Your Hamster or Gerbil’s Health 

You should visit a qualified exotics veterinarian at least once a year for check-ups on your hamster or gerbil’s diet, behavior, and health.  

Be prepared for your pet’s visits by making a list of any questions or concerns you may have ahead of time. Many hamster and gerbil health problems are preventable with proper diet and care.

To locate a qualified exotics veterinarian near you, visit aemv.org.

Reasons to Contact Your Vet: 

•    Wet or soiled tail
•    Blood in the urine
•    Sneezing or trouble breathing 
•    Hunching in corner or lack of activity (lethargy)
•    Overgrown front teeth 
•    Bald patches in the fur
•    Lumps or sores on the body
•    Sores on the feet 
•    Abnormal eating or drinking

Hamster and Gerbil Behavior 

Hamsters and gerbils both love to chew on everything. Provide hay, a wood block or an empty toilet paper roll to satisfy this natural behavior. Both hamsters and gerbils commonly hide food throughout their cages.  

While hamsters and gerbils are similar, they have some specific behavioral differences: 

HAMSTERS: GERBILS:
  • Nocturnal, should be gently handled if picked up while sleeping
  • Single animals do fine and can be kept in pairs depending on the breed and sex
  • Active, fast, and rarely bite when correctly handled
  • Social animals and do well in pairs