Should I Get a Rat or a Hamster? 


Should I get a rat or a hamster

Should I get a rat or a hamster? 

It’s hard to answer the question ‘should I get a rat or a hamster’ as both are lovely but very different pets. While both are rodents, there are a couple of things to keep in mind: 

  • rats are social creatures which can become lonely and sad when not in pairs 
  • Hamsters are solitary and happy to be on their own. 
  • Rats are social and therefore like interaction with you while hamsters might need to be tamed for longer.  
  • Rats are less likely to bite 
  • Hamsters are smaller and therefore need a smaller living space. 

So should you get a rat or a hamster? That’s up to you. It normally comes down to which animal you like best. If you are buying for someone else, please take all points above in account and discuss which pet would suit them best. Whether you choose a hamster or a rat, I’m sure you’ll have a great pet!

Who will win between a rat and a hamster? 

While you might expect the rat to instantly win from the hamster, hamsters tend to be very aggressive and will therefore put up a ferocious fight and could easily win this. However, this is not guaranteed as rats have sharp teeth and are larger than the hamster. The rat will have an equal chance if it has the chance to attack the hamster. So, it will depend on the pair that’s fighting, their level of aggression and chances in the fight, as they are both able to win in a fight. Having said this, never put a rat and a hamster together in a cage or anywhere where they could get into a fight! Rats and hamsters are pets, not fighting machines.

Can a hamster and a rat live together? 

Absolutely not. Rats are social creatures and live in large family groups in the wild, hamsters on the other hand are solitary and territorial. This means the hamster will attack the rat and they will fight ferociously. You can keep both animals in their own cage at different sides of the room and they will be fine. If you want more than one animal; rats thrive in company and will be happier with a friend than being on their own, just not with a hamster.  Should you get a rat or a hamster? Or both? That’s up to you, just don’t put them together in a cage!

What should you feed a pet rat? 

Your rat needs a high protein diet which consists of vegetables, fruit, seeds and meat. The easiest way to give a balanced diet is to give half a part rat pellets, one quarter part vegetables and fruit and one quarter part a combination of grains, meat, boiled egg, cheese or seeds.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

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Can a pet rat eat hamster food?  

Both hamsters and rats are rodents, omnivores and need a diet high in protein, however, commercial pellets have been put together specifically for each animal so it’s best to stick to the pellets for your pet rat rather than give her hamster food. Both rats and hamsters need vegetables, fruit, grain and seeds in addition to their pellets.  

Are hamsters and rats cousins? 

Both hamsters and rats are rodents from the family Cricetinae to which the mouse and voles are also belong. This makes them cousins in a way, however even though they belong to the same rodent family, they are still very different animals with different family structures, dietary needs and habits.  

Can rats and hamsters breed? 

Even though they come from the same sub family of Rodentia, that doesn’t mean you can cross breed a hamster and a rat. Any pups born wouldn’t live.  It’s more likely as well that the rat and hamster would fight rather than mate.  

How are hamsters and rats different? 

Rats live in large family groups which makes them much more sociable, though it also means they’re best of living in pairs. Hamsters are more prone to stress and really like to live on their own as most breeds are territorial and solitary. Rats are more intelligent than hamsters which means it will be easier to tame them and even to teach them tricks.  Rats are also larger than hamsters and will need a larger living space.  

Are rats friendlier than hamsters? 

Rats are more social than hamsters as they naturally live in large family groups, and this makes it easier for them to interact with humans. This might make rats seem more friendly than hamsters, however if you spend lots of time with your hamster, she will get used to you, which means you can have lots of great interaction and a lovely pet to hold and handle. 

How do you tell the difference between a hamster and a rat? 

The main clear differences between rats and hamsters are that rats are significantly larger than hamsters, that hamsters don’t have much of a tail, while rats have a very long tail and lastly that rats are often one color while hamsters tend to be patchy with different colors in their fur. 

Are hamsters smarter than rats? 

No rats are actually smarter than hamsters. This doesn’t mean that hamsters are not intelligent, but if you want a pet which you could teach tricks, you’ll have more chance of success with a rat than with a hamster. 

Are hamsters easier than rats? 

They are both relatively easy pets to keep and look after and they are quite similar in their needs, however rats need lots of stimulation as well as attention, while hamsters are quite happy in their own surroundings and in their own company. So, if you aren’t home that often or need to be away overnight sometimes, a hamster is a better pet.  

What do hamsters need that rat need as well? 

Both will need fresh water every day and a combination of food pellets, vegetables, fruit, seeds and meat. You’ll need to clean the cage as often for either one of them and ideally remove dirty bedding from their cage daily.  

Are rats nocturnal like hamsters? 

Hamsters are crepuscular, which means they are most active during low light hours or twilight, at dusk and dawn. Rats can be crepuscular as well, other rats are nocturnal so they are mainly active during the night, and some are diurnal which means they are active during the day. 

Do rats eat hamsters? 

Wild rats will eat hamsters if they get a chance, pet rats are unlikely to try to eat a hamster. However, if you put a hamster and a pet rat together there is a significant chance that they will fight and that one of them will get killed or seriously injured. As hamsters are very aggressive and rats are big with sharp teeth, either of them could win, though both could die from their injuries.  

What is better a rat or a hamster? 

If you have lots of time for your pet and want to teach it tricks and play with it often, then a rat will be a good choice. If you like an animal in your room with who you can interact when you have time, then a hamster might be better. Also, if you want just the one pet, choose a hamster as they are solitary, however if you rather have more than one pet, then choose rats as they prefer living in pairs and can become very lonely if kept on their own.  

Do hamsters like being held? 

While many tame hamsters are happy to sit in your cupped hands, they don’t like to be held tight and will sometimes bite when you do so. It’s important to always give your hamster the possibility to move and walk somewhere else. However, holding and petting your hamster is good to create a bond between yourself and your pet.

Do hamster bites hurt? 

Hamsters are small animals, but their bite can be quite painful. While hamsters are not normally aggressive towards humans (cage rage being an exception), when they are not used to you or their surroundings, are stressed or not tame, they are more likely to bite. It’s worth spending time with your hamster before you pick him up by just being there and talking.  

How do you tell if my hamster is stressed? 

Stressed hamsters are likely to be hyperactive, have hair loss, be aggressive, have compulsive behavior, might try to escape, be noisier, dribble more or is generally a different behaved hamster. Find out what causes the stress immediately, as prolonged stress can make your hamster seriously ill.  

Can hamsters have periods? 

Hamsters have a reproductive cycle like other mammals, however they have an estrous cycle which means the lining of the uterus is absorbed by the hamster, rather than a menstrual cycle, like humans, where the lining of the uterus is shed.  

Can you scare a hamster to death? 

You can scare a hamster to death if you put your hamster under continuous duress by loud noises, predatory pets nearby or constant moving of the cage. Hamsters are nervous animals and prone to stress, so the calmer their surroundings the calmer the hamster.  

Conclusion to this post should I get a rat or a hamster. It comes down to what animal you prefer to have as your pet. Both a rat and a hamster are lovely creatures but they are very different from each other. If you like social creatures a rat is your better choice. If you prefer solitary animals, then you are better off with a hamster.

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