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Home > Hamsters > Why Is It Illegal to Own a Hamster in Hawaii? Surprising Facts & Overview

Why Is It Illegal to Own a Hamster in Hawaii? Surprising Facts & Overview

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore

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Many people own pets in the state of Hawaii. There are the typical cats and dogs, and then there are chickens, ducks, and turkeys that are usually found on farms but can be found living in people’s backyards. There are also parrots, turtles, and crabs around. However, one animal that is missing from the pet list in Hawaii is the hamster.

It’s not that hamsters aren’t popular among Hawaiian residents; rather, it is illegal to own a hamster anywhere in the state. You might be wondering why such a seemingly harmless animal would be banned, so here, we set out to explain exactly why hamsters are illegal as pets in Hawaii. Hamsters are illegal to own as pets in Hawaii because if they escape, they could create colonies and imbalance the flora and fauna of the region.


It’s All About the Environment

The reason hamsters are illegal to own as pets in Hawaii is that much of Hawaii’s environment is perfect for the creature. Hamsters could easily live in the wild without the intervention of humans to thrive. Therefore, Hawaiian lawmakers are concerned that hamsters will get out of their structured habitats and turn to the wild for sustenance.

From there, they could create colonies and imbalance the delicate and already burdened flora and fauna, which could mean trouble for the indigenous animals and farmers throughout the Hawaiian islands. In the end, it could create havoc on the environment and make life in Hawaii even harder than it is when it comes to self-sustainability.

Image By: Olena Kurashova, Shutterstock

Other Animals That Are Banned in Hawaii

Several other animals are banned as pets in the state of Hawaii, mostly due to environmental reasons. Whenever a new animal is introduced to the state, they threaten the ecosystem because they compete with other species for food and habitat. The following animals are currently banned in Hawaii:

  • Hedgehogs
  • Ferrets
  • Sugar sliders
  • Snakes of all kinds
  • Gerbils

Being caught with an illegal animal could result in the requirement to pay fines, do community service, and maybe even have jail time, depending on the offense. You cannot travel into the state with any of these banned animals.

Animals Similar to Hamsters That Are Legal in Hawaii

There are a few domesticated animals that are similar to hamsters that are allowed as pets in Hawaii. For example, rats and mice are legal, but that’s partly because these animals already overrun communities in the wild, and a few pets won’t make a big difference. Here are a few other small animals that you can own as a resident of Hawaii:

If you’re ever in doubt if an animal is allowed as a pet in Hawaii, contact the Hawaii Animal Industry Division.

Guinea pig outdoors
Image By: Birute Vijeikiene, Shutterstock


In Conclusion

Unfortunately, you can’t legally own a hamster as a pet in Hawaii, even though these are common pets for young, first-time pet owners. However, there are other animals, like fish, rabbits, and guinea pigs, that can be kept as pets.

Featured Image Credit: TC Perch, Pixabay

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