Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link
Pet Owner Version

Special Considerations for Hamsters


Katherine E. Quesenberry

, DVM, MPH, DABVP (Avian);

Thomas M. Donnelly

, BVSc, DVP, DACLAM, DABVP(ECM), The Kenneth S Warren Institute

Last full review/revision Aug 2020 | Content last modified Oct 2020

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 for a young child.

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

For More Information

quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!