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Blog Post: Do hamsters and gerbils make good pets? | Pet Medicus

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Hamsters and gerbils are popular choices for small pets. They are both easy to care for, affordable, and don't require much space. However, while they share some similarities, there are also some significant differences between the two. Here, we'll examine the pros and cons of keeping hamsters and gerbils as pets to help you decide which is best for you.

Hamsters are typically larger than gerbils, and they come in a wider variety of colors and patterns. They are usually solitary animals, meaning they prefer to live alone, and can be aggressive towards each other if kept together. Syrian hamsters are particularly popular as pets, and they make excellent pets for children, as they are easy to handle and relatively docile. Dwarf hamsters, while smaller, are more active and require more space, so they may not be the best choice for younger children.

Gerbils, on the other hand, are social animals and should be kept in pairs or groups. They are smaller than hamsters, and they have longer tails and hind legs, making them more agile and able to jump higher. They are very active and enjoy exploring, so they need plenty of toys and activities to keep them stimulated. Gerbils can be shy at first but can become very friendly with regular handling.

In terms of care, both hamsters and gerbils are relatively easy to look after. They require a cage with a solid bottom, bedding, food, and water. Hamsters need an exercise wheel, while gerbils need a wheel and plenty of toys to play with. They both enjoy chewing and need plenty of things to gnaw on to keep their teeth healthy.

One potential downside to keeping hamsters or gerbils as pets is that they are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. This may be fine for some people, but if you're looking for a pet you can interact with during the day, a hamster or gerbil might not be the best choice.

Another consideration is lifespan. Hamsters typically live for 2-3 years, while gerbils can live for up to 5 years. While this may not seem like a significant difference, it's important to consider when choosing a pet. If you're looking for a long-term companion, a gerbil might be a better choice.

In conclusion, both hamsters and gerbils can make great pets, but they have different personalities and requirements. Hamsters are more suited to being kept alone, while gerbils need company. Hamsters are larger and more colorful, while gerbils are more active and agile. Both are easy to care for and make excellent pets for children or adults. Ultimately, the choice between a hamster and gerbil comes down to personal preference and lifestyle.