For pet-lovers who prefer the company of smaller, and considerably cheaper animals, the hamster is a much-loved and popular choice.
But just how cheap is it to buy and care for a hamster?
Although it may seem like the most cost-efficient way to have a furry friend around the house, you need to make sure you can afford a cage and all its other equipment before you make another addition to your family.
Luckily for you, we’ve outlined all the costs for you to help make your decision.
How much does a hamster cost?
Depending on the breed, a hamster will probably cost you between £5 – £30 to first purchase. This makes it a fantastically cheap option for first-time pet owners.
Hamsters at the higher end of this range may be that price because they come with cages and other welfare equipment, or it may just be they are a slightly rarer breed.
The most common breeds are Syrian, Dwarf and Roborovksi, which should all be priced at the lower to middle-end of this range. So unless you’re after a truly fancy fella, it’s likely you’ll be picking up one of these breeds!
Setting up a home for your hamster: the initial costs
Although the animal themselves might seem ridiculously cheap, you also need to consider all the other purchases you’ll need to make before they come into your life. Letting your new hamster run around your home care-free is not a great idea. So you’ll need to set up an environment for them that promotes a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Here is a checklist of things you will need to purchase for your hamster:
- Hamster Cage
- Hamster Food
- Food Bowl
- Water Bottle
- Water Bottle
- An Exercise Wheel
- An Exercise Ball
- Bedding/ Substrate
- A Hamster House
The price of this starter pack could range anywhere between £40 to £200.
This initial haul is very much dependent on how much you spend on their cage, as premium ones often come with a lot of the other accessories you’ll need. On average, these cost around £25 to £60 but can even be over £100 if you really want to splash the cash.
As for their food and bedding, it’s unlikely you’ll ever have to spend over £20 in the first instance – unless you’re buying high-quality products in bulk. Therefore the rest of your spending will likely go on any accessories your cage is missing.
The most key accessories are a wheel, water bottle and food bowl. These are all important for keeping your hamster happy and healthy! A bottle and bowl can be picked up for around £5 and hamster wheels tend to range from £5 to £15.
Your hamster will also need a place to sleep. So, picking up a house or hideaway from them to snooze in is always a good idea, usually costing between £5 and £10.
After that, you’re pretty much set to take care of a hamster. Items like toys and exercise balls aren’t essential for their maintenance. However, we’d still recommend them to keep your hamster happy and entertained overnight while the humans are sleeping.
It really is up to you how much you want to spend!
How much does a hamster cost over time?
The average hamster is estimated to cost you anywhere between £650 to £850 over its whole lifetime.
Where you fall in this range often completely depends on how much you spend in the first year on equipment. Regular food and living costs are not too expensive.
These estimates are based on the costs to provide the bare minimum of care for hamsters over an average 3-year lifespan. This is mainly initial purchase, food and litter costs. It doesn’t take into account things like veterinary bills, treats or grooming and healthcare items.
How much does a hamster cost per month?
On average, a hamster is likely to cost you £15 to £20 every month.
The bulk of a hamster’s lifetime costs go on its monthly food and bedding rations, which total around £200 per year.
Most bags of food and bedding last four to six weeks, meaning you will have to re-stock month to month.
If you want to save money on bedding, a good tip is to start using torn up paper towels or scrunched up toilet paper as a substrate! However, make sure it’s unscented and safe for your hammy to chew.