March 1, 2020

Hamster vs Gerbil vs Guinea Pig: Choosing a Pet to Live With

Are you trying to decide between a hamster, gerbil, or guinea pig? There are pros and cons to each animal so read on to find which is best for you. 

Hamsters are popular pets, especially for children, but are they right for your family? While hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs seem similar, each has different needs. 

Hamster Facts 

  • Nocturnal – May not be the best companion since they’ll want to sleep during the day 
  • Diet – Hamsters eat greens, seeds, and fruit 
  • Size – Hamsters are small, only about 2-4 inches long 
  • Personality – An important factor in choosing a pet is its personality. As stated before, hamsters are nocturnal but they’re also solitary animals. According to PetCentral, hamsters are often territorial and can even fight to the death so only picking out one hamster is the best idea. 

Gerbils range in size from 5-6 inches long and can be a nice little family pet. 

Gerbil Facts 

  • Personality – Gerbils are said to be intelligent and friendly. They enjoy human companionship and like to be held. Unlike hamsters, gerbils enjoy being with each other and are considered quite social. Purchasing more than one to have as playmates would be a good idea. 
  • Diet – Gerbils eat greens, fruits, and seeds 
  • Energy level – Gerbils tend to be more curious and have more daytime energy than a hamster. 

Guinea Pig 
What about the guinea pig? Would he make a perfect family pet? 

Guinea Pig Facts 

  • Size – Guinea pigs are the largest of the pet rodent family so if you choose one of these animals you’ll need to make sure you have the space for a bigger cage. 
  • Personality – Guinea pigs are playful but love a routine. They will thrive if there’s a designated playtime, mealtime, and bedtime. They’re also social animals and would do well with a same-sex pair. 
  • Diet – Require special guinea pig food as well as vegetables, fruits, and hay 

The Verdict 
While each of these rodents has pros and cons, it really comes down to what you’re looking for and what your lifestyle is like. If you’re super busy with not much time at home a hamster might do. If you have older kids looking for their first pet a guinea pig might be great. Gerbils might work for older children or families already experienced with pets. Whatever you decide, as long as you love and care for it it’ll be the perfect pet for you.