Hamsters and guinea pigs are both super cute and fluffy animals, but it turns out that their similarities end there. They are entirely different species and have a lot more differences than similarities. Although you can cuddle a hamster or a guinea pig, it is better never to keep them together. Let’s find out why!
Hamsters and guinea pigs cannot live together. Hamsters are solitary, nocturnal omnivores, while guinea pigs are social, diurnal herbivores. Hamsters are territorial and, despite being smaller, may attack the guinea pig. Guinea pigs should live in pairs and need much larger cages than hamsters.
Keeping a hammie and a guinea pig together would be similar to putting a gentle cow in the same room as a grumpy badger. They would both be miserable, and you will have your work cut out to keep them properly fed and well cared for.
Can You Put A Hamster With A Guinea Pig?
Both hamsters and guinea pigs fall into the large order of Rodentia, commonly called rodents, but they are entirely different in diet, habits, lifestyle, and personality. Putting a sociable herbivore into the same cage as a territorial, omnivorous loner would be very stressful for both animals.
Besides the two animals having entirely different personalities, guinea pigs would be heading off for some shut-eye around the same time the nocturnal hamster is waking up and getting ready to forage. Neither animal would be able to sleep with the other moving around, and they will never become buddies.
12 Differences Between Hamsters And Guinea Pigs
Although a guinea pig may look like a super-sized hamster, they are not alike. Anyone deciding between a hamster and guinea pigs as pets must be aware of the characteristics of each animal.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of the main differences between hamsters and guinea pigs.
|Originate from Southeast Europe, the Middle East, and China||Originate from South America|
|Solitary animals||Herd animals.|
|Nocturnal||Active during the day|
|Territorial||Usually quite relaxed about sharing|
|Much smaller, especially Dwarf hamsters||Larger|
|Can live in a smaller cage||It needs much more space than a hamster|
|Lifespan 1.5 – 2 years||Lifespan 5 – 8 years|
|More suited to adult owners||Make better pets for children|
|Highly strung and easily stressed||More relaxed|
|Enjoy running on a wheel||Physically cannot run on a wheel|
|Can hold food in their cheeks||Do not store or carry food in their cheeks|
Are Guinea Pigs Friendlier Than Hamsters?
Guinea pigs are more sociable than hamsters and shouldn’t be kept alone. If you are thinking of getting a piggy, it is better to get two of the same sex as cage mates. Guinea pigs can become lonely or depressed from spending too much time on their own.
Hamsters are happy to be only children. Once they are settled and bonded, they enjoy spending time with their owner. But they prefer having their own cage and toys and are happy to live alone.
Guinea pigs are far more accepting of love and cuddles even if they aren’t handled daily. Once a hamster is tame, it should be played with frequently. While both species need time to become tame, a hamster may take a little longer to trust its owner.
Can Hamsters And Guinea Pigs Live In The Same Room?
Keeping a hamster and guinea pigs in the same room is not advisable, even if they are in different cages.
Their sleep cycles and activity levels are entirely different. Hamsters are active, curious little creatures who love to forage about on their own.
Guinea pigs will be disturbed by a hamster running on its exercise wheel at 2 am, and the hamster may be stressed about having another animal in its space, even if it is across the room. Hamsters are highly strung little animals that can quickly become stressed if something in the environment is upsetting them.
What Happens If You Put A Hamster And Guinea Pig Together?
In the best-case scenario, a hamster and a guinea pig may tolerate each other. It is more likely that the hamster will try to protect its territory and may even attack the placid guinea pig. Despite the difference in size, hamsters are more aggressive.
Guinea pigs need to live with other guinea pigs. They are herd animals like cattle or sheep and were domesticated and farmed in a similar way for centuries. That is why guinea pig owners should always keep more than one piggy. A hamster is not good company for a guinea pig as they are not the same species, and hamsters prefer to live on their own.
Can Guinea Pigs Use A Hamster Wheel?
Hamster wheels and balls are extremely dangerous for guinea pigs. Although they are rodents like hamsters, they are built stocky and low to the ground. Their backs are not able to flex in the same way as hamsters or mice, and they have a totally different energy level, so placing them into a wheel or ball will cause terrible injury.
Hamster balls, even large ones, are another no-no for guinea pigs. Besides not having enough flexibility to cope with the curved shape inside, guinea pigs are highly prone to heat stroke. Being stuck inside an enclosed plastic ball would be a very uncomfortable and cruel situation.
Guinea pigs need exercise, but they get that by ambling about. They also interact with their cage mate – which must only ever be another guinea pig. They should be housed in the largest possible cage and taken out regularly for floor time.
Are Hamsters Or Guinea Pigs Better?
Hamsters are better, of course! We love everything about our tiny pocket-pals, but when deciding on the right pet for your situation, it is essential to know what you’re getting into.
Because guinea pigs are much bigger and more sociable, they are usually a better choice as pets for children. They are more robust and often enjoy being petted. Guinea pigs also live longer than hamsters.
The downside is that you will need to get at least two animals of the same sex as guinea pigs need the company of their own sort. They will also need a much larger cage than a hamster requires.
Hamsters are ideal for anyone who wants a low-fuss little pet that is happy to live on its own and enjoys attention from its doting owner. They are more fragile and jumpy than guinea pigs, but once they have settled in their environment, they are curious and enjoy stimulating activities like tunnels and mazes.
What Animal Can I Keep With A Hamster?
Hamsters do very well with their own company, and it is not necessary to keep two. If you decide to get two hamsters, they should have their own cages and be introduced gradually. Dwarf hamsters, like Roborovskis, are usually more tolerant of having a cage mate than larger varieties like Syrian hamsters.
It is essential never to mix and match different types of animals in the same cage. Hamsters rarely tolerate other hamsters, so adding an entirely different species like a gerbil or guinea pig is a recipe for stress and possible injury.
What Other Animal Can I Keep With A Guinea Pig?
Only one type of animal should ever live with your guinea pig, and that is another guinea pig! If you want a small pet that can be kept in cute pairs, then piggies are a great choice.
Mice, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, and other pet types are not a good idea if you have guinea pigs. They should never be placed in the same cage as a guinea pig. Since they can’t climb, guinea pigs are also usually housed in open-top cages, so having other pets like dogs or cats in the house is also a bad idea.
Hamsters and guinea pigs both make excellent pets – but not together. They are entirely different species of rodents, and they will not play together or enjoy one another’s company. Besides the fact that hammies and piggies are both super-cute little animals, they share very few similarities.