Gerbil vs. Hamster: What’s The Difference

Having a Pet is a lovely thing. Is it true?

Well, people love different pets like dogs and cats. However, some love gerbils and hamsters. They are indeed beautiful and safe to keep as a pet because they are fantastic animals. But despite the love for the species, they don’t know how to differentiate them, maintain and care for them, and feed them and others.

If you are among those people, worry not. In this guide, you will learn how to differentiate them and how to take good care of them. Does that sound great? Stick here and read on!

What Is Gerbil?

Gerbil is an animal in the subfamily of Gerbillinae, a member of the rodent family. Other members of this family include rats, birds, and mice.

In mammals, the rodent family is the largest group with over 100 species. The tiniest species is the roborovski, while the vast species are the capybara. Moreover, among the many Gerbil species, Mongolian Gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) is the best species mainly kept as a pet.

Gerbils grow to about 5-6 inches, excluding the tail. Its tail is 3-4 inches tall at maturity. It weighs 2-4 punches by adulthood.

The most exciting thing about this species is that it has 30-50 beautiful colors and combinations. The colors include; brown, gray, and an assortment of red and brown with white and gray. On the other hand, some gerbils have dark color marks on their heads. You can also see some white patches behind their ears.

What Are Hamsters?

Hamsters belong to the subfamily of cricetinae, the rodent family. As for gerbils, there are several species under hamsters, but the common one is known as the Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus), which is the common species kept as pets.

However, there are other different species kept as pets. They include;roborovski hamster( phodopus roborovskii), Campbell’s dwarf hamster( phodopus Campbell), and the white dwarf hamster( phodopus sungorus).

Hamsters can either grow long or dwarf. They are 5-7 inches long for the long hamsters, and they weigh 3-8 ounces. The dwarf hamsters are 2-4 inches long, and they weigh about 1-1.5 ounces.

The hamster’s hair can also grow either short or long. They differ in color, pattern, and texture. Most of them range from color white to brown, gray, and black. Other hamsters have wavy hair, while others have a satin sheen.

To easily differentiate a male and female hamster, look at their hairs. The male hamsters have longer and more fluffy hair than the females. If you don’t like hairy hamsters, this is for you. You can get hairless types of hamsters.

Gerbils And Hamsters Similarities

  • Both gerbils and hamsters are members of the rodent family.
  • Although they have been domesticated at a high rate in modern lier especially in the US, both species are desert species.
  • They can be great pets. However, it would be best if you were keen while choosing. Gerbils are calm and social. They are also active during the day. On the other hand, hamsters are not social, and they do bite when petted and irritated. They are also active during the night.
  • Throughout their lifetime, both species grow their teeth continuously.

Difference Between Gerbil And Hamster

If you are not keen enough, you can fail to differentiate gerbils and hamsters. But worry no more because there are several things you can look at and differentiate them easily. Let’s have a look at them.

  • Gerbils have long pointed noses. They also have longer tails and hind legs that stand on from time to time. Hamsters have short stubby nails, noses, and legs.
  • Gerbils are not hoarders, while hamsters are hoarders. That means that they do have roomy cheeks made to store and transport food.
  • Gerbils are not diurnal. This makes them the best choice for a pet, especially for children. The reason is, they will be awake during the day when the children are active. Hamsters are nocturnal. They sleep during the day and are active at night.
  • You cannot keep gerbils alone because they are social. For them to be happy, they love a company of their kind. They also prefer to live in groups. On the other hand, you can keep hamsters alone because they are not social. Most hamsters live a solitary life—for example, the Syrian hamster.
  • Gerbils live a longer lifespan of 3-8years than hamsters because they live a lifespan of 2-5 years.

How To Care For Gerbils And Hamsters

Caring for these species is very easy and fun.

The best habitat for these animals is the cage. This is a secure place. It would help if you cleaned the cages regularly. Keep the species clean and check on them regularly. Also, inspect their nails frequently. Don’t let them grow long. If they’re long, visit your vet for consultation.

For gerbils, they are hardy species that are cool and social, especially for young children. Dur9ing the day, it is good to spend time with them to strengthen the bond. It is also vital to ensure that you make the animal comfortable by making his social life easy and enjoyable. Never forget to be gentle with them.

The animals need to exercise. Of course, the best place for exercise is outside the cage. But it would be best if you kept your eye on them during that time.

Protect your species from attacks. The attack can either be from people. For example, young children do not know how to handle the gerbils. While playing with them, they can easily hurt them by dropping them down.

Also, it would help if you protected them from other domesticated animals like dogs and cats. When they see an animal, for example, a cat, it will run after them for attacks.

What To Feed Gerbils And Hamsters

First off, know that these species were once wild and domesticated animals. In the wilderness, their favorite food was natural fresh foods. However, when they were domesticated, they began eating commercially canned food, and they loved them. Before buying canned foods, do thorough research or consult your vet about the best food types for your species.

Also, don’t forget to give your species freshwater every time.

Over To You

Now that you can easily differentiate between gerbils and hamsters go for the one you’re comfortable with, and the affordable one. Although these species are fun and easy, one needs to be careful. For instance, hamsters don’t like to be held or tampered with. So you need to be patient while handling them because they bite when they are irritated.

In addition, you should be keen to observe their health. Like other animals, they get diseases like dental disease, diarrhea among others. When you spot any of these, don’t hesitate to consult a vet.

With the information in this guide, I’m sure you can now stay well with your chosen species.

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