Hamster Vs Rats – Which One To Have As A Pet?

Keeping hamsters as a pet has become not only a trend but also a hobby for many. Rats, as well, can make a good pet for pet lovers. However, it is way more difficult to take care of a pet than to choose the best pet for home.

So, hamsters vs rats, what is the difference and which one is more friendly? Though rats are thought to be nicer as a pet than hamsters, it is hard to resist the charm of hamsters. No matter which one you choose as a pet, in any way, it is troublesome to take care of them.

Now, which one is the easiest one to handle? Which is the nicer one? Wait for a second! All these questions have been answered in the following article to ease your work in choosing a pet.

Hamsters Vs Rats

You can get to know the common differences between hamsters and rats from the table below.

Hamsters Rats 
Comparatively smaller in size than ratsLarger in size
Length of 2-6 inches on averageLength of 7-13 inches on average
Impulsive and aggressiveExtremely intelligent and friendly
Shy and less friendlySocial animals
Have a lifespan of almost 2-3 yearsShorter lifespan in comparison to hamsters, almost 2 years
Can be black, white, pink, red, gray, white, and even mixed breedCan be white, gray, brown, or black in color
Shorter tails compared to body sizeLonger tails compared to body size
Store foods in their mouth more oftenDo not store food for later
Has more tendency to bite thingsHas less tendency to bite things or even humans in comparison to the hamster
Acts as a carrier of rare diseasesActs as a carrier for many zoonotic diseases

You can follow the below youtube video for more information regarding the rat and hamsters as a pet 

Hamsters Vs Rats-The Difference

Hamsters and rats are totally different animals. Well, they look quite alike but still are different, if you notice. Not only are they physically different, but also the behavior of both are also not identical. 

Apart from that, their habits also vary with the environment in which they grow up.

Hamsters Vs Rats

All these differences make them unique in their own way. Generally, both can be adopted as pets. Yet, the choice is on the owner. 

Let’s take a look at the differences in detail. 


If you observe them, even their physical appearance and characteristics are different from each other. Though they are both found in a variety of colors, the sizes differentiate them the best. 


Rats are generally larger in size if you compare them with hamsters. Moreover, they are known for being chaotic and mischievous. Once you let go of them, you would hardly get them on your hand.


Meanwhile, hamsters are known to be quiet, aggressive kind of animals. They tend to like freedom more than being with other people surrounding them or even animals. Apart from having so many differences, there are a number of similarities as well, which are also included in this article.


Hamsters Vs Rats- Similarities

Well, there are very few similarities between hamsters and rats. Both of them are tiny and adorable. Perhaps, that’s why people prefer them as a pet.

Hamsters Vs Rats
  • Both are lovable and playful. You can easily enjoy your time while playing with them. As long as you tame them, it is alright to play with them. 
  • You can also train them beforehand for safe playing. Nevertheless, putting them in a cage is also suitable.
  • They both prefer some alone time for a recharge. Better not disturb them when they are enjoying their own time. 
  • Any interruption can make them more aggressive and sensitive to their surrounding.

Are Hamsters Friendlier Than Rats?

No, hamsters are not as friendly as rats. Rather, rats are way more social and approachable than hamsters. Even though both are suitable as pets, approaching them can be a bit difficult.

Are Hamsters Friendlier Than Rats
  • Accordingly, rats are friendly in nature but also shy. At first, they might seem a bit unapproachable, but later they can easily adapt to the environment. When they completely cop with the surrounding, they also become comfortable and playful.
  • On the other hand, hamsters take a long time to get along with the environment. Even taming them is not easier. But once you tame them, it becomes much easier to handle them. 
  • Still, they both love their alone time. 
  • In the case of hamsters, they need to be alone to enjoy their moment. While rats need less solitary time and also prefer being around people. In any case, their privacy should be respected and not interrupted. 

Hamsters Vs Rats- Which Is Better As Pets?

Well, it is difficult to say which one is better as a pet. It depends on the owner’s preference and also on other parameters. The owner should be the one choosing the pet while keeping the parameters in mind. Below parameters are given for ease of consideration.



Well, there are hardly noticeable differences between the rats and hamsters. Perhaps, it is on the owner, which one they prefer. The long-tailed rat or the short-tailed hamster. Moreover, both appear to be adorable and cute.



No matter what pet you choose, taming them is necessary. The less time they take, the better. The hamsters are a bit rude and aggressive and also would take a longer time for taming. 

Meanwhile, rats are friendly and can get tamed easily. Once they are trained and tamed, they will always come back to the owner. They prefer emotion rather than solitude, unlike hamsters. 


Both the hamster and rat cost between $10 to $20, depending on the size of the pet. You can also find highly-priced hamsters because of their breed. Hamsters’ breed can be really attractive and the cost can vary with their appearance.



Both rats and hamsters are shy. Yet, the rats are quite friendly in nature. Moreover, they are not interested in fighting. Rather rats are the curious type and mischievous ones. Though they prefer to have their alone time, they also like being with people. 

On the other hand, hamsters can be aggressive and unfriendly when they are only trying to adjust to the environment. Moreover, they tend to bite a lot. Sometimes, it can lead to bleeding and later also to infection. They are better suitable in a cage than leaving them free. 


Animals can be a carrier of disease. So, hamsters’ fur, saliva, and skin can lead to disease but those are not dangerous. A slight fever and headache can definitely follow. By chance, if the hamsters bite anyone, later it can also turn into an infection.

On the other hand, rats can act as the carrier of a number of zoonotic diseases, such as salmonellosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and more.


Even these diseases are dangerous for humans. They are quite dirty in nature as well. No one wants their pet to become a threat to them.

Do not let the pet become a threat to you.

If you’re interested in learning more about small animals, you may want to check out our article on male vs female hamster, as well as our article on hamster vs mouse. Our article on male vs female hamster examines the differences in behavior, temperament, and physical characteristics between these two genders of hamsters. Meanwhile, our article on hamster vs mouse discusses the similarities and differences between these two popular household rodents in terms of their behavior, care requirements, and suitability as pets.


Choosing the right pet is not limited to just a few questions. Below are some of the frequently asked questions you can read to learn the process of choosing a pet. 

Q: Do hamsters bite more than rats?

Yes, hamsters bite more than rats. Well, it is the normal behavior of any pet animal. Yet, you can try to tame the hamsters and make them feel at ease to stop biting. 

Q: Do rats fight hamsters?

Yes, both species can not tolerate each other. Well, none of them likes it when their privacy is invaded. If they are kept in a cage together, they are more likely to fight unless one of them dies or is separated.

Q: Can a hamster make you sick?

Yes, even the saliva, skin, and fur of the hamster can be a source of disease to humans. Bite of the hamster can also lead to infection and rare zoonotic diseases in humans. Well, bites are not as dangerous if the infection does not take place in the wounded area.


Overall, hamsters vs rats- both are good pets in their own way. It’s quite hard to choose either of them as both of them are adorable and irresistible. Meanwhile choosing both of them can be deadly.

However, choosing a pet depends on how you are being able to handle the animal. If the children or anyone can get hurt because of the pet, it is better to not keep that pet. Instead, choosing the friendlier one is cooler. So, choose wisely after knowing all the possible conditions. As being safe is always the best option.

Lisa G

Meet Lisa G, the founder and author of RodentsFact.com. With over 3 years of experience studying and observing various species of rodents. Lisa has established herself as a credible expert in the field. Her passion for these often-overlooked animals shines through in her in-depth articles and engaging writing style. Follow her blog to learn fascinating facts and gain a new appreciation for the furry creatures that share our world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *