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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Special Considerations for Hamsters

By Katherine E. Quesenberry, DVM, MPH, DABVP (Avian) ; Kenneth R. Boschert, DVM, DACLAM, Associate Director, Division of Comparative Medicine, Washington University

Hamsters are small animals with delicate bones that can be easily crushed if they are dropped or if they are handled roughly. In addition, they are nocturnal—meaning they are most active at night. Because of this, a hamster may not be the best pet to select for a young child.

While the popular Syrian or golden hamsters are normally classified as pets by regulatory agencies, some other types may be prohibited as foreign species. A check with your state’s animal regulatory agency is advised before buying a hamster that is not a Syrian or golden hamster.