Rescue re-homes 8 hamsters since Feb., warns families looking to buy

One local animal rescue is hoping people think twice before welcoming hamsters into their home.

Alberta Hamster Rescue has re-homed an estimated eight hamsters since February.

The rescue hopes to correct common misconceptions around hamsters for potential owners.

“Probably the biggest misconception about hamsters is the size of tanks you can keep them in. You go to the pet store and you get those tiny little cages and that’s essentially like you living in an elevator,” said Legris.

Hamsters should be homed in enclosures at least 450 square inches, according to Legris, but the bigger the better to make sure they get the most enriching life.

‘JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE SMALL, DOEN’T MEAN THEY’RE WORTH ANY LESS’

One Edmontonian, Leela Haynes, has been fostering animals for around 25 years but this is the first time she’s decided to rescue something a little smaller. Haynes took in one hamster with a big personality named “Kiro” shortly after Legris started the animal rescue.

“I can’t speak for all hamsters, but Kiro is sassy for sure,” said Haynes.

She says realizing how poorly hamsters were treated was the biggest catalyst for her involvement with Alberta Hamster Rescue.

A problematic pet industry and the low price of these little rodents, according to Haynes, seem to contribute to the way they’re often mistreated.

“That signifies their quality of life doesn’t matter as much because they’re just expendable at that point,” said Haynes.

Alberta Hamster Rescue has taken in most of its hamsters from Kijiji. Legris says there’s often issues when parents buy hamsters for their children, expecting a low-maintenance pet.

The reality is actually quite different. Hamsters are nocturnal and despite their size, they require a lot of attention and care.

“They’re little tiny guys and they deserve a good life. And and just because they’re small, doesn’t mean they’re worth any less,” said Legris.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Carlyle Fiset