Pets are the answer to your loneliness. And in the case of your self-analysis, they are silent and active listeners too. To have such an assistive friend, many people prioritize rodents over cats and dogs due to the reasons below.
- Rodents require less space
- They are low-maintenance
- More than innocent and damn cute
If you are one of them going for a rodent, surely you will face a challenge to resolve the puzzle of gerbil vs hamster vs guinea pig. Among these three, the basic differential context is size: guinea pigs are larger compared to hamsters and gerbils. In addition, gerbils have longer tails than hamsters.
To assist you in the selection process, we’ve compared these pets’ in detail: specifications, advantages, disadvantages, care needed, maintenance costs, etc.
Let’s explore and get the right one today!
Gerbil vs Hamster vs Guinea Pig
Below is the differential context of gerbil vs hamster vs guinea pig.
|6 inches to 12 inches
|2.25 inches to 12.2 inches
|Friendliness to Kids
Gerbil vs Hamster vs Guinea Pig: The Difference
Now that you know their core difference, let’s look into each of them in detail!
If you cannot afford a lot of time to take care of your pet, a gerbil is a good solution. Also, it can be a good present for your toddler, who has little or no experience dealing with pets.
Below are some crucial pieces of information you should know about gerbils before making a decision.
- Gerbils are also known as desert rats
- The size ranges from 6 inches to 12 inches
- The average weight is 71 grams
- Gerbils are omnivorous, eating both plants and meat
- Gerbils, in general, live 3-5 years. The fat-tailed gerbil (Pachyuromys duprasi) lives 5-7 years
Best Practices for Petting a Gerbil
Below are some essential practices for pet gerbil care. Check whether you can do them or not:
- You have to arrange a cage of 410 square inches with a minimum height of 12 inches. And the required bedding size is 6.2 inches
- The ideal cage material is glass; hard plastic is another good option. And the cage should have a lid (be careful when choosing a lid; it should not fall inside the cage under any circumstances or the pet will die)
- The cage has to be equipped with exercise equipment and toys
- Cleaning the pet will test your patience, as there are lots of corners and folds (between fingers, between joints, etc.) that you have to clean one by one
- You must clean the cage daily to remove the poop and food waste, change the water, restore the interior’s arrangement, etc.
- They are fond of leaves, bulbs, seeds, etc. You can also feed them fresh vegetables (broccoli, carrots, etc.), bananas, nuts, apples, grapes, hay, and so on. Again, you can feed them live insects as well. Please remember to provide just one spoon of food at a time
- You should give food twice a day
- It is not good to disturb a sleeping gerbil
- You must talk very softly to it
- If you go for two, make sure both are the same gender
- Above all, maintaining a quiet and peaceful environment is essential
Check the YouTube link to know the procedure of gerbil petting:
The below-listed advantages can help you decide whether to pet a gerbil.
- Gerbils are friendly to humans, and they are also considered social animals. It is very rare that a gerbil bites its owner, which makes it highly suitable for kids
- Obviously, it is very low-maintenance
- Gerbils are happy to pass weeks inside the cage
- Nearly zero smell
- It is fun to watch their performances (playing or exercising)
- Petting a gerbil allows you to experience an emotional connection
- It teaches you how to care
Well, in our lives, nothing comes without issues (problems! ), and petting a gerbil also has such.
- Gerbils are not fond of cuddling. Unlike dogs and cats, you cannot expect cuddling to express your affection
- They are escape artists and very messy. This behavior will compel you to renovate (organize or reorganize) the cage interiors on a regular basis
- Surly, you have to visit the vet every month
- If you also have a cat in the house, you should not get a gerbil
If you feel lonely at night, a hamster is a good pet for you. Unlike gerbils, hamsters used to sleep during the day and become naughty at night. Let’s explore the possibilities of petting a hamster.
Below is the basic dataset for this rodent family member.
- Most people like a Syrian hamster as a pet
- Depending on its origin (Serbian, Chinese, Syrian, Russian, etc.), the length ranges from 2.25 inches to 12.2 inches
- In general, the weight ranges from 25 to 275 grams
- Hamsters are omnivorous, eating plants and meat
- Typically, hamsters’ lifespan is 2–3 years
Best Practices for Petting a Hamster
To pet a hamster, you must meet the following requirements:
- The cage size requirement is 24 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches (LXWXH), and you should go for thick plastic in the case of cage material selection
- The cage has to be equipped with exercise equipment and toys
- Hamsters are omnivorous. They are fond of leaves, bulbs, seeds, etc. You need to ensure a fresh food supply.
- Also, to meet the nutrition requirement, you have to buy specialized factory-produced foods (which cost money). It should be mentioned here that feeding your hamster will be challenging in terms of preparation and food type selection
- You have to provide food twice a day
- Weekly cleaning of the cage and bedding is essential
- You need to check whether it is getting enough exercise or not. If not, you have to intervene in its exercise. Overweight hamsters usually face major health issues
- Finally, you must ensure that the pet does not chew on cage-inside items
The points below are designated to help you prioritize hamsters as your pet.
- First of all, hamsters are super cute and entertaining
- It can be your mate on those lonely nights
- Moderated maintenance
- Easy to clean as they take care of their own grooming
- Petting a hamster doesn’t require providing lots of attention; they are used to being happy by themselves
You must consider the following issues before petting a hamster:
- Not suitable for kids. Inappropriate handling by kids can kill it. In addition, depending on its mood and the pressure it receives while being held, a hamster can bite
- Hamsters eat their poop; you may find it irritating (if you are very sensitive)
- Hamsters cannot bear a little amount of stress (changes in the surrounding environment, sensing new people’s presence, etc.) and eventually become dead
- Your hamster may carry viruses that are harmful to humans, such as lymphocytic choriomeningitis
3. Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are also another popular pet in the rodent family. People used to prefer petting a guinea pig for its greater lifespan than a gerbil or a hamster.
Okay, let’s check how suitable it is for you.
The following are some basic guinea pig facts:
- Guinea pigs have long been human companions
- The usual length of a guinea pig is 8–10 inches
- The average weight ranges from 680 grams to 1250 grams
- Guinea pigs cannot eat meat
- The average lifespan is 4–8 years
Best Practices for Petting a Guinea Pig
If you want to pet a guinea pig, you must be able to meet the following requirements:
- The cage dimensions must be 36 inches by 30 inches by 12 inches (L x W x H)
- You have to keep it away from small kids (below 5 years old)
- As it receives degraded health conditions within the loud and uncomfortable surroundings, you must ensure a quiet and peaceful environment.
- There is a significant initiation cost you should consider. The initiation costs include the purchase of a cage, exercise equipment and toys, dishes for food, a water bottle, bedding materials, etc.
- You have to feed it twice a day
- Daily spot cleaning is required
Below is a list of advantages in the case of petting a guinea pig.
- Guinea pigs are very friendly to humans
- Requires less food
- Guinea pigs perform self-grooming
- They love indoors
- Their curious activities always amaze their owners
Are you thinking about getting a pet guinea pig? You should be concerned about the following issues.
- You can get a Salmonella infection from your guinea
- If they feel threatened, they can bite
- Moderately suitable for your kids
- A guinea pig poops more than 100 times a day
Here, we answer some common questions regarding the comparative context between gerbils, hamsters, and guinea pigs.
Q: Are a guinea pig and a gerbil the same thing?
No, they are not the same. Though some behavioral characteristics are the same, many other factors are quite different.
Q: Are guinea pigs just rats?
No. Guinea pigs belong to the rodent family, which is very much related to chinchillas but not rats.
Are gerbils good pets for 5 year olds?
Any kind of pet is not suitable for kids below 5 years old. However, you can allow the younger one to play with gerbils under adult supervision.
Surely, now you have in-depth information regarding the context of gerbil vs hamster vs guinea pig. If you have a small kid in the house, we suggest you go for a gerbil or a guinea pig, as those are less likely to bite in an unpleasant condition (kids eventually fail to maintain proper handling technique).
A hamster, on the other hand, can be a good pet if you want to master animal petting and learn how to care for sensitive animals.