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Gerbil Vs. Hamster

Funny Hamster

Are you considering owning a small furry pet but can’t decide whether a hamster or gerbil is right for you? If so, you’re certainly not alone! Both hamsters and gerbils have become some of the most popular pets in recent years, providing owners with lots of fun and affection. So, Gerbil vs. Hamster?

To help make your decision easier, we’ll explore some key differences between these two delightful creatures – from their physical characteristics to their behavior – helping you choose which is best for your home. So if you’ve been asking yourself, ‘gerbil vs. hamster?’ Read on and learn more about these adorable animals!

Comparison Table

Size4-5 inches2-4 inches
Lifespan3-4 years2-3 years
Social BehaviorSocial and can live in pairs or groupsSolitary and prefer to live alone
Activity LevelActive during the day and nightMostly active at night
DietSeeds, fruits, vegetables, and occasional insectsSeeds, fruits, vegetables, and occasional insects
GroomingClean and odorless, do not require frequent bathingAlso, clean and odorless, do not require frequent bathing
TemperamentDocile and easy to handleMore likely to bite and can be aggressive
Common BreedsMongolian gerbil, Fat-tailed gerbilSyrian hamster, Dwarf hamster

What Are Gerbils And Hamsters?

Gerbil Vs. Hamster

Gerbils and hamsters are both small mammals that are popular as pets. Gerbils, also known as Mongolian jirds, belong to the family of rodents called Muridae. They have long bodies with short legs, a pointed snout, and an impressively long tail with fur on end. 

Physical Appearance – How Do They Differ?

Gerbils are mainly brown or yellow-brown with white bellies. They often have black stripes along their backs or sides and sometimes white patches on their faces.

In contrast, hamsters tend to be shades of grey or brown with black bands running across their shoulders or down their backs. Gerbils usually have larger ears than hamsters, while both species have eyes near the top of their heads – giving them excellent vision! 

As well as differences in size and coloring, there is also a difference in texture between these two animals: The coat of a gerbil is soft. But, a hamster’s coat is somewhat rougher. Furthermore, gerbils’ tails are hairless, while hamsters are covered by short fur.

Personality And Temperament – How Is Each Pet’s Nature Unique?

Two homemade gerbils red and black on a yellow background. Rodent maintenance at home.

When it comes to personality, hamsters, and gerbils both have distinct traits that make them unique. Hamsters are solitary creatures and can be quite territorial, often not tolerating another animal in their cage. 

They also tend to be shy with people, preferring to hide away in the dark corners of their habitat rather than socialize with people. Gerbils, on the other hand, are more outgoing and friendly toward humans. Unlike hamsters, they also enjoy living in groups, so they tend to coexist peacefully with their siblings if kept in the same space.

Regarding temperament, hamsters tend to be more active at night when they come out to explore and scavenge for food. They also like to hoard things like nuts or pellets for later use. Gerbils are active during the daytime but are calmer than hamsters; they prefer playing with toys over collecting food items. Both pets need plenty of exercise and engage in playful activities such as running on wheels or tunnels. 

However, gerbils are especially prone to boredom and should be provided plenty of stimulation to stay happy and healthy. These small furry animals can make wonderful companions for years with regular care, attention, and love!

Space Needs – What Is Appropriate For Gerbils And Hamsters To Live Comfortably?

Gerbil Vs. Hamster

When choosing a pet, one of the most important considerations is space. Whether you’re looking at hamsters or gerbils, ensure they have plenty of room to live comfortably and happily.

A minimum cage size of 10 gallons is recommended for hamsters and gerbils. In terms of actual dimensions, this should be around 30cm x 45cm x 45cm (12″ x 18″ x 18″) or larger. It will give your furry friend enough room to move freely and explore their environment.

It’s not just the physical cage space that needs consideration; gerbils and hamsters also need lots of things to play with and explore inside their home. As well as plenty of bedding material such as sawdust or wood shavings, your pet should have ladders, balls, tubes, and tunnels to play with. Additionally, many owners provide their pets with a wheel for exercising for them to stay healthy and active.

Finally, since hamsters and gerbils are very social animals, it’s ideal for them not to live alone. Instead, two pets from the same species will likely along better if kept together in the same cage.  Therefore, when planning out your pet’s living arrangements, it is important to consider the physical dimensions and potential companionship!

Check out The Best Gerbil Cage to Give Your Pet a Well-Deserved Home.

Health Care Requirements – What Are the Differences In Care Each Pet Needs?

Gerbil Vs. Hamster
Little white gerbil rat in a cookie jar

Choosing the right pet for your home requires careful consideration of several factors, including health care and maintenance requirements. There are a few notable differences are many that you should take into account before making a decision.

When it comes to health care, both hamsters and gerbils require regular veterinary check-ups. However, since gerbils are prone to developing diabetes, they may need additional treatment or check-ups due to their higher risk of developing this condition. 

Also, hamsters tend to have more fragile bones than gerbils and may need extra care when handling them. In terms of maintenance requirements, both pets require weekly cage cleanings with fresh bedding materials such as hay or paper bedding. 

However, it is important to note that while both animals can be litter trained to use shredded paper or sawdust as their litter box material, gerbils prefer the latter, whereas hamsters prefer the former. 

Moreover, each animal must have food appropriate for its species; hamsters typically enjoy seeds and nuts, while gerbils like pellets or treats made specifically for them. Finally, both animals should have access to fresh water daily – ideally from a water bottle rather than a bowl, as this helps prevent accidental spilling.

Should You Have More Than One Gerbil Or Hamster Together?

Gerbil Vs. Hamster

Having more than one gerbil or hamster can be a fun and rewarding experience for pet owners. But it’s important to consider the type of pet you’re keeping, their personalities and needs, and how they’ll interact with each other. 

When it comes to hamsters, they are solitary creatures that don’t typically do well when kept in pairs or groups; however, if introduced properly, some may be able to cohabitate peacefully. Conversely, Gerbils are highly social animals and do best when kept in groups of two or more of their kind.

When considering having multiple gerbils or hamsters together, there are a few things pet owners should keep in mind. 

  • First and foremost is space. Larger enclosures allow for better interaction between the animals while providing them the escape routes needed if any tension arises between individuals.
  • Additionally, each animal should have its own ‘home base’ such as an individual sleeping area, allowing them to retreat for rest without becoming too territorial of its territory. It’s also important to note that these small pets need plenty of play time outside of their enclosure and independent playtime with each owner so that everyone can get proper attention and exercise. 
  • Finally, a good diet is essential when owning multiple gerbils or hamsters – as food competition can be an issue between animals – so it’s important to provide enough food and ensure each individual has access to their portion.

All in all, gerbils and hamsters can make wonderful companions for those who provide them with an appropriate enclosure size, activity time with owners separately and together, and adequate nutrition for all individuals equally. With proper care and attention given to each animal’s needs, having more than one gerbil or hamster together may be a positive experience for both owners and pets alike!

Check out 10 Surprising Facts About Hamsters.

The Closing Thought 

YouTube video

To conclude, choosing between a hamster or a gerbil as a pet depends on the individual’s lifestyle and preference. Both animals have unique physical characteristics and behavior, making them suitable or unsuitable for a certain home environment. 

Hamsters are more independent and nocturnal, while gerbils are social creatures who enjoy interacting with humans. Ultimately, both pets can be great companions and bring lots of joy to their owners.

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