Why Hamster is Not a Good Gift or a Surprise Gift

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Rabbits are known gifts to give to kids during Easter, while on Christmas and other holidays or birthdays – dogs, cats, turtles, gerbils, and hamsters are the most common gifts to kids. Gifting your child or a friend or any person a pet always comes with the best intention at heart. However, there’s a more profound impact in giving another person, especially underage kids a pet.

In this article, we will discuss why a hamster is not a good gift or a surprise gift. We will also tackle what steps to take (if you as an adult think gifting a pet is a good idea) to make sure that both the gift receiver and the pet will be happy together long term.


Why Hamster is Not a Good Gift or A Surprise Gift

I’m not going to lie, the goal of this article is to convince you not to gift another person a hamster, especially if it’s a surprise gift. In this part, we will show you why we feel strongly about this. We are always on the side of the hamster here, making sure that they are well-taken care of and would not end up with another pet buried in the backyard too early too soon or a hamster found in a dumpster.

Hamsters are not the best pet for kids

All these years, hamsters have always been considered pets for kids which is not entirely true. Surely, we have a friend who had a hamster pet growing up or perhaps, we had one ourselves growing up.

If you remember it correctly or maybe your friend told you the story when their hamster bit them, and it drew blood. Perhaps there was also an incident that the hamster escaped and was never found.

These are only a few scenarios that can happen if you have a hamster. Hamsters have such queer behaviour making them deem not fit for a kid.

Some examples are:

  • Hamsters don’t really need cuddling
  • Hamsters are territorial and strictly solitary
  • Hamsters are naturally aggressive
  • Hamster love their alone time
  • Hamsters need constant cleaning of their cage
  • Hamsters need a big and spacious cage that can cost $$$
  • Hamsters need to be taken to the vet for a general check-up and any accident that might happen which will cost $$$

In simple words, hamsters need an adult who has the money to spend and patience, so they can give them the best care. They are not suitable for impatient children who expect hamsters to play with them all day.

Hamsters require lots of research beforehand

Why is hamster not a good gift or specifically, not a good surprise gift? Before getting a hamster, a responsible owner should know that it’s vital to do in-depth and long research about hamster care and hamster behaviour.

Giving hamsters as a surprise gift will be the worst way to introduce a hamster to a new pet owner who didn’t have the time to research let alone make an informed decision if a hamster is fit to them or their lifestyle or expectations.

Situations like this will result in the uneducated owner losing interest, not building a good relationship with the hamster, and then, abandoning the pet altogether or worse the hamster dying.

Hamsters are not easy to understand

Hamsters are very territorial, strictly solitary (means, they don’t need the company of a human or another hamster), known to have unpredictable behaviour, and have such moody behaviour. Hamster is not what most movies, TV shows, storybooks portray them to be.

That being said, they are not evil animals, they just need someone to take care of them who understand their needs, personality, and behaviour. Sunflower seeds, running wheels, are not enough to keep a hamster happy. Due to their size and introverted personality, it’s also hard to say when a hamster is not feeling well and in need of attention from the vet.

These are essential things to know and consider before getting a hamster, hence, gifting one is a terrible idea.

It can be costly to own a hamster

Like what we mentioned before, a hamster cage alone (the suitable size) can cost up to $80, plus food, toys, dens, bedding (which often needs changing), treats, chew toys, sand bath, and vet fund are just the basic things that a hamster need.

The initial cost of having a hamster can run up to $800, which supplies that can last for 2-3 months. You can see our rundown cost of hamster cost here.

Hamster can cause trauma

Hamsters are such delicate animals. When a hamster is sick, it might be hard to find a vet who is knowledgeable enough to handle a hamster alone. While a hamster owner who is not ready, didn’t do their research, didn’t educate themselves, didn’t have enough money to support and care for their hamster, or didn’t have enough understanding of their new pet is highly exposed to accidents involving their hamster.

There are many reasons a hamster that is mishandled can cause trauma, here to name a few:

  • aggressive behaviour resulting in hamster attacking anyone (biting)
  • hamster dying out of nowhere
  • hamster dying because of injury or sickness (bumblefoot, ringworm, mites, stargazing, breathing issues are the most common)
  • hamster escaping and never found
  • hamster escaping and killed by another pet

All these scenarios can cause significant trauma to children. Kids will wonder what they did wrong, why did their hamster die, or why the hamster won’t stop biting them, why their hamster doesn’t like them. A person that was bitten by a hamster can grow hatred towards the hamster.

The thing is, it’s not the kid’s fault that their hamster died or escaped or are aggressive towards them. It’s not that their hamster hates them – it’s simply because they were given a pet which they are not ready to be responsible for yet.

Why Hamster is Not a Good Gift or A Surprise Gift


If you still want to gift someone a hamster, this is how you can responsibly do it.

Don’t make it a surprise gift

The last thing you should do is make this hamster a surprise gift to anyone. The most responsible thing you can do is to inform the receiver. Ask them if this is something they really want. Sit with them and tell them the responsibility a hamster brings.

Next is to do the research with them. Read facts about hamsters, what their basic needs are, budget in owning a hamster, talk about vet funds, discuss things to make a hamster happy or sign that the hamster is unhappy.

Read and discuss as many things as possible – read this hamster beginner guide. Make them imagine what it’s like to have a pet. Not only the fun part but the not so glamorous part like spot cleaning, deep cleaning of cage, taming a hamster, and what to do if the hamster escapes or bite them. IThe gift-receiver must understand that abandoning a hamster is not an option – commitment is most important above all.

Parents must be consulted

If you are an aunt, uncle, or godparent thinking to give your nieces, nephews, or godchild a pet as a surprise gift, you must consult their parents. Pets will be a massive part of the family and will change the dynamics of everyone involved.

Speak to the parents first if it’s okay to give this kind of gift, ask if the kid is ready, and most importantly, will the parents be co-responsible for the hamster in case the kid change their mind or lose interest?

If you are an aunt, uncle, or godparent thinking to give your nieces, nephews, or godchild a pet as a surprise gift, it’s important that you consult their parents. Pets will be a massive part of the family and will change the dynamics of everyone involved.

Speak to the parents first if it’s okay to give this kind of gift, ask if the kid is ready, and most importantly, will the parents be co-responsible for the hamster in case the kid change their mind or lose interest?

You really don’t want to be that person who gave this gift which turned into a family deciding to abandon the hamster or accidentally kill it. Just imagine the emotional stress it will bring and most importantly, the behaviour that the kid absorbed from everything that happened with the poor pet.

Adopt a hamster

Hamsters are being abandoned every day, be it at the dumpster, apartment hallways, or rescue centres. Instead of buying one, convince your gift receiver to adopt a hamster instead. This is a good way to showcase the value of rescuing a pet instead of supporting big companies unethically breeding hamsters.

Make sure there is support

If you decided that the gift receiver is read and understand the responsibility that comes with having a hamster pet, you should make sure that you are giving support post giving the gift. Meaning, you will be the person they can run to for help, both financially and emotionally.

Hamsters or any pet that is being gifted is not a toy. These pets are like human babies who will need constant support to live happy and healthy life.


As an adult, it is your responsibility to model good behaviour and emotions for younger people. Remember that underage kids are still growing and learning through what they see around them. They absorb our behaviour, decisions, reactions, and emotions.

If we display irresponsible decisions such as giving a kid a hamster to look after. Who doesn’t have an idea how to properly take care of it, we are exposing these children to make a mistake that can cause them trauma or result in a situation that can affect their still growing brain.

We want to make our children or family member or friends happy, but how about the animal? Do we consider what will be the impact on them? How about the gift or surprise gift receiver, are they ready? Hamsters are not toys, they are alive, they are living organisms who need care as much as a human does.

I hope you found this article about why hamster is not a good gift or surprise gift and that we answered most of your questions. If we miss anything, let us know in the comment section below.


Hamsters require proper care and attention, which can be challenging for someone unprepared. A surprise gift can lead to neglect, improper care, or surrendering the hamster. via @thehamstercareblog

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