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Q: Hamster or Gerbil?

August 18, 2009 | By Tracy | 8 answers | Expired: 1940 days ago

Tracy

My beloved pet mouse Chester passed a few months back at the old age of 5. He was a rescued wild mouse and had lived a long happy life. I am thinking about a new little furfriend either a hamster or a gerbil. I would like to know the average lifespans of both from owners who have them so I can think about which way to go. * I should also add that I have 3 cats and a cockatiel so nothing larger than a hamster/gerbil or small rat can be considered.*

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Paige B.
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Aug 20, 2009

I have tried hamsters, gerbils, and dwarf hamsters. The gerbils were fun and could live in pairs, but mine chewed their cage ALOT and escaped multiple times (I tried plastic and wire cage) My teddy bear hamster (who was good sized) lived alone (like all large hamsters must) and she was very well behaved and made a great pet. My favorite was defiantly my Campbell dwarf hamsters. I had two and they never bit or chewed their cage. All are fun, but I enjoyed the hamsters the best. One thing to watch with gerbils, if they get the hair on their tail caught (in your fingers or anything else) their tail falls off. It happened to one of mine, when the other gerbil stepped on the tip of his tail. He tried to run away and the hair on his tail came right off. A few days later, his tail fell off. It is a survival mechanism for if a predator picks them up by the tail, but it was still sad and scary.

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LoveDogs101
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Aug 20, 2009

I recommend gerbil. Hamsters bite somtimes and are just not very smart. Also gerbils are cuter.

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Maren
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Aug 19, 2009

I prefer hamsters. They're larger, like handling, and *I think* are cuter. My brother had a hamster, Maximillion, who was loads of fun. He had a hamster ball, toys, and a fort. He used to sit on our shoulders or lap and was very cuddly and interactive.
My friend had a gerbil. I just remember it was more "mouse-like" and wasn't as interactive.

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Sheryl J.
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Aug 19, 2009

I have had both, but I preferred hamsters. I found them to be friendlier and more receptive to handling, but that was just my experience. You have seen others recommending a rat and I have to say so would I. They are actually extremely clean, smart and love to be handled. They also typically live much longer than either hamsters or gerbils, no matter which you pick, Congratulations on your new family member......

PS Check with your local shelter, please, you may be able to be the new Mom to someone who had to be given up, please.....

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daryl b.
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Aug 19, 2009

hamsters can be bitey except the teddybear which the ones i have handled in't see to be so prone to biting. i love g pigs an rats an rats are very smart. the hooded rat is my favorite. they are mostly b/w but i have seen b/w

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Renee
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Aug 19, 2009



I have owned many small animals, hamsters and gerbils included. I also worked at Petsmart for two years. It is entirely up to you on which you chose, but I prefer rats! Don't freak...rats are amazing pets, the learn their name and can learn many tricks. Also very affectionate and can live 7 years. The main health problem with rats is tumors, especially in albinos. Domesticated rats are very clean, can be litter trained, they even take baths like a cat would. Another neat thing about a rat is if it gets out of its cage it always comes back. Rats are also good for young children as they tend not to bite, unless they feel as if they are being dropped. Hamsters do bite, they are prone to stress and live about 2 years. They can easily get sick with a disease known as wet tail same as gerbils. Neither make a good pet for young children. If that hamster or gerbil should escape its home good luck finding it. Gerbils tend to be very skitsh and prefer to be left alone. I would read up as much info as you can on the pets you disire before making a choice.

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Jillian
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Aug 18, 2009

i'd like to add that the syrian hamster is also more commonly known as the golden hamster {and i think they're also the teddy-bear hamster as well as the fancy hamster}.
i've had gerbils and hamsters {many, many hamsters!}, and i've also had a lot a guinea pigs and a few rabbits and mice and one ferret. ferrets will always be my favorite, followed by guinea pigs. between gerbils and hamsters, although my hamsters were always more cuddly and sweet natured, gerbils were more fun. they had, dare i say, more personality? hamsters have a lot of personality too though, maybe i just found the antics of my gerbils more entertaining. either way - every rodent i've had was wonderful. though i've never personally owned a rat, i find them to be extremely personable and endearing. just throwing out other options!

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SweetIcee
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Aug 18, 2009

I used to have both, and I have to say I recommend a gerbil. They live 2-4 years and are generally easy to tame and handle. If you get a hamster, I would recommend a Syrian Hamster, as they are usually easygoing and friendly. They could live anywhere from 1-4 years. They do not get along with other hamsters, however, and therefore need a lot of human attention. Have you ever thought of getting a guinea pig? It would mean getting a new cage and accessories, but we currently own one, and he is absolutely to die for. They commonly live 4-8 years, and do not bite! They love treats and make happy sounds when they see you coming. My final recommendation would be to get a guinea pig, but have fun with whatever pet you get! Good Luck, and keep me posted!

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