Diseases that humans can catch from small mammals

The terms “small mammals” or “pocket pets” refer to small animals, often rodents, which are kept as pets and could fit into your pocket. Common small mammal pets include:

  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Hamsters
  • Gerbils
  • Guinea pigs
  • Pygmy hedgehogs
  • Sugar gliders
  • Other small animals

Small mammals also include a few animals that are not so small, such as rabbits and prairie dogs.

Owning a small mammal can be a big responsibility, even though the animal itself may be tiny. If you decide that a small mammal is the right pet for you, you need to learn how to take care of it properly and be aware of diseases that it might carry. With routine veterinary care and some simple health habits, you are less likely to get sick from touching, petting, or owning a small mammal.

Some of the diseases associated with small mammal pets that can cause human illness include:








From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)