The RSPCA is searching for new homes for several young hamsters found abandoned at a property in Berkshire.
Twenty-two Syrian hamsters were rescued from a property in Thatcham, in September, alongside a guinea pig and rabbit.
The animals were found at a home by a member of the public who reported the matter to the RSPCA. Upon visiting the property, an inspector discovered that the animals had been abandoned by their owner.
The hamsters, rabbit and guinea pig were taken in by local animal centres.
Southridge Animal Centre, in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, took in 11 hamsters and has so far managed to rehome five. But now, Lisa Obertelli, from the centre, is appealing for families who may be looking for a small pet to come and meet them.
She said: “We took in a selection of young hamster mums and babies. We have a mixture of personalities – some are very cheeky! But they’re all really sweet.”
One adult Syrian hamster – white-and-cream male Willow, who is believed to be between six and 12-months-old – is among those hoping to find a loving new home. Five baby female hamsters – Ashley, Bobby, Jamie, Jay, and Sam (pictured above) – are also looking for new homes.
RSPCA companion animals scientific officer Dr Jane Tyson advised anyone who has pet hamsters, or is thinking of getting them, to do thorough research about the particular species as not all have the same welfare needs.
“Syrian and Chinese hamsters in particular are not naturally sociable and are better housed individually. However, if someone wants to group-house these, or any other species of hamster, they should be young litter mates of the same sex; additional group members should not be added at a later date.”
“Syrian hamsters generally reach sexual maturity between six to eight weeks of age. However, it is not uncommon for them to mate as early as four weeks of age, so it is critical to ensure that any young have been correctly sexed and separated at weaning, which occurs at around three-weeks-old, to avoid unwanted pregnancies. If owners are unsure about how to correctly sex their hamsters, we recommend they speak to their vet about when best to take them in to be sexed. Although the size of litters varies, on average, hamsters can have up to 10 young. Therefore, if left to breed uncontrollably, the numbers can rise rapidly.”
If you’re interested in rehoming one of these hamsters, or any of Southridge’s other animals, please contact the centre by calling 0300 123 8040.
Reference numbers for the featured hamsters are as follows: Willow 136417; Jay 136412; Sam 136416; Ashley 136418; Jamie 136419; and Bobby 136420.