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My Daughter Wants a Hamster but I’m Afraid! Aren’t They Rats?

Updated on December 2, 2016

My 7 year old daughter wants a hamster. She has wanted a hamster since she was five years old, but I am so afraid of them. We've gone to the pet store just to look at them and I felt sickness come on as I watched the scurry animal run and play. During one of our visits to the pet store, I noticed on the cage that the recommend age to responsibly take care of a hamster is eight. I was so happy to see that sign. It allowed me at least three more years to be hamster free. I was hoping in three more years she would forget about the hamster. Well, she's now 7 years old and will be turning eight in April. She is STILL asking for that hamster. I made a promise to her and I must hold to it but I have no idea how I'm going to help her take care of it. And to think if somehow it manage to get out of it's cage. What if I wake up and see that hamster at the foot of my bed? I would probably scream to the top of my lungs then beat the hamster with my foot, if I don't pass out first. To me, a hamster is a rat and I can't see it any other way.

I'm not sure what happen or when it happened, but for as long as I can remember I have always been afraid of rats. Maybe it's because they always scurry, they eat anything they can get close to- even clothing, they leave their dropping anywhere and they smell bad. Whatever the case may be, it has officially crippled me.

Is there help for me?

I only have a couple more months to go. The chances of them increasing the age to ten probably won't happen (how I wish it would). So what's a mother to do? As much as I would love to see her smiling as we are walking out of the store with her new hamster; I just can't bring myself to do it because I am afraid as ever of them. I can just imagine that scurry little animal looking at me with those eyes that doesn't blink. He's so fast on his feet that it would be impossible to catch by hand, but then again- I have NO plans on catching a rat with my hands. He's a stinky little nasty rascal. I've also heard that hamsters have the tendency to bite as well. Yet another reason why I cant sees having a rat in my house purposely. I figure, I'll have to get the hamster but she will have to feed it, bathe it (do you bathe hamsters?), and clean the cage as needed. Taking care of a hamster, I imagine, is a big responsibility and you can't be afraid, so that counts me out. I know she will do a great job and take care of her new pet.


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    • bbanks27 profile image

      Brittany Banks 10 months ago from Spokane, Washington

      Hamsters are easy to care for and they are a beginner pet. They are very common for children to keep at a young age. It could teach your daughter responsibilities. Dont have a fear of them. They are only mean if you treat them horrible. Do not get a dwarf hamster, because most of them are mean. Get a teddy bear hamster. They tend to be very nice if you treat them right and handle them everyday.

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      WesleyLynch 15 months ago

      Hamsters arent as bad as you think! Just give it a try and you will not dbout it! I know this because I felt the same way.

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      yolo72 2 years ago

      Not all hamsters bite,and they are not at all dumb.

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      Ms 3 years ago

      Rats are not bad pets that a preconceived notion I have 2 and they are the sweetest creatures that are way better pets then a hamster and smarter too

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      aaron 3 years ago

      My mum was the same when I got my snake.I do all the work though and am a lot older. Its a big responsibility taking on any pet so try start her off with something basic like a hermit crab and if she cares for it and you never notice it.she might be ready to finally purchase her pet hamster but don't forget to remind her with feedings and things but its her pet not yours.

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      Paige 3 years ago

      What's wrong with rats?

      Oh, and there is no way to compare a hamster to a pet rat. Hamsters bite all the time and are so BORING .

      Pet rats are the sweetest creature and un-like hamsters or even dogs, they will NEVER bite their owner unless the owner is truly hurting it badly.

      Rats are cleaner than cats and smarter than dogs. If you actually tried holding a domesticated rat or watching videos of them, you'd probably change your opinion on rats.

      Rats love to learn tricks and ride on your shoulder and play with toys and give kisses. Domesticated rats carry NO diseases that humans can catch. Plus, rats won't pee on you like hamsters will because rats can here easily be litter trained like cats can.

      Rats don't stink, bite, have accidents, or give themselves a heart attack when you take them out of the cage.

      Rats are more loyal to their owners than dogs are. I think rats are A lot nicer and smarter and less annoying than dogs are! Rats are the best pet. Over 500,000 people in the US alone own rats :)

      I have 6 of them

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      METHAYA SIRICHIT 4 years ago

      They are rats. Teenage girls like them because they think these rats are cute, or may be they grew up watching Hamtaro. Hamsters are short-lived animal. It's not worth giving love to them because they will die very shortly, not point being attach to them. They are not social animal. They are dumb and difficult to train and can bite your child, although they are fun to look at. But you still need to invest a lot with toys and wheels and cages and so on. These investment are not worth in imo since these vermin does not stay with you long.

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      Ryli 4 years ago

      I had two dwarfs the last one recently died and now im writing a how to on hamsters for school but hamsters are not a good pet if a child under at least 10 years old is the only caretaker they require more work then most people think if the adult is afraid of hamsters/is scared they'll hurt it then do research on them before getting one if the child is at least 10 i say let them take care of it im 13 almost 14 and i took care of my hamsters and they alll lived past their age expectacy because i did a lot of research and properly cared for them and handled them daily (important to handle them daily i skipped a day and my hamster went into hibernation, causing her death exactly one year ago today)... im not writing this for the person with the question but more for anybody else with the same person who might be reading this..

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      Maria 5 years ago

      i REALLY want a pet hamster,but i have a pet cat...i am so anxious to get a hamster they are so cute, i'm afraid if i did get a hamster my cat would eat him/her and that would be sad...What if it made my cat sick?!

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      Cassie 5 years ago

      I love hammies

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      tom 5 years ago

      get a rabbit

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      saarh 6 years ago

      i really want a hampster for christmas but my mom claimes that shes scared what should i do?:(

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      24 7 animal lover 6 years ago

      i am 10 yrs old and i really really want a hamster my cousin just got one and im really jealous but my mom wont let me get 1 what should i do

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      Emily 6 years ago

      Hi, i am 13 years old. I got my first hamster at 7 years old. since then I have had 5 hamsters. I recently got a black bear hamster a week ago. I don't know how you could say all that cruel stuff about hamsters.A few years ago I had the best little dwarf hamster, he would sit on my lap and rub against my hands. I don't see how there like rats. They give you company and are usually frendly

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      jaclin 7 years ago

      i'm not really even afraid of rats, only they scare me a lot when they scurry so fast. if they would just sit still or walk around slow, i wouldn't be scared.

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      Allison 7 years ago

      The reason why people instinctually fear wild mice and rats is because they carry diseases and can contaminate your food supply, or anything else they touch. Most of us don't have an irrational fear of hamsters, though, because we realize that they are bred as pets. Obviously they are not the same species as rats or mice. A pet hamster is a far cry from a sewer rat. I hope you eventually got over your irrational, silly fear.

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      Abdi 8 years ago

      I really want a hamster, but my mom is just like you. Probably hates rats even more. If you were my mom, what would i have to do to convince you to get me a hamster? thanks

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      jasmine 8 years ago

      nothing to be scared of, i had a hamster, it was a wonderful experience and they are nothing like rats!! they are very friendly and can be a great companion, and they don't reallt bite, they nip and that doesn't hurt, it's just the shock. And you don't bathe hamsters, but you got to let it out of it's cage if you want it to be happy, get a ball for it to run around in and a big cage so it doesn't attempt to escape for awhile. Also get a syrian hamster as they are the easiest to handle, and is the biggest of al hamsters. Plus with the bitibg that only tends to happen during the first week at knowing you, wear gloths for that week if you really can't handle it. Plus hamsters smell fear so your more likely to get bitten, so don't worry, their cute and kind creatures!

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      alexandra 8 years ago

      i would recommend getting a robo dwarf hamster. They are so much cuter than regular hamsters and eat they less. I swear these things are like little cotton balls with eyes, not much to be scared of. Even my mom, who is scared to death of all rodents except for bunnys thought they were kind of cute.

      They're a bit smaller then normal sized hamsters, which for some reason brings out all the cuteness in them and makes them look a lot less like rats.

      Also,for some reason, Ive noticed that they seem to be a bit more cleanly then regular hamsters, but maybe that's just me..?

      It doesn't hurt at all if they manage to nip ya either.

      If you're scared of the hamster escaping, i would get an aquarium type house instead of one with bars which eliminates any chance of the lil guy squeezing through the bars, or the bars getting bent.

      Also, you can use a twist tie to make sure the door stays shut and he/she cant get out by him/herself.

      And make sure the hamster house is assembled properly and everything is secure.

      You'll get over your fear of them once you buy them, wether you believe it now or not, as you just get used to them, and they wont seem so intimidating anymore, just normal.

      They're kind of like little furry kids in their houses,

      They need food and water just like you and me,

      they'll make their own bed,

      they'll get clean,

      they need entertainment like slides and tubes to crawl through,

      they need excersize,

      they'll probably want some company,

      they're rather friendly,

      and they need love xD

      If you want to help your daughter, but don't want to come in contact with them, help her make toys for them and have her set them up.

      You can get some good and easy ideas here:

      This makes for good bonding time, and shows her that you really care :D

      Hope this helps, and good luck :]

    • writerlady profile image

      writerlady 9 years ago from South

      Nope, I was able to talk her out of it....I'm just not ready.

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      Nikki 9 years ago

      So did you ever get your daughter that hamster? I just got my first one at the age of 23 and I love him! He's a rescue, super sweet temperament and never bites.

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      SurprisedHamsterMom 9 years ago

      My username stems from my accidently pregnant hamster. (I was sold two "males") They are campbell's russian dwarf. They nibble from my hand, I I have timed them in mazes, amazed as little Pepsi ran one in 13 seconds. Also, I would recommend I female. My male is a nipper, especially when woken up, but my female has never so much as nipped. They are afraid of you, until you offer them food. Also, hamsters are rather picky (GAh! Why won't thy eat those green beens?) They are also very, very stupid. Remember that. Also, holding a hamster will help. They feel delicate, fat, and soft.

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      Rocco 9 years ago

      I have a hamster. She is a long-haired female. These kinds don't usually bite. You don't need to take much care of her. I only replace the shavings like once every two weeks. And you don't need to clean them because they clean themselves. They're actually really fun to have, and I enjoy playing with her!

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      9livesbaby 9 years ago

      My mom is just like you lol! Im 19 and my mom was afraid of rats too, so when I got 2 she was horrified. Hamsters are in no way rats, and pet rats are actually great pets! They don't smell, they don't bite and they're super affectionate. I have to wonder where you got your prejudices from? I suggest actually reading a lot about hamsters to see if that helps your fear, because trust me hamsters are nothing to be afraid of! My mom got over rat fear by reading up on them and then when i got them watch me with them and then slowly start off stroking them, then holding them etc. She loves them now! If it means that much to your daughter I'm sure you can conquer whatever it is that is making you so fearful :) good luck!

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      janeen davis 9 years ago

      our hamsters name is sparky and he acts like a dog

    • profile image

      hamsters 9 years ago



    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      Definitely just get one hamster. The teddy bear hamsters are solitary creatures anyway. They do better alone.

    • writerlady profile image

      writerlady 10 years ago from South

      That sounds like a good idea!!! lol

    • Erica Moss profile image

      Erica Moss 10 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of buying a second hamster to keep the first one company. I let my step daughter talk me into that one years ago. We ended up with six of them....omg.

      The cages are reasonably easy to care for...but have to be cleaned like twice a week. And hamsters are not outwardly affectionate like a cat or dog. I don't think they are worth it really. And they can bite if you startle them by mistake.

      Can't you get a small dog and name it "Hampster"?

    • writerlady profile image

      writerlady 10 years ago from South

      That would be great Wendy111 Thanks

    • Wendy08 profile image

      Wendy08 10 years ago

      Take it from me.

      I have three hamsters. Didn't want them in the first place and was scared. I just got stuck with them. So each day I held them. They were frightened of me beyond beleif. So after I held them I got some lettuce or carrots. Gave them it by hand. And slowly a rellationship progressed. Start gradually. I'll write a hub about it, okay?

    • writerlady profile image

      writerlady 10 years ago from South

      Lol.....I'll keep that in mind but I don't think my daughter would be very happy with me.

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 10 years ago from NW Indiana

      We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Drop a big book on a little hamster and it becomes history. Do you have a fear of history?

    • writerlady profile image

      writerlady 10 years ago from South

      Thanks for your comment Stacie. That's a good idea.