July 26


What Is The Difference Between A Hamster And A Gerbil?

By Mandy Thompson

July 26, 2023

When starting a small pet collection, many people are often tempted to purchase either a hamster or a gerbil. After all, they look similar in size and both have tails – so what is the difference between these two creatures? In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the key differences between hamsters and gerbils. We’ll explore characteristics such as their behaviors, diets, living environment needs, and more to help you choose which furry friend will best fit your lifestyle. So keep reading if you’re curious about adding one of these cuddly critters to your home!

Size – Hamsters are typically larger than gerbils

If you’re considering adopting a small furry friend, you may be wondering what the differences are between hamsters and gerbils. One key difference is their size – hamsters tend to be larger than gerbils. While both species generally weigh less than a pound, hamsters can grow up to six inches in length, whereas gerbils typically top out around four inches. Of course, size isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing a pet, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind!

Coat – A hamster has a soft, furry coat, while a gerbil has a more coarse coat

Hamsters and gerbils are both popular pets, but one noticeable difference between the two is their coat. Hamsters have soft, luxurious coat that almost begs to be touched. Running your fingers through their fur is a soothing and calming experience. On the other hand, gerbils have a coarse, prickly coat that gives them a rugged appearance. While it may not be as silky to the touch, it still has its own unique charm. Both coats serve their respective animals well, keeping them warm and protected as they scurry about in their habitats. So, whether you prefer the velvety feel of a hamster’s coat or the rough texture of a gerbil’s fur, both furry friends are sure to steal your heart.

Color – Hamsters usually have more variation in color compared to gerbils which are typically brown or tan

Hamsters are often the more colorful option when it comes to small pets. Unlike their furry counterparts, gerbils, hamsters have a wide range of hues and patterns that make them all unique. Some hamsters are soft pink, while others boast coats of chocolate brown, creamy white, or even black. Still, others have distinctive patches or stripes that add character to their already adorable appearance. Gerbils, on the other hand, tend to stick to earth tones like brown or tan. While they may still be cute, they may not stand out as much as their hamster friends. So, if you’re looking to add some vibrancy to your tiny pet collection, a hamster might just be the way to go!

Lifespan – Gerbils have a much longer lifespan than hamsters, usually up to five years

Have you ever wondered how long your furry friend will stay with you? If you’re debating between getting a gerbil or a hamster, lifespan is definitely a factor to consider. Gerbils have a much longer lifespan than hamsters, with the average gerbil living up to five years. That’s a lot of time to create memories and bond with your little buddy. Not only will you have more time with your gerbil, but you’ll also have the opportunity to watch them grow and mature over the years. So if you’re looking for a pet that will be with you for the long haul, a gerbil might just be the perfect match for you.

Behavior – Hamsters tend to be more active and independent, while gerbils are social creatures that enjoy the company of one another

Have you ever wondered about the behavior of small rodents like hamsters and gerbils? These furry creatures are often kept as pets, but their personalities can vary greatly. Hamsters are known for their high activity levels and independent nature, making them a great choice for those who want a pet that can entertain themselves. However, gerbils are social creatures that thrive on the company of others of their kind. If you’re looking for a pet that enjoys interacting with you and its peers, a gerbil might be the perfect fit for you. Understanding the behaviors of these small animals is key to making the right choice for your household.

Diet – Both animals require a diet of high-fiber foods; however, gerbils can be fed seeds and nuts, whereas hamsters should not eat these items

When it comes to feeding your pet rodent, it’s important to know their specific dietary needs. Both gerbils and hamsters require high-fiber foods for a healthy diet, but there are some differences between the two. While gerbils can be fed seeds and nuts as part of their diet, hamsters should avoid these items altogether. Seeds and nuts are high in fat, which can lead to obesity and other health issues in hamsters. So when it comes to feeding your furry friend, remember to tailor their diet to their specific needs for the best possible health outcomes.


All in all, when choosing between a hamster and a gerbil, it is important to consider their size, coat, color, lifespan, and behavior. Hamsters are larger animals with softer coats that come in many varieties of colors. Conversely, gerbils have a more coarse coat, with colors usually being limited to browns and tans. When it comes to lifespan, gerbils will live five times longer than hamsters. In terms of behavior, hamsters are independent creatures, while gerbils require the company of another gerbil for companionship. A big difference also remains in their diets as hamsters cannot be fed seeds or nuts, whereas this is completely acceptable for gerbils. Therefore, it is important to research the characteristics of both animals before making any final decisions on which furry companion best fits into your home.

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