What’s the Difference Between Hamsters and Guinea Pigs? Which one is the Best Pet?

What's the difference between hamsters and guinea pigs?

What’s the difference between hamsters and guinea pigs? 

What’s the difference between hamsters and guinea pigs?

There are some very clear differences between hamsters and guinea pigs: 

  • Hamsters are much smaller than guinea pigs 
  • Hamsters live in solitude while guinea pigs live in groups 
  • Hamsters are much lighter  
  • Hamsters can arch their back backwards while guinea pigs cannot 
  • Hamsters are nocturnal while guinea pigs nap whenever the feel like it 
  • Hamsters are great climbers while guinea pigs are not climbers at all 
  • Hamsters tend to be more aggressive and territorial towards other animals  
  • Hamsters are omnivores while guinea pigs are herbivores 
  • Hamsters have a short life expectancy compared to guinea pigs 
  • Hamsters can (and often should) live alone in a cage while guinea pigs prefer company 
  • Hamsters will have a litter often between 6 – 12 pups (sometimes even bigger) while guinea pigs only have 2 to 4 piglets at a time 
  • Hamsters need a lot of exercise as they walk up to 5km per night in the wild 

Which pet is easier to take care of hamster or guinea pig? 

One is not ‘easier’ to take care of than the other. If you are looking for a pet to cuddle and handle a lot and will be awake most of the day, then a guinea pig is your kind of pet. If you are looking for a feisty loner which is small and cute then a hamsters might be your kind of pet.

Both hamsters and guinea pigs need looking after, healthy food, fresh water, exercise, handling and attention. They are just very different animals both with their own cuteness and perks. A guinea pig will need a larger living space than a hamster, however, watch out that your hamster’s cage is a large enough living space for your hamster, to avoid cage rage, which is a real thing

Which is more friendly a hamster of a guinea pig? 

In lots of ways a guinea pig is the friendlier animal if you want to compare it to a hamster. Hamsters are solitary animals and don’t need social interaction, though many hamsters do love to be petted, once they are tame.

Guinea pigs on the other hand are social creatures and they can become depressed when deprived of interaction. Therefore, it’s more likely that a guinea pig is happy to be handled, stroked and petted than a hamster. Hamsters are also more likely to bite compared to guinea pigs though a hamster bite is likely to be less painful than a guinea pig bite. 

Which is cheaper a hamster or a guinea pig? 

A hamster is cheaper to buy and to keep, however they have a shorter lifespan which means that if should you want to always have a pet, you’ll have to buy another one sooner. Ultimately it comes down to which animal you prefer to have, as you can look after both pets relatively cheap. It’s important to remember that all pets cost money, to buy, to feed and possibly to take to the vet when ill.  You can also make it as expensive as you like with a golden cage and superior food. But that’s completely up to you. 

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Do guinea pigs stink? 

Guinea pigs don’t stink but they do have a slight odor as all animals have. Guinea pigs will groom themselves and keep their fur clean without the need of bathing them very often. You can brush his hair weekly, so it doesn’t get matted and collects dirt.  A dirty cage or dirty bedding will make not just the room but also your guinea pig smell and this is down to you rather than your guinea pig. Make sure you remove waste from the cage every day. If your guinea pig still stinks, it could be that he’s ill and should see a vet at once.  

Should you get a hamster, guinea pig or rabbit as a pet? 

The great thing about hamsters is that they are small, cute, and easy to look after. Guinea pigs are very social, chat a lot and love to be petted and rabbits like to play, are soft to pet and can be very entertaining.  

What are some pets that are even easier to take care of than a hamster? 

Rabbits are easy pets and so are guinea pigs. They are small and easy to look after, don’t need complex diets, like company and like to be petted. However, they will need a larger enclosure than hamsters do, so if your space is small a hamster can live in a smaller cage (though make sure it’s more than big enough for your hamster to avoid your hammy getting stressed). 

Which is better a hamster or guinea pig? 

It’s not that a hamster is better than a guinea pig or the other way around. They are both lovely pets, which are easy to look after, and which are cuddly when trained. Most people have a preference to either of them, where the guinea pig is quite a bit larger than a hamster which makes it easier to pet especially for little hands. Guinea pigs like company, are very chatty and will be awake during the day. Hamsters on the other hand are entertaining to watch especially when it’s running around his cage or is on his hamster wheel. They are lovely to hold and are a quiet pet.   

Is hamster the same as a guinea pig? 

No hamsters and guinea pigs are completely different animals. While both belong to the Rodentia family, that’s where the similarity stops (other than that they are both super cute!).  They are different in size, have a different diet, one is nocturnal while the other isn’t and one is solitary while the other lives in a family group.  

Do guinea pigs or hamsters bite? 

Both hamsters and guinea pigs bite from time to time, though you can expect a bit from a hamster more often than from a guinea pig. It can take a while before a hamster gets used to you and where they are quite prone to stress, they are likely to bite in defense because they are scared. 

Can hamsters and guinea pigs live together? 

No, they can’t, and you should never put them together in a cage. Hamsters are solitary creatures and become very territorial when another animal is put into his cage, whether this is a hamster of a guinea pig.  

Can a hamster kill a guinea pig? 

Guinea pigs are quite a bit larger than hamsters so it’s easy to assume a hamster doesn’t stand a chance against a guinea pig. However, hamsters are solitary animals, and some breeds are very territorial. This means they don’t like company much and can become very aggressive. In the case of hamsters vs guinea pigs, territorial aggression can lead to hamsters attacking guinea pigs and deadly wounding them.  

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Can a guinea pig kill a hamster? 

Yes, guinea pigs can kill hamsters and if placed in a cage together, they sometimes do. But don’t assume the guinea pig will always win, as it’s likely that the hamster will be the aggressor, as they are solitary creatures while guinea pigs are used to living in group. This makes guinea pigs less likely to be territorial and therefore aggressive towards invaders. Hamsters can be very vicious when they want to so it’s best to give them both their own living space. 

Can guinea pigs and hamsters eat the same food? 

Guinea pigs and hamsters should eat their own pellets as they have been specifically created for the needs of either animal.  

  • Hamsters are omnivores which means they eat vegetables, grains, fruit and meat. 
  • While guinea pigs are herbivores, which means they don’t eat meat.  
  • Hamster pellets will be smaller due to the size difference between the two animals.  
  • Guinea pigs don’t naturally make vitamin C and need it in their diet as food or as a supplement. Many high-quality guinea pig pellets will be fortified with a large amount of vitamin C. Check the packaging for ingredients, vitamins and additives. 
  • Hamsters need more protein in their diet than guinea pigs.  

Make sure you buy a high quality hamster pellet for your hammy. If you run out of hamster food, check out this post, rather than giving your hamster guinea pig food.  Make sure you know how long your hamster can live without food as well.

Can hamsters and guinea pigs play together? 

Guinea pigs and hamsters will not get along and trying to set up a playdate is not going to work. The difference in size, temperament and needs are too big to make hamsters and guinea pigs play together. The chances that they fight are too big to risk it.  

Why can’t hamsters and guinea pigs live together? 

Hamsters are nocturnal while guinea pigs are not, besides that, hamsters are solitary and territorial and guinea pigs are social creatures used to live in groups. They will fight and with nowhere to escape to, it’s often a fight till death 

Is there a way to put syrian hamsters and guinea pigs together? 

It’s best to avoid putting a syrian hamster with a guinea pig as syrians are notoriously territorial. This means that the guinea pig will most definitely be attacked and will get seriously hurt. Hamsters are small but can be very vicious especially when fighting over territory.  

What are the pros and cons of having a guinea pig as a pet? 

There are many pros to having a guinea pig as a pet and only some cons. Overall guinea pigs are great animals to keep and make a perfect first pet for children. They’re chatty, social, friendly and funny just to name a few. 

Pros of having a guinea pig as a pet: 

  • Guinea pigs are cute! 
  • Guinea pigs are very sociable animals as they live in large groups in the wild and like to be petted.  
  • They have individually identifiable characteristics and are very chatty 
  • Guinea pigs are easy to care for 
  • They are prone to some diseases, but most are preventable with proper care 
  • They naturally live in colder climates, which means they don’t need to be kept at a certain temperature.  
  • Guinea pigs will let you know they enjoy being petted by purring. 

Cons of having a guinea pig as a pet: 

  • They are very noisy, especially early in the morning, and can easily wake you up 
  • They are messy and will throw things out of their cage 
  • They eat their own poop 

Conclusion: What’s the Difference Between Hamsters and Guinea Pigs?

Guinea pig is larger and more robust, which make is a better pet for younger kids. Hamsters live in solitude, can arch their back backwards, are nocturnal, are territorial, have larger litters and need a lot more exercise than guinea pigs. They are both lovely pets.  

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