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Hamsters Vs. Gerbils Vs. Guinea Pigs (Which One To Get?)

Having a rodent as a pet is both adorable and lovable. While some pets are extremely docile, others can only be carried for a brief period at a time, depending on their temperament. The three most popular rodent pets, the Guinea Pig, Hamster, and Gerbil, will be discussed in this article.

Guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils are popular rodent pets. Each pet will thrive with proper care. Which one would you choose among a hamster, a guinea pig, and a gerbil? All these small creatures are cute and charming; therefore, it’s natural to have difficulty choosing one as a pet. Before deciding which one to use, it is important to take into account the specific qualities of each one.

Comparing Guinea Pigs, Gerbils, and Hamsters

Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are docile, friendly, expressive, and can whistle. They are about the same size as a hamster or a rabbit. With proper care, their lifespan is between five and seven years. Guinea pigs are social animals and prefer living in groups. Two or even more females can quickly become close companions if they are kept nearby. If you desire two males, you should select them from the same breed. For children who are a little older, guinea pigs are a wonderful starter pet.


Hamsters are cute and popular pets. There are, however, two things to keep in mind before bringing a hamster into your home. One: they must live alone since they are solitary. Two, they are active only at night (nocturnal). 


Gerbils are active, gregarious rodents that reach a maximum length of approximately four inches in length. They can survive for 3 to 4 years if properly cared for. It is recommended to get a least two, ideally from the same litter, as they enjoy companionship. There will be gerbil babies if you keep male and female animals together.

Similarities among Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, and Gerbils

Their personal space must be free of distractions and commotion. They thrive in companionship. If you’re looking at getting some rodents, it’s ideal to get them in pairs.

Hamsters, guinea pigs, and gerbils need lots of bedding. To build a nest, you need to use dense bedding materials. Ensure that it is soft, padded, and comfortable. Your pet will sleep well only then. 

Diet is the final and most significant item to consider. To thrive, these small animals require an abundance of minerals and vitamins. This constitutes the majority of their diet. And their diet consists of both dry and fresh items, such as vegetables and fruits.

Which Pet Should You Get A Guinea Pig, A Hamster, Or A Gerbil?

Guinea pigs and gerbils are affectionate companion animals that do not bite and prefer human company. Under parental supervision, 7-year-olds can possess guinea pigs. Hamsters are the ideal first pets for school-aged youngsters who are older. Gerbils are relatively smaller than hamsters and guinea pigs and suitable for younger children.


Guinea pigs originated in South America, where they were initially domesticated between 2500 and 5000 BC by the Moche inhabitants of Peru. Dutch and British adventurers brought them to Europe later. In their natural environments, such as forests, savanna, and wetlands, guinea pigs can still be found in the wild.

Hamsters have been bred in captivity and kept as pets since 1945.

Gerbils originated in China. Gerbils have become popular pets due to their cuteness and intriguing nature. Even yet, gerbils continue to be used in scientific study.


Guinea pigs have a lifespan between four and six years, but if you take proper care of your pet, it could live between eight and ten years. A guinea pig is fully grown between four and six months. Buying guinea pigs at around six weeks is the greatest time since a guinea pig can be separated from its mother at this age.

The average lifespan of a hamster is between 2 and 3 years.

If you provide your Gerbils adequate care, they can survive for 3 to 5 years, or eight years, when well cared for.

As a result, while selecting a pet companion for a kid, consider which species has a longer lifespan.


Guinea pigs, which weigh 1 to 3 pounds and grow to a length of 8 to 12 inches, are larger rodents than gerbils and hamsters. However, since gerbils are only four inches long and weigh just four ounces, they are quite easy to handle.

When it comes to size, dwarf hamsters are smaller than gerbils and guinea pigs. When hamsters are fully grown, they can reach a length of up to 2 inches and a weight of between 1 – 2 ounces. Syrian hamsters are 7 ounces and 7 inches long.

For this reason, gerbils are an excellent choice for young children who have no expertise in caring for a pet. In contrast, hamsters are only appropriate for older children. 7-year-olds can have a guinea pig as a pet with adult supervision.


Hamsters are slightly smaller than guinea pigs. They require greater social interaction than hamsters. Therefore, it is much recommended to get guinea pigs in huge pairs.

Hamsters are wonderful family pets since they are quiet, friendly, and pleasant. They enjoy eating fresh vegetables and fruits and drinking clean water.

Gerbil’s lifestyle is pretty complex. However, gerbils are also considered to be very intelligent animals.


Guinea pigs eat only plants (Herbivores). Therefore, they mainly consume fruits and vegetables.

Hamsters eat fruits and vegetables on a balanced diet. But you can’t give them everything to eat.

Seed mixtures and pellet blocks are the two types of food most frequently used for gerbils.


Gerbils and guinea pigs are sociable creatures, which means they require the presence of other members of their species to be happy. They are familiar with being in groups. Hamsters are considered solitary creatures, which means they must be kept individually.

Although keeping two pets rather than one is more enjoyable, you have to provide them with a larger cage and twice as much of everything. On the other hand, having a hamster can be advantageous for some pet owners.

The Verdict

Guinea Pigs become friendlier and more engaged than other small animals. The cost of a pet guinea pig ranges between 10 and 40 dollars.

Hamsters are great pets for newbies. They have the shortest life expectancy. It’s easier to care for and keep them happy. They require less socializing than guinea pigs and gerbils.

This popular pet costs $20.

There is no difference between gerbils and hamsters. Gerbils are friendly, active, and nocturnal. They make for good beginner pets. It’s not much more than $5- $10.


If parents are ready to supervise the animal’s daily care closely, a youngster can become a guinea pig owner. This involves ensuring they have nutritious meals and a clean, comfortable home. Daily exercise and affection are also crucial.

Guinea pigs, gerbils, and hamsters are known for their excellent hygiene. However, hamsters will store food scraps in their cages and nesting boxes. In addition, hamsters pee and defecate more than gerbils. Therefore regular spot-cleaning is necessary.


Gerbils in the wild are nocturnal, which means that they hunt for food and move around primarily at night. Guinea pigs are daily, so they’re awake when their owners are. They can, however, take a short nap in the afternoon.

On the other hand, Hamsters are crepuscular animals (active during dawn and dusk). This indicates that they sleep throughout the day and are most active at night. This makes them an ideal pet for individuals at work during the daytime. However, you may play with them in the early evening.

Guinea pigs are less active. they have several unusual behaviors and sounds. Their sounds reflect their emotions. For instance, purring indicates that your pig is relaxed and content. Even guinea pigs may be trained to perform tricks.

Many people buy hamsters as pets because they find it entertaining to watch their pets run about the home and play in their hamster balls. In addition, hamsters are naturally curious about their surroundings, which helps them extend their legs and satisfy that curiosity. Likewise, gerbils are inherently curious animals.


There are thirteen breeds of guinea pigs, including the Abyssinian, the American, the Coronet, the Texel, the Peruvian, the Sheltie, the English Crested, the English Smooth Coat, the Teddy, and the Silkie. Each breed looks different. The American guinea pig is widely considered to be the most popular breed.

Out of 87 species & 14 genera, only two types of gerbil are often kept as pets. These two species are Mongolian and fat-tailed gerbils. Hamsters come in five distinct varieties, each with a unique coat length.

There is a wide range of color variations among the breeds. The most common variety is the Syrian Hamster. In addition, there are four other species of dwarf hamsters, including the Chinese Hamster, the Campbell’s Russian, the Winter White, and the Roborovski.

Fun Facts

Small animals make great pets, but it might be hard to determine these beautiful ones apart if you don’t know much about small animals. So here are some fun facts about how hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs are different.

  • Gerbils and hamsters can be distinguished by their size — the legs, tails, and noses of hamsters are all known to be quite small and stubby. The beaks, seats, and rear portions of gerbils are much longer.
  • You may not have known that hamsters are hoarders since they have large cheeks for storing and transporting food. 
  • Hamsters are nocturnal, which means they are active at night and sleep throughout the day. Not all gerbils are strictly nocturnal. Guinea pigs are remarkable in that they are neither purely nocturnal nor diurnal, as they sleep far less than hamsters and gerbils.
  • Compared to hamsters and gerbils, guinea pigs have a much larger body size.
  • Guinea pigs are herbivores, which means they consume just plant matter, but hamsters and gerbils have become omnivores and consume both plant and animal matter.
  • Hamsters are nocturnal, which means they are active at night and sleep throughout the day. Not all gerbils are strictly nocturnal. In contrast to hamsters and gerbils, guinea pigs are not entirely nocturnal or diurnal because they don’t sleep nearly as much.
  • Compared to hamsters and gerbils, guinea pigs have a much bigger body size.
  • Guinea pigs are herbivores, which means they consume just plant matter, but hamsters and gerbils are omnivores and consume both plant and animal matter.

Bottom Line

Choosing the right pet might be difficult. But, because they are all easy to take care of, all three make great house pets. Commitment is the one thing that distinguishes them in your mind. The average lifespan of a hamster is significantly less than that of a guinea pig or gerbil.

And if you’re thinking about how they act, hamsters are better pets because they are friendlier and calmer. Guinea pigs are more active, social, and intellectual than other animals. On the other hand, gerbils gnaw and burrow in their cages.

Choosing a healthy hamster, guinea pig, or gerbil as a pet is essential. Gerbils are less popular as home pets than hamsters and guinea pigs. However, all three are calm and social with people. All three creatures, despite their striking resemblance, are distinct species. As pets, they have specific dietary, activity, and care requirements.

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