Guinea pig vs Hamster – A useful Comparison, and 5 things to consider.

Last Updated : September 14, 2022
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Guinea pig vs Hamster which is right for you ? both are popular pets. However, they are quite different. The question of whether to get a hamster or guinea pig has different answers depending on your needs.

Hamsters are cute little creatures that can form strong bonds. They require lots of exercise, feeding, and moderate living spaces. They require lots of attention and have to be kept on their own.

On the other hand, guinea pigs require bigger living spaces. They need a daily dose of fresh vegetables and can be kept in pairs.

Guinea Pig vs Hamster – A Comparison

Should you get a hamster or guinea pig? The answer depends on your unique needs.

One of the main differences between the two is their appearance. Guinea pigs are plump with short legs. They can measure up to 10 inches and two pounds. Hamsters are nocturnal creatures with short tails. They have small eyes, and short tails, and can measure up to seven inches long. Guinea pigs are larger than hamsters.

There are 19 species of hamsters and 13 species of guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs are herbivorous and they may also feed on some of their fecal matter. Hamsters are omnivorous.

Hamsters like to live in environments that can keep them engaged. They do not need to live with partners. If, however, you have more than one of them, they can live together.

Your hamster cage should not be about 13 inches wide and 24 inches long. Bigger cages are better than smaller ones. There should be lots of room for toys and playing.

Since guinea pigs are bigger, they require larger cages. On average, their cages should measure 36 by 30 inches. They are naturally social so you should keep them in pairs.

Baby hamsters lack hair and eyesight. Female hamsters give birth to an average of six to 12 pups. Guinea pigs may give birth to a maximum 8 of piglets, although 2-4 are more common.

If you have other pets in your home, guinea pigs are a great choice. They interact well with other animals and humans. They aren’t a great choice if you can’t give your pets lots of attention often. Hamsters can be aggressive and cranky especially when hungry.

Rabbits and Guinea Pigs get along. Hamsters prefer to be alone.

Guinea pigs can live up to seven years while hamsters can live up to three years. If you are looking for a pet with a long lifespan, guinea pigs are better than hamsters.

Hamsters are generally nocturnal. They like to play around at night so keeping them in your bedroom may not be a good idea. They can be distracting. Guinea pigs are a better choice for your bedroom. Even though they take naps during the day, they sleep fairly well at night. They live longer when surrounded by other animals.

Guinea Pig Vs. Hamster as Children’s Pet

If you plan on getting a pet for your kids, the hamster vs guinea pig debate may come up. Hamsters are a great choice for kids because of their cute looks. Playing with them is easy. However, they are nocturnal and may not play much during the day. They can get irritable if kids play with them for too long. Even though their small size makes them great pets, they can easily slip through children’s hands. Hamsters can be difficult to manage.

Even though guinea pigs are bigger, they are much easier to handle. They are a great choice for children aged eight or older. If small children pick up a guinea pig roughly, it may attack them.

Both hamsters and guinea pigs can be great pet choices depending on the age and preference of your children.

Hamster Vs Guinea Pig General Habits

One of the most important things to know about hamsters is that they like to escape. Even when kept in cages, they often find creative ways to get away. You should, therefore, ensure that their cages are secured as well. Hamsters can chew on most materials. Their cages need frequent cleaning since they can get smelly.

Guinea pigs are a lot easier to keep in a cage. However, they should also be kept in secure environments. They may gnaw on materials to improve their teeth’ health.

Can a hamster live with a guinea pig?

No, they definitely shouldn’t be housed together with Guinea pigs. Whilst they seem like similar animals and are both rodents, there is quite a difference in their personalities. Hamsters are much more aggressive towards other animals, and even other hamsters.

The hamsters can be considered the annoying little sibling. They are more active, especially at night, and will basically annoy the hell out of a laid-back guinea, so much that the extra stress would cause health issues or even death.

Hamsters do also tend to bite more than guinea pigs.

Guinea Pig vs Hamster as Pets

Both Guinea pigs and hamsters have their strengths and weaknesses as pets.

Some of the main reasons to have a pet guinea pig include:

  • With proper care and food, they are generally strong and healthy They make great pets for young children because of their size and playful nature
  • Caring for them is easy. All they need is fresh water, vitamin C supplements, vegetables, and hay.
  • Their cages should be spacious and clean
  • The popcorning behavior of young guinea pigs makes them interesting
  • They live long lives
  • Guinea pigs are very social creatures and they have lots of personalities.
  • Guinea pigs may look the same but they all have different characters. You can find shy, dominant, playful, or cuddly guinea pigs depending on your preference
  • They are smart. With some patience, you can teach them a few tricks

Some reasons to have hamsters as your pets include:

  • The cute little creatures come in various shapes, sizes, and colors
  • Even though they are friendly, they don’t always need company. Hamsters are independent and don’t need constant attention
  • They are always on the move so you don’t need to walk them every day
  • Hamsters are much smaller. Their small size makes them great for children. You can move around with them
  • Hamsters can take care of their grooming so you don’t need to worry about it

Guinea Pig vs Hamster. Which Pet is Right for You?

If you are looking for little furry pets, hamsters and Guinea pigs are your most obvious options. They don’t take up much space and caring for them is easy.

Some of the most important things to consider before making your choice include:

  1. Whether space is an issue
  2. If you are a day or night person
  3. The size of pet you prefer
  4. Your ability to give them attention regularly
  5. Whether you prefer a short or long-term commitment

Ultimately, the choice you make depends on your personal preferences. Both pets are great for both adults and children. They have many similarities and both need a level of care. If you plan on buying them as pets for your child, age is an important consideration.

Guinea pigs are a better choice for younger children than hamsters.

So, when comparing guinea pig vs hamster, it boils down to your individual needs, time, and those who will be interacting with the pets, and it’s difficult to tell you which is best for you and your family.

Choosing either a pet guinea pig or pet hamster will go a long way in determining your long-term friend. Looking for that little furry friend? Well, the choice is yours.

Interested in other animal comparisons? Check out our pages on the differences between Gerbils and Hamsters, or Hares and Rabbits.

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