Hamsters were named after the German word “hamstern” which means “to hoard”. The pouches of these small animals don’t have salivary glands making the food they store in their cheeks fresh and dry.
There are actually 24 species of hamsters but only five breeds which include Syrian hamster, Chinese hamster, Roborovski hamster, Winter White dwarf hamster, and Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamster are mostly kept as pets. These pets can be family-friendly if trained well.
Unlike other animals, the cost of a hamster is inexpensive and it is not hard to maintain. You can purchase one at an affordable price depending on its breed. But aside from the hamster itself, there are still few costs to take into consideration.
The Hamster Prices
The actual prices of the five breeds commonly sold in the market are the following:
- Syrian Hamster
Syrian hamster (also known as “golden hamster” or “teddy bear hamster”) is one of the largest breeds of hamsters. In 1839, it was first discovered by a zoologist named George Robert Waterhouse. It has an average weight of 4 to 6 ounces.
Syrian hamsters are cuddly and easy to handle which makes them an ideal pet. Despite the good personality, they should not be kept with other hamsters because these furry pets are very territorial.
The long-coated Syrian hamsters vary in different colors such as white and cream, cinnamon, brown, grey, and black. You can buy one for an approximate price of $20 depending on the breeder.
- Chinese Hamster
Chinese hamsters originated in the desert of northern China. Being easy to tame, these hamsters are great to handle but they can be aggressive to other hamsters when not introduced while they were young. A Chinese hamster can cost you around $12.99 to $15.99 each.
- Campbell’s Russian Dwarf Hamster
Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamsters are named after the westerner, Charles William Campbell, who first discovered them. These hamsters are very sociable and can be kept with other hamsters if introduced at a young age, unlike Syrian hamsters.
Having the similarity to the appearance of Winter White, these small-bodied hamsters are small enough to pass through the bars of a cage. If you want one, you can purchase it for a price which ranges around $12.99.
- Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster
Winter white Russian dwarf hamster or Djungarian hamster can be bought for an approximate price of $16.95. These hamsters can only be bought from accredited breeders which can provide pedigree certificates. Some hybrid hamsters from rodent farms are mislabeled as Winter White so make sure to buy the purebred ones.
- Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
Roborovski hamster (also known as “desert hamster” or “Robo”) is very fast and agile breed which makes it difficult to handle. It has an average weight which ranges from 0.71 to 0.88 ounce. This breed of hamsters rarely nips and comes in different colors like brown and agouti. You can buy a Robo for a price of $12.99.
Equipment and Accessories
You shouldn’t buy a small cage just because hamsters are small. Make sure that the cage you purchase has a solid base because if not, it can be uncomfortable or might even cause problems with your pet.
A hamster cage’s price usually starts at around $10. Different hamster sizes require different cage sizes as well. For the Syrian hamster, the recommended size by the National Hamster Council is 1000 cm2 floor space and 19 cm high cage; while for dwarfs, the minimum is 17cm high with 800 cm2 usable floor space cage.
- Exercise Wheel
Hamsters need a lot of exercise and an exercise wheel which you can buy around $4 to $39 is ideal for them. These small pets love running and actually, they can run up to 4 miles a day. Giving them a safe wheel is highly significant as they will spend most of their time there. Open wheels can be dangerous that’s why people prefer buying the ones with a solid surface.
- Bedding and Nesting
Hamsters love burrowing in their bedding so make sure it is made of hardwood shavings. Fluffy fiber bedding is not recommended as the hamster might eat the material. You can try using soft shredded papers or try tearing up tissues into strips.
If you prefer commercial bedding, you can buy products like AlfaPet Aspen Bedding Small Animals Bedding which can cost you around $3.38.
- Feeding Bowl
When it comes to the feeding bowl, a ceramic one is recommended because it is chew-proof. You should not use a human bowl because it can be dangerous for your pet. One ceramic bowl can cost you about $2.5.
- Water bottle
The ideal water bottle you should buy for your hamster is the one appropriate for small animals. You have to deal with leaks but it is better to choose bottle than bowls because they can make a watery mess in your pet’s cage. You can get one for around $4.
- Grooming Equipment
Like other pets, your hamster will need a little grooming. Use a hamster comb or brush for your pet’s fur to prevent matting and remove debris from the hair. The price of grooming brushes is around $9. You can do the grooming while giving your pet a little amount of treats.
Your expenses for a hamster will not end in buying the pet and equipment. There are still few things to consider for the maintenance:
- Food Costs
Hamsters can eat a variety of foods. Some of the commercial foods available for your little pal are the 32-oz Wild Harvest Daily Blend Nutrition Diet for Hamsters and Gerbils which you can buy for $2.38 and the Kaytee Forti Diet Pro Health Healthy Support Diet – Mouse, Rat and Hamster Food BULK – 18 pounds which can cost about $46.17.
Aside from commercial hamster foods, you can give well-cooked meats or live mealworms to your hamster too. Some fruits and vegetables can also be fed to a hamster. Just make sure to balance your pet’s diet according to its nutritional needs.
- Medical Expenses
One of the potential costs of owning a hamster is the medical expenses. A trip to the vet for a wellness exam costs around $35. You might also have to bring your hamster to a veterinarian in case it gets ill too. Treatment cost will vary on the health issue your pet has and the veterinary clinic, especially in case of emergency.
Factors That Affect the Price of a Hamster
Several factors can affect the price of a hamster and these include the following:
- Availability of the hamster in your area
- The breed of the hamster you’re going to purchase
- The reputation of the breeder where you will buy the pet from
- Age of the hamster as you buy it
- What’s included in your purchase (freebies)