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A Trip to Hamsterdam

Tips for shiny, happy hammies

  • Hamster

    ERIC ISSELÉE/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

As a volunteer with North Jersey Guinea Pig and Hamster Rescue, trial lawyer Justin Walker sees the heartbreaking side of hamsters in the pet trade. Snowflake was found in a dumpster, bleeding from an injured leg. "He must have had a day or two of hell," Walker says. His own adopted Snuffler and the pregnant Panda were abandoned in a parking lot; Runty and Baby Hammie came from the litter of 16 that quickly followed.

Carla Holusha founded the rescue in 2005 after her husband saved a baby guinea pig from a storm drain. Most of the group’s rescues are the result of incorrectly sexed hamsters being housed together. With gestation periods of just weeks and large litter sizes, two hamsters can quickly multiply into dozens; Holusha has received calls from people wanting to surrender up to 50 unplanned pets.

Considering such anecdotes, remember the most important element of hamster care: Don’t let your fuzzy-wuzzies be fruitful and multiply! Divide them by gender when housing them. Here are more tips for keeping them happy.

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