Choosing between a hamster or guinea pig could be the toughest decision any pet owner may make. How do you pick between the world’s two cutest pets? We know how you feel.
Hamsters and guinea pigs appear almost the same to the untrained eye. But for an animal lover, the distinction between hamster and guinea pig is obvious. Although all are small, hamsters are a bit smaller and solitary. Moreover, guinea pigs are much more likely to live in pairs or groups. They even survive longer than hamsters.
Which one is correct depends on the situation, so let’s take a closer look.
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Hamster or Guinea Pig? Benefits Of Both
Benefits of Owning a Guinea Pig
- They are regarded as friendly, good-natured pets.
- Guinea pigs can also do well with other animals, so you can, for example, have one with a rabbit, giving you some more animal choice.
- They prefer to be busy when you’re away since they aren’t like hamsters.
- Guinea pigs can be kept indoors or outdoors if the climate is suitable. Guinea pigs will bite when afraid, but rarely, if ever, do this.
Benefits of Owning a Hamster
- Hamsters, being smaller, don’t mess their cages as easily as a Guinea pig, but you can expect to clean their cage twice a week.
- They are a wonderful pet, and they will have a close bond with their owners.
- Hamsters don’t live as long as Guinea pigs (two to three years compared to ten to eleven years), so they’re not a great per for a long-term liability. Depending on your case, this can be good or bad!
- They tend to be most aggressive early in the morning and at night, so they’re a good choice if you’re in the daytime work or school.
- Hamsters prefer to be very quiet with no noise other than their cage-moving sounds.
Guinea pigs are very social animals and are better housed with other guinea pigs. If you can’t have more than one, spend time with that guinea pig.
Hamsters are best left in isolation, however, since they’re very territorial. Holding more than one in a cage could lead to combat.
Overall, between a hamster or guinea pig, kids would prefer a guinea pig mainly because it adores companionship. However, sometimes hamsters also tend to build a very strong personal connection with their owners.
Guinea pigs birth pups, each litter carrying 2-4 pups. They can also hold up to 13 pups at once.
Hamsters can birth 6-12 pups on average, but the highest can be 20 pups!
Guinea pigs can only consume plants for food, making them herbivorous. Notice that they also snack on a form of their own faecal material called caecal that is softer and lighter than their other faeces. This form of food is nutrient-rich, vitamin-rich.
Hamsters eat meat and vegetables making them omnivorous.
Hamster or Guinea Pig: Are You A Cuddler?
If so, you’ll want a guinea pig. While some hamster owners swear their little buddies are gentle and loving and seldom bite, hamsters are not as open to human love as guinea pigs.
The explanation may lie partly in their size differences, as small hamsters may be more anxious and protective around us, tall, scary people. Also, a sleeping hamster may be a grumpy hamster — so if your hamster’s fast asleep, it’s definitely worthwhile not to wake him up for a cuddle.
Regardless of which you pick, both guinea pigs and hamsters should be handled a lot when young to get them comfy with their owners scooping them up.
Is Child-Friendliness Important to You?
The next logical question from your mind is which of these two pet standards is better for kids. A hamster is quick to think because of its small size. Hamsters, however, should be known as nocturnal animals.
They’re mostly involved and active while everyone else in your household is asleep. That being said, when considering whether to get a Hamster or Guinea Pig, your child should not have a hamster as a pet.
Just imagine how sad and grumpy the hamster will be when your child, who just came from school, plays with it instead of sleeping during the day.
Additionally, if they are interrupted in their supposed ‘rest periods,’ hamsters can get nippy. We’re pretty sure you really don’t like your much-needed sleep awakening. And if you have a cat or a dog in the building, you have the classic predator-prey situation.
If you want child-friendliness, a guinea pig would be a far safer option. They’re larger, allowing better grasp. When you’re around, they’re mostly around.
So when your child comes from school, he or she can still play with the boyfriend. When it’s time for bed, your child and his guinea pig will sleep together.
You must remember that both hamsters and guinea pigs bear zoonotic diseases. There are health problems from animals to humans and from humans to animals.
Sadly, younger children also don’t have fully developed immune systems. This can render them particularly vulnerable to certain conditions. The same applies to people that have weakened immune systems.
Obviously, when selecting the right small pet, there’s no animal that’s inherently more appropriate for anyone.
If you want a kid’s pet, we suggest you look at other choices than hamsters and guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are very delicate creatures who require plenty of room, cleaning and food, while hamsters are nocturnal and don’t like waking during daylight hours.
Some pet owners recommended adopting mice as children’s pets, but we strongly advise you to avoid children of a very young age carrying any pet as they may keep the pet too closely and bruise it or drop it on the floor. If your child is very young, then a smart idea would be to wait a few years, then choose easy pets that don’t need a lot of handling time, like a pair of mice.
Expert advice is that no child should be given primary responsibility for pet care whether its a Hamster or Guinea Pig. Ownership is enjoyable for the entire family, and most people agree that pet care is a family duty.
Making the right decision is also a major part of getting a new pet home. Particularly when it’s your first pet. This is a wonderful indication that you are taking pet ownership seriously, committed to giving your new friend the best possible life!