster from the breeder. Breeders usually have a wider selection of coat colors and lengths as well as health guarantees. At least in the US, many pet shop hamsters come from pet owners who inadvertently purchased a pregnant hamster two weeks before.
posted by jamaro at 9:15 AM on August 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer as above, but no cookie (as it's not really London specific, which is my main concern.

Thank you for your random notes though!
posted by aherdofturtles at 1:25 AM on August 31, 2007

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