Read About Gerbils and Hamsters

Gerbils and Hamsters are long-standing favorites with small animal lovers. Here's everything you need to know about them.

Varieties of Gerbils and Hamsters

Gerbils and Hamsters are often believed to be the same animal, but they are actually two similar but different animals. Both have numerous species, with the Syrian Hamster (also known as the golden or fancy Hamster), and the Mongolian Gerbil being the most popular species for each.

Physical Characteristics of Gerbils and Hamsters

Both Gerbils and Hamsters are classified as small mammals in the pet world, and they both rank high in popularity. Hamsters are usually six to seven inches long with short tails. They have cheek pouches for storing and carrying food, and they come in a variety of colors and patterns, including popular golden colors. Gerbils are usually five to six inches long with tails of three to four inches and come in various colors and patterns. The Hamster life span averages two to three years, but four years isn't uncommon. Gerbils generally live three to five years or occasionally longer.

Behavior of Gerbils and Hamsters

One key difference between Gerbils and Hamsters is that Hamsters are active at night and generally prefer to sleep during the day, whereas Gerbils are active during the day and at night, only sleeping for short periods at a time. Both are curious and friendly and make good pets, but hamsters are very territorial and should be housed separately from other hamsters at all times in order to avoid fights and injuries. By contrast, Gerbils will live companionably with other Gerbils that were raised with them.