If you're looking for a new small critter companion, there's a good chance that both gerbils and hamsters have crossed your mind. To most people, there isn't much difference between these two creatures!
They're both small, energetic, adorable, and so much fun to be around. But really, when looking at gerbils vs. hamsters, what sets these two apart from each other?
To sum it up briefly, gerbils are creatures that are very energetic and sociable, live very well in groups, and are always curious about what you're doing. Hamsters are a bit more laid-back in nature, independent, and are very diverse in appearance and personality.
How Do Gerbils & Hamsters Compare?
So what exactly is the difference between gerbils and hamsters? It makes sense if you're confused, as these creatures do have quite a few similarities! In fact, many people refer to gerbils as hamsters, not even knowing that the two are entirely different rodent species!
Lets take a look at some of the most prominent behavioral and physical similarities and differences between these two creatures.
Gerbil vs. Hamster Physical Appearances
At first glance, these two rodents look very similar. However, there's actually quite a few differences between them in terms of size, color, and specific physical attributes.
All of these traits come together to create rodents that look quite different from each other. If a specific appearance is important to you, you should definitely be aware of these differences.
Gerbils and hamsters look similar at first glance, but they're actually quite different! There are hamsters of all sizes, while the most common gerbils tend to be around the same length and weight. Hamsters also have quite a bit of variety in their fur in regards to length, style, and color, while gerbils primarily differ in color with 40-50 different color combos.
Gerbil vs. Hamster Behavioral Traits
While gerbils and hamsters look quite similar on the surface, underneath they're entirely different animals!
It's essential that you're aware of the behavioral differences between gerbils and hamsters before making your choice, as behavior is a huge part of a pet. Fortunately, the differences are quite clear and easy to highlight.
There are stark differences between gerbils and hamsters when it comes to personality. Gerbils are absolutely more sociable and energetic critters, thriving in groups and spending all day rearranging their tank. Hamsters are more laid-back and, while still entertaining and lively, definitely aren't as energetic and sociable. So, if you want to be very involved with your pet and don't mind having a few, gerbils are the way to go. However, if you want a pet that's great on their own and a little more hands-off, it's hamsters all the way.
Gerbil vs. Hamster Care & Health
As you've just learned, gerbils and hamsters have entirely different personalities. With this stark difference in personalities comes a big difference in how they need to be cared for.
Gerbils and hamsters each have specific environmental and health needs that need to be met in order to keep them happy and healthy.
Knowing what each of these rodents need as far as environment and care goes is extremely important if you're thinking about owning one in the future.
Gerbils and hamsters require different living spaces, but other than that they aren't too different. Gerbils require a tank that's entirely free of plastic and gives them massive amounts of space to dig and tunnel, while hamsters are similar but maybe not as extreme with their needs. Both creatures eat roughly the same food, are equally prone to health issues, and live just a couple of fun-filled years.
Should You Get A Gerbil Or A Hamster?
Ultimately, it comes down to you! Both of these fascinating creatures have traits that are unique to them and have caused them to become beloved by thousands, if not millions around the world.
Gerbils and hamsters do share some similarities, but they're also quite different in their appearance, their temperament, and the care that they require. This is excellent, though, as that makes gerbils the perfect pet for some people while hamsters are perfect for others.
Whichever rodent you decide to go with, know that you're going to have some very fun-filled years with them. Both gerbils and hamsters are capable of providing so much entertainment and affection towards you that's so surprising coming out of their little bodies.