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Both hamsters and guinea pigs can make excellent small pets for kids and adults, and they’re often well-suited for new pet owners. While both of these pets are tiny and fuzzy and take up less space than cats or dogs, there are some key differences between them. If you’re considering bringing home one of these small pets, understanding the difference between hamster and guinea pig health, care, and costs can help you choose the pet that’s right for you.
Hamsters are also nocturnal, so be prepared for your new furry friend to be running on his exercise wheel and making noise at night. Guinea pigs live considerably longer , with average life spans ranging from four to eight years. Both hamsters and guinea pigs need daily care, including fresh food and water and plenty of attention and playtime. Guinea pigs, too, will play with toys, but they’ll also benefit from plenty of time out of their cage to explore and stretch their legs. Both hamsters and guinea pigs will instinctively gnaw , and they need access to chew sticks or toys to grind down their teeth so they stay comfortable and functional. When you own a guinea pig, you’ll also face vet care costs that aren’t as common with hamsters. But differences like hamsters’ nocturnal habits and the ability to keep multiple guinea pigs together mean you’ll want to think carefully about which pet is right for you. With the answers to these questions, and with some research and careful consideration, you can add a pet to your home that your whole family will enjoy and love for years to come.
Which is better a hamster or a guinea pig?
Typically, hamsters are far more temperamental than guinea pigs. And because they are smaller and more fragile to handle, they are more likely to nip or bite. If you have very young children in the house, a guinea pig is probably a better option.
Are guinea pigs or hamsters more affectionate?
Personality – Hamsters are more quiet and solitary than guinea pigs. They can become more affectionate and bite less after daily handling and interaction to build a bond. These little guys are also nocturnal and will be much more active at night and early in the morning.
What is the difference of guinea pig and hamster?
Guinea pigs are bigger and heavier than hamsters, roughly 2-4 times bigger and can weigh around 1.5 to 2.6 lbs whereas hamsters only weigh around 1 to 10 oz. This means guinea pigs will require a much bigger habitat with more room to play, and more food than hamsters (which leads to more cleaning up to do).
Hamsters and guinea pigs are both rodents, but in term of character and requirements they are very different creatures. Deciding which one to bring home as a pet requires careful thought. Here are some of the most important things you need to consider:
They need a suitable enclosure, such as the Qute cage , regular feeding, and a wheel or exercise ball for plenty of physical activity and stimulation. Guinea pig basics: : They require lots of daily care, and are a bit on the timid side, but they make great pets. Even the simple passive act of a cat or dog staring through the cage will cause your hamster or guinea pig a lot of stress.
So, you are thinking about getting a pocket pet, and can’t decide between a guinea pig or hamster. We get it. They are both as cute as heck and to the untrained eye, probably very similar. But don’t be fooled. While hamsters and guinea pigs are classified as rodents, it’s like saying a watermelon and an apple are the same because they are both fruits.
In the great hamster vs guinea pigs debate, there are a few significant distinctions between the two, including their size, how long they live and their social habits. Depending on the breed, guinea pigs can be two to four times bigger than hamsters, and weigh anywhere between 1.5 to 2.6 pounds. Although hamsters are more active than guinea pigs, their cage size doesn’t have to be as big. Guinea pigs, on the other hand, need lots of space where they can play and forage, and while they do well living inside, they are much better suited to an outdoor hutch with a run. While it is never easy losing a furry companion, irrespective of how long they have lived, some animals are around longer than others. Guinea pigs are chatter bugs and tend to make a lot of different sounds . Hamsters, although not as noisy, make their presence known in the wee hours of the morning scurrying around their cage or doing a spinning session in their wheel. Guinea pigs might be small, and hamsters even smaller, but both still require a fair amount of care and attention. More importantly, though, is making sure you answer them honestly, so the pet you finally decide on is the best fit for you, your home and your lifestyle. We mentioned this earlier, and although it is on the more morbid side of things, hamsters have a shorter life expectancy compared to guinea pigs. Yes, this is a bit of a strange question to ask, but your lifestyle, and whether you are a day or night person is definitely a deciding factor. Waking them up to play during the day will more than likely result in a very grumpy hamster and a painful bite on your finger. At the end of the day, which one you choose will depend on your home environment, your personal preference as well as the time and money you have available.
Hamster vs. guinea pig: Behavior and life span
Many first-time pet owners opt for hamsters because of their compact size. With proper training, handling, and socialization, hamsters can be cuddly and affectionate, but hamsters can fight with each other, so it’s best to keep only one hamster per cage. Hamsters are also nocturnal, so be prepared for your new furry friend to be running on his exercise wheel and making noise at night. If you’re a light sleeper, you may want to plan to keep your hamster in a space like a living room, instead of your bedroom.Unfortunately, hamsters don’t have terribly long life spans. Most live just two to three years, and saying goodbye to a pet after such a short time can be hard for kids.Guinea pigs live considerably longer, with average life spans ranging from four to eight years. They’re also highly social, so you can keep same-sex piggies together in the same cage. Because guinea pigs are larger than hamsters, they’ll need more cage space. With socialization, your guinea pig can learn to happily sit in your lap or enjoy spending time with you. Guinea pigs take lots of naps both during the day and at night and are active between those naps.
Hamster vs. guinea pig: Care requirements
Both hamsters and guinea pigs need daily care, including fresh food and water and plenty of attention and playtime. Hamsters can live well in a smaller enclosure, and commercially available hamster cages or even small aquariums work well. Want to know what to feed hamsters? You can take a look at our guide to get informed. Guinea pigs require larger cages, especially if you have a pair of piggies. Plan to clean cages at least weekly to minimize smells and keep your pet healthy.Exercise is an important requirement for both types of pets. Hamsters will often play with exercise wheels and toys right in their cage. Guinea pigs, too, will play with toys, but they’ll also benefit from plenty of time out of their cage to explore and stretch their legs.Both hamsters and guinea pigs will instinctively gnaw, and they need access to chew sticks or toys to grind down their teeth so they stay comfortable and functional. Guinea pigs will also need regular nail trims.
Hamster vs guinea pig: Overall costs
One significant difference between hamster and guinea pig ownership is the cost of each pet. Hamsters cost an average of $10 to $20, while guinea pigs are more expensive, typically ranging between $20 and $40 each. Guinea pig cages are also more expensive, mainly because they’re larger than hamster cages.Commercial food is available for both hamsters and guinea pigs, but guinea pigs eat more and will have higher food bills. Guinea pigs also need access to hay, while hamsters don’t need this extra feed element.When you own a guinea pig, you’ll also face vet care costs that aren’t as common with hamsters. Your vet may recommend that your guinea pig have an annual wellness exam to monitor his health. It’s uncommon for vets to see hamsters for wellness appointments, and vet care for hamsters is more limited. If you own a hamster, you’ll probably seek out a vet only in an emergency, but keep in mind that even a single vet appointment can be expensive.