Thinking of Adopting a Hamster? Things to Consider


Although they can wear you down and times have your blood levels soaring, pets are undoubtedly a mainstay in every household in today’s macrocosm, be it in bustling metropolises or serene traditional huts.

One of such ubiquitous creatures is the miniature-sized, chubby-cheeked, and fleet-footed rodent called the hamster. Although they share the same family with one of man’s biggest antagonists, mice, hamsters remain a big hit as one of the most popular pets in modern society.

As of 2012, for every 70 American homes accessed, 62 of them were dotingly sheltering a hamster, according to a study by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Those numbers have risen since then, with a 2018 study by Trusted Housesitters, which monitored animal popularity by social media presence, confirming the star status of the rodents. The research uncovered that aside from dogs and cats, hamsters were the second most owned pets in the country, headlining their presence in 11 out of the 50 US states, behind only ferrets.

This popularity is not exclusive to the States as studies in the UK similar numbers, with the European Island sharing a similar affection for the rodents.

But popularity and consensus do not always guarantee or resonate to a hassle-free relationship between you and your pet. If you are contemplating bringing hamsters into your home, here are several points worth your critical consideration:

The Breed Matters A Lot

There are about 20 different living species of hamsters known to man ranging from breeds from Asia (Chinese hamsters) to those from Russia (Roborovski), this makes it very pertinent to make the right choices when selecting hamsters with the difference in species also reflected in the difference in their trainability and adaptability.

The Roborovski hamster, for example, is one of those difficult to tame, also being too small and too rapid to be kept as pets.

The most suitable hamsters are Syrian hamsters, who are friendly and make strong bonds with humans in short periods. If holding and frisking your hamster is a major draw, Syrian will prove a big hit, as they are the largest breed of hamsters.

Chinese hamsters also make good pets and, unlike Syrians, are more accommodative when kept in pairs or groups.

However, if you outrightly want to house hamsters in groups, then dwarf hamsters are best-choices as they are the smaller of the trio.

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Get Them Young

Hamsters tend to get territorial even at young ages, but they are almost difficult to train or tame at older ages.

Hamsters gotten at younger ages will adapt quickly to the preferences and distaste of one another, although this doesn’t guarantee peaceful relations as aggression will remain.

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Do Not Breed Hamsters Of Different Genders

Hamsters don’t get along with one another, but they become frightfully aggressive when caged with those of the opposite sex. Female hamsters especially tend to get aggressive during mating or birth periods.

If kept together for too long after mating, they will attack each other, with fatality occurring sometimes, usually to the male. It is thus recommended that the pair be separated after mating.

Also, hamsters are extremely fertile, capable of breeding within three weeks after birth, and pairing with the opposite sex could lead to unwanted litters, which brings a need for more cages, as they are territorial even to their young ones.


Hamsters are generally sensitive creatures, but their sensitivity tends to get especially heightened during childbirth.

Hamsters are omnivores, which means they also have appetites for meat, and this sometimes escalates into cannibalistic behaviors where they eat their young.

In protective stances, hamsters will try to hide their babies in their cheek pouches but will eventually eat them, with no assertion if this is done mistakenly or intentionally.

Even with no wariness of danger, female hamsters might devour their litter if in the same cage for three weeks or more. Once the babies have been weaned, it is advised to separate the young from their mother.

Nocturnal Habits

When the lights go off, the hams come alive. If you share your home with other pets like dogs or cats, they might become restless, excessively cranky, and overly alert with the noise and shriek made by hamsters in the dead of night.

Hamsters sleep mainly during the day and, like humans, could get irritated and slip into a foul mood if their sleep is disturbed.

Sensitivity To High-pitched Sounds

If you have boisterous kids or are yourself, lovers of stereo sets or television, then the hamster might not be the suitable pet for you. Hamsters are near-sighted or myopic, making them rely heavily on their keen sense of hearing to decipher situations in their environments. This leaves them very sensitive to loud or high-pitched sounds.

Aside from loud noises, humans can hear, they are sensitive to ultrasonic sounds, which are sounds distributed in frequencies below that which humans can hear. Popular electronics like television regularly pitch these sounds and could irritate your hamster.

Incompatibility With The Most Popular Pets and Young Children

It’s no secret the age-old animosity brewing between rodents and the most popular pets: dogs and cats, with hamsters not exempted from their line of fire.

Hamsters might appear as dogged as rats or mice. Still, the reverse is the case as researchers have uncovered their bones to be fragile, making co-habiting with children or other pets even more dangerous, as dogs and cats are not known to be graceful or delicate animals.

Hamsters are also not recommended for children below the age of 10 as they bite a lot, and this could cause younger children to react in fright or panic.

Poor Socialites

While most pets tend to invite or encourage companions to live with, hamsters are the total opposites, as they are strict solitary animals. Even if nurtured with siblings or unrelated same-gender hamsters from infancy, hamsters tend to display stress of acute and chronic proportions due to this association. This will lead to conflicts and fierce fights between themselves that sometimes lead to death.


Owners should endeavor to maintain an average temperature of 81 degrees Fahrenheit within cages, especially during wintry conditions.

Although it varies among species and not overly familiar for hamsters kept as pets to exhibit this behavior, most hamsters will hibernate when placed close to an open window or in a cold corner.

If not adequately attended to, hamsters might die of hypothermia, despite being one of the most cold-resistant rodent species.


We are definitely not advising against getting one of these cute scurrying mammals, as that would be sacrilegious, are just bringing to your cognizance the variable potential hazards to watch out for when adopting one.

Also, read about Is cabbage good for hamsters‘.