Hamster vs. Guinea Pig: What's the difference?

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Difference between Hamster and Guinea Pig

Hamsters and guinea pigs may look like one and the same creature, but they are actually entirely different animals, with their own key characteristics and habits. In spite of their differences however, there is no denying how adorable these creatures can be. And if only for that reason, a comparison between the two is more than justifiable.

Hamster
Guinea Pig

Profile

Hamsters are rodents that belong to the Cricetinae subfamily. This subfamily is comprised of more than 25 different species, and it is grouped into six or seven genera.

Guinea pigs belong to the Caviidae family, in the Cavia genus, and they are also known as “cavy”. Although called guinea pigs, these animals aren't really pigs as such, nor do they come from Guinea.

Characteristics

Hamsters are crepuscular by nature, and they tend to burrow underground in the wild, particularly during daylight. This is mainly done to avoid capture by predators. Their diet is comprised of a wide variety of foods, including berries, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Hamsters in the wild typically feed on seeds, fruits and greens, although they may also eat burrowing insects from time to time. These creatures have elongated pouched on the sides of their heads that reach down to their shoulders. These pouches are typically used to store food that they either eat at a later time or take back to the colony to be shared with other hamsters.

Guinea pigs have the ability to learn complex paths, particularly those that lead to food. In fact, once a guinea pig has learned a path, it will retain memory of it for several months. Although guinea pigs are adept at jumping over small obstacles, they aren't really very good climbers, nor are they very agile. Guinea pigs also tend to get startled easily, and they will either stay in the same position for long periods or seek cover in quick, darting motions in the face of perceived danger. Despite their limitations, guinea pigs are actually very good swimmers.

Advantages And Disadvantages As Pets

Both hamsters and guinea pigs have a number of advantages and disadvantages with regard to feasibility as pets. On the plus side, hamsters are extremely active and often engage in running, playing and exploration for hours. They also take well to being handled, and they generally require less food and maintenance than guinea pigs. On the downside, hamsters tend to bite at times.

As for guinea pigs, they are quite a bit larger than hamsters, and they can live for as long as 8 years. They are also a lot calmer than hamsters, and rarely bite. Although most guinea pigs take well to being handled by humans, they can also be quite skittish, and may refuse to come out of their houses for hours. Some guinea pigs in fact remain aloof to humans throughout their lives, and they are a bit smellier than hamsters.

Summary

Hamster

  • Tend to burrow underground in the wild, particularly during daylight
  • Diet is comprised of a wide variety of foods, including berries, nuts, fruits and vegetables
  • Take well to being handled
  • Smaller than guinea pigs

Guinea pig

  • Have the ability to learn complex paths
  • Often calmer than hamsters and rarely bite
  • Some remain aloof to humans throughout their lives

 
 

Discuss It: comments 3

  • Guest
  • Bella wrote on April 2012

Wow but wich is the best?

I agree! Which is best? I really can't decide!

  • Guest
  • wow wrote on last month

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