That's it, you've made up your mind and want a little pet? Yes, but which one? The hamsters and the guinea pigs are cute, fun to look at and relatively easy to care for. Not easy to choose, we agree!
So before making a decision on the best choice, here's how to properly differentiate the two species, understand their needs and characteristics.
Hamsters are small rodents belonging to the Muridae family. There are several species of hamster, some of which are better adapted to life in captivity than others. Among the most popular are the Syrian hamsterthe dwarf hamster Russian and the Roborovski hamster.
Characteristics of hamsters
Hamsters generally range in size from 5 to 15 centimetres. Their weight varies between 25 and 180 grams, depending on the species. Hamsters live mainly at night and sleep during the day. This means they'll be much more active and entertaining to watch after dark.
Feeding and habitat of hamsters
Hamsters are mainly herbivores, feeding on a wide variety of seeds, vegetables and fruits. There are also commercial mixes specially designed to meet their nutritional needs. As for their habitat, hamsters need a cage adapted to their size and equipped with accessories such as a wheel for running, tubes for climbing and hiding places for sleeping. They also need absorbent, dust-free bedding to ensure their comfort and maintain a clean environment.
Understanding guinea pigs
Guinea pigs, also known as guinea pigs, are rodents native to South America. They belong to the Caviidae family. Guinea pigs are larger than hamsters and generally live in groups.
Guinea pig characteristics
Guinea pigs measure between 20 and 35 centimetres in length and weigh between 700 grams and 1.5 kilograms. Unlike hamsters, they are daytimeThis means they are active during the day and sleep at night. Guinea pigs are generally more sociable and less fearful than hamsters, which can make them easier to handle and pet.
Guinea pig diet and habitat
Guinea pigs eat a mainly vegetarian diet consisting of hay, fresh vegetables and specific pellets for guinea pigs. They also need a regular source of vitamin C, as their bodies don't produce it naturally. Their habitat must be large enough to allow them to move around freely and maintain good hygiene. Guinea pigs need a litter tray, hiding places and toys for fun and entertainment.
Comparison between hamsters and guinea pigs
Space requirements and maintenance costs
Hamsters generally take up less space than guinea pigs, which can be an advantage if you live in a small home. Maintenance costs are also generally lower for hamsters, as they consume less energy than guinea pigs. food and require smaller cages.
Activity level and interaction
As mentioned earlier, the hamsters are nocturnal and the day guinea pigs. If you prefer to interact with your pet during the day, a guinea pig is probably the best choice. But if you find it fascinating to observe an active animal at night, a hamster is an excellent choice.
Need for companionship and life expectancy
Guinea pigs are social animals that enjoy each other's company and can suffer from loneliness if left alone. Hamsters, on the other hand, are often territorial and may fight if they share their space with another hamster. In terms oflife expectancys, the guinea pigs generally live longer than hamstersThe average life span of a hamster is 5 to 8 years compared to 2 to 3 years for hamsters.
Easy handling and care
Guinea pigs are generally easier to handle and less likely to bite than hamsters. They are also less agile and quick, which reduces the risk of them escaping from your hands during handling. Both animals need regular attention and maintenance of their habitat to stay healthy.
In the end? The choice is yours alone!
Ultimately, choosing between a hamster and a guinea pig will depend mainly on your personal preferences and lifestyle.
Consider the space you have available, the time you're willing to devote to your pet, and your expectations of interaction. In any case, these two animals can bring great joy and affection to their owners.