Where do pet stores get their hamsters/gerbils?


Flock Mistress
14 Years
Jan 12, 2007
Land of Lincoln
And guinea pigs and rats?

PetCo, PetSmart and various mom and pop operations are having a shortage of "teddy bear hamsters" and Robo hamsters. Since we did know about puppies and mills but do they come from private breeders locally or do the stores have "hamster mills"? I don't see genetic defects as much as pups.

So what do you all think?
When we had our pet store, we got little furries from individual local breeders. Gerbils from one breeder, hamsters from another. Our feeders we had shipped in from a bigger "warehouse" type breeder. Hubby says places like PetSmart and PetCo probably do too.
Do they breed according to the demand? I hate to see them just churning them out right after another! Or do they are responsible breeders, only limit themselves one or two breedings a year?

I know mice and feeder mice they can reproduce so quickly but unsure about the others.
Yep mostly from local breeders and not all of them are responsible breeders. I know a guy here breeds those mini rabbits and his place is discusting. I wouldnt tell anyone to buy anything from him.
They (the bigger stores) told us they wont buy from local breeders at all. We had fancy guppies and bettas and we were inquiring about dwarf hamsters. Turned me off buying anything from them
I'm willing to bet they have hamster "mills" that supply the big chains with hamsters. Hamsters will breed almost as fast as mice and for an animal that lives much shorter than a dog/cat... are really resistant to inbreeding and such. I was told at petco that they no longer bred teddy bear hamsters due to propensity for short lives and "wet tail". So instead they are selling 20+ dollar "fancy" hamsters.
I worked at a store you listed. We got all of the rodents from one supplier. They sold to all our stores in the state or at least in a radius from their location.

Shortage was probably caused by Christmas. Happens every year. If not that some times the breeders have an outbreak of wet tail or mites or something similar.
Far as I'm concerned, most chain stores like Petsmart, Petco, etc get their rodent-types from warehouse/mill type breeders.

Smaller petshops, local-based ones, often get theirs from local breeders who may or may not have the same ethics.
They should, but they dont.

I dont feel any store is worth buying a live animal from.

Petco, etc buys from large warehouse/mill type breeders and mom/pop stores probly buy from "breeders" with poor ethics.
I am a retired breeder od rats & mice and I never sold mine to pet stores, I wanted to see where mine went.

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