Gerbils vs. Hamsters: 5 Major Differences All Pet Lovers Must Know


As a first glance, you may think that Gerbils and Hamsters are the same because both pets look adorable and also make for a good pet. However, this is where the similarities end. There are lots of differences between these pets when studied closely. Therefore, before adopting one, all pet lovers need to understand the major differences between Gerbils and Hamsters.

Behavioural Differences: In looking at their behavioural differences, the following points must be put into consideration.

  • Active: Gerbils are known to be active, intelligent, and inquisitive pets. They love been held and need daily interaction. They also entertain themselves by digging, shredding, or gnawing on provided materials. Also, Gerbils are active during the day and night; they tend to rest whenever they feel. Hamsters, on the other hand, love to explore at night. The best time to interact with them is during the early morning or in the evening time. This implies that they may keep you awake at night if they are situated in your bedroom.
  • Energetic: Gerbils are more energetic, and fun to be with than hamsters. Generally, hamsters are more laid back.
  • Biting: Gerbils rarely bite; they are friendly and curious which makes them great pets for families with kids while hamsters, on the other hand, tend to bite even if you have had them for a long time frame.

Physical Differences: Hamsters are known to be short, with a short nose, and short, stocky legs while Gerbils, are longer, with a long pointed nose, long hind legs, and a longer tail.

Colour Combinations: Both pets come in various types of colours. Hamsters come in multiple colors, patterns, and textures. The colors could be white, cinnamon, brown, gray, or black. Gerbils, on the other hand, come in over 40 to 50 different colors combinations, some of which include, brown, gray, reddish-brown, and white.

Care Differences: Both pets need a clean and well-ventilated cage with the right beddings for burrowing, a water bottle, chew toys, and an exercise wheel.

Feeding: Gerbils and Hamsters require the right amount of protein to remain healthy at all times. For hamster, the food formula is 18 to 23 percent protein; you can also feed them with eggs and chicken. Hamster can also be fed with various types of vegetables and fruits. While Gerbil needs 14 to 15 percent of protein with a mix of grain, they also eat sunflower seeds, bulbs, herbs, a small quantity of fruit and vegetables like cucumber, carrot, pumpkin. Both pets are omnivorous animals; they love crickets and mealworms.

Lifespan: Unfortunately, both animals do not live long. Hamsters live an average of 2 to 4 years while Gerbils live between 3 to 5 years on average.

Finally, both Hamster and Gerbils are great pets for all pet lovers. However, it is vital to understand the differences between both pets as listed above before opting for one.

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