Last week I went to my first off site surrender. It was to a home that was clearly overwhelmed with 92 Syrian hamsters. Before I left Nevins farm I was a little unsure what I was going to find when I got there. I hear many stories about hoarding cases where I truly feel sorry for the animals. I hear of them keep in poor conditions underfed and with health issues. However when I got there I found this really was not the case.
In this situation the owner truly loved his animals and he was visibly upset when he was telling me about how a year and a half ago he brought home two from a pet store. He honestly didn't realize how quickly those two could turn into almost 100. Every time one of the hamsters gave birth he tried to get a new cage and separate them but with hamsters being able to become pregnant in just 3-4 weeks and their gestation period only a short 20 days this proved to be a losing battle for him. He was overwhelmed by their care and really needed our help.
When I got there with another staff member and animal control he had over 48 containers filled with at least one hamster each. Some were being housed in fish tanks, some in divided aquariums and even at least a dozen in 5 gallon buckets on the floor. However he made sure that each and every one of the hamsters in his house had clean bedding, food and water everyday. This was so expensive that he had a hard time even feeding himself, so that is when he asked the MSPCA for help, Being an open admission shelter of course we were willing to take them in.
At the home packed up all the hamsters in their containers into the MSPCA van and brought them back to the shelter. Upon my arrival back at the shelter our director Mike Keiley had himself, other staff members and volunteers on hand to work with me to triage and correctly sex, and label each hamster grouping and get them set up in more spacious cages so we could start the task of finding them great homes.
Other shelters in the area were willing to help us out and on the first couple days after the hamster arrivals we were able to transport out over 40 to other rescues with our volunteers coming in to make the drives. Locations we sent other hamsters to are (ARL of Boston – Dedham, Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, Nashua Humane, Providence ARL, Bedford ARL, Animal Protection Center of Southeastern MA in Brockton, Monadnock Humane Society).
We still have many many female hamsters available for adoption at Nevins and we are encouraging families to come in and meet them. While we do have to wait a couple of weeks to send them home ( we are making sure they are not already pregnant), we are happy to help adopters find their perfect hammy match.
All the hamster we took in are Syrian hamsters. We do have four different coat variations in group: the long haired teddies, the solid tan short coats, the banded tan and white short coats, and even a few sable colored. Syrians make great pets and are typically very easy to handle. Syrians do need to be strictly solitary hamsters since they do become very territorial with each other when they reach adulthood. They are a large sized hamster so they do need a cage with lots of space. Ideally at least 2 feet by 1 foot and with a solid or mesh wheel for exercise. Cages that come with plastic tubing are not recommended for this type of hamster since they can potentially get stuck in the tubes when they are full grown and they are really good escape artists so the joints of the tubing can become a good exit point.
If you are interesting in adding on of these hamsters to your family, stop on in bring a picture of the cage they will be housed in and let us help you find a new friend.