Dangerous Hamsters


Not related to work I know, but I read this story in the Guardian today which warns about dangers that exotic pets pose to children’s health.

About 11% of salmonella illnesses in children are thought to stem from contact with lizards, turtles and other reptiles, Pickering said. Hamsters also can carry this germ, which can cause severe diarrhoea, fever and stomach cramps.

Salmonella has also been found in baby chicks, and young children can get it by kissing or touching the animals and then putting their hands in their mouths.

Lizards, reptiles, turtles – ok, ok.. but.. but.. HAMSTERS are dangerous.

For some reason this saddens me.

jessebarker jessebarker at Flickrr

7 thoughts on “Dangerous Hamsters

  1. On a positive note studies have demonstrated that pet can stimulate a child’s immune systems and reduce the risk of developing allergic conditions and asthmatic symptoms.

    I would however like to see some data on the dangers of goldfish.

  2. Learning to care for a pet is, in my opinion, a valuable aid in teaching children about caring and about responsibility – also about basic hygeine as in “wash your hands before you sit down, you’ve been rolling around on the floor with that dog!”

  3. I always wondered why I wasn’t allowed a hamster, although I think it was more to do with my mums fear of hoovering it up than anything else.

    I did have a guinea pig, and my dad used to tease me by saying if I held it up by it’s tail it’s eyes would fall out. gace me nightmares.

    Took me years to realise guinea pigs don’t have tails.

  4. See? It’s these kind of scare tactic articles that just make me crazy. 11% of illnesses COULD be from these animals. They’re not sure. And this means that 89% of these animals are fine, right?

    I’m sorry, but if you can’t pet an animal at the petting zoo, what’s the point? And who ever heard of not letting kids have hamsters?

    Like parents need something else to be afraid of.

    Ok, sorry…..I’m done. =)

  5. Neville – I am exceptionally pet-friendly and I think pets are good for everyone! Child or adult..

    Caroline – absolutely agree!

    CD – Awww.. sweet!

    Reas – agreed. I was sad because I had hamsters when I was a kid and loved them! I really did! (and my dad had a hamster well into his early 60s and you wouldn’t believe how much he got from it too!).

  6. Oh, this gives me a chance to throw out one of my favorite quotes!

    “There is no reciprocity. Men love women, women love children, children love hamsters.” — Alice Thomas Ellis

  7. I saw this on the Today Show this morning. My first thought, well…guess the bug won’t be going to the petting zoo for her field trip today. She went and guess what, so far, so signs of salmonella.

    I have to agree with Reas, parents have enough to worry about without this latest scare tactic. Besides next week it will be some other scare tactic article and the hamsters will be forgotten. By the way, I had a hamster in college.

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