Guinea pigs and hamsters are the most popular small pets kept in homes in the United States. Interestingly, it’s commonly thought that these two pet types get along because they appear similar and are both rodents.
These furballs seem docile, adorable, and simple to care for. However, hamsters are solitary creatures that do not get along well with other rodents when housed in the same cage.
Do Hamsters and Guinea Pigs Get Along?
Simply put, hamsters and guinea pigs cannot share a home and shouldn’t share a cage since they don’t get along too well.
The requirements and preferences of guinea pigs and hamsters are very dissimilar. In fact, even playtime together can be very dangerous, even if they are kept in different cages. Additionally, a hamster wouldn’t benefit from eating like a guinea pig and vice versa.
Separating them is the wisest course of action.
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How Can You Tell the Difference between a Hamster and a Guinea Pig?
- The guinea pig stands head and shoulders above the hamster size-wise, at 8 to 10 inches and 1.5 to 2.6 pounds. It lacks a tail and has short legs. Its coat can be short or long and comes in various colors. It has a longevity of 4-7 years.
- However, their lifespan can be cut short by things like an unhealthy diet, illness, a dirty habitat, or consumption of dirty water.
- Make sure they exercise regularly and keep their house neat. Give them plenty of room to roam around in. Doing so can help to lengthen their longevity.
- On the other hand, the hamster only lives two to three years. The length of its tail varies widely between species. The smallest is the five-gram pygmy shrew; the heaviest is a 154-pound capybara. The golden hamster is the largest among the domesticated hamsters.
- You should provide both of them proper diet and nutritional supplements so that they can enjoy a long and healthy life.
Differences between Hamsters and Guinea Pigs
Many factors contribute to the animosity between guinea pigs and hamsters. Some of them are as follows:
1. Varying Diets
- Guinea pigs and hamsters are domesticated animals that eat very different things at different times of the day. They have a fondness for carrots, but otherwise couldn’t be more dissimilar.
- It is impossible to predict which pet – guinea pig or hamster – will choose which meal if they are housed together.
- Hamsters require commercially available hamster pellets. On the other hand, guinea pigs must have alfalfa hay every day.
- Both of them can consume fruit, but they should limit their intake. In contrast to hamsters, guinea pigs rarely consume whole fruits.
- Vitamin C supplements are essential for guinea pigs, but seeds and vegetables are more important for hamsters.
- Given that the two species probably wouldn’t eat the same things, keeping them together in the same cage could lead to nutritional deficits in one of them.
2. Varying Patterns of Habitat and Activity in Their Territories
- Both of these animals are pretty territorial and protective of their territory. Most notably, hamsters exhibit this behavior where they protect their space and do not like intruding.
- Hamsters can’t even live with other hamsters because of their increased hostility and territoriality. Therefore, it’s unfathomable to even think about putting another animal in its cage, even if it is the same size as them.
- If put together, the hamster might hiss and run away from the guinea pig. On the other hand, the guinea pig would likely respond in kind by squeaking.
- The frightening element is that both animals are known to resort to biting or fighting when territorial disputes arise.
3. Difficulties of a Physical Nature
- When compared to a hamster, a guinea pig looks positively enormous. They are submissive and calm; however, their fangs are far more massive and dangerous.
- Even though neither of these species eats meat, they bite each other when they fight. There’s no denying the incompatibility of these two.
Read here: Can Baby Hamsters Survive Without the Mother?
4. Cage Size Requirements Vary
- Cage dimensions for guinea pigs and hamsters vary significantly. There is plenty of room for maneuvering in the guinea pig’s cage. The guinea pigs can quickly escape their cage if their housemates are hamsters.
- Anybody who chooses to keep them together must do it in a single hamster cage, only so the hamster can’t get out.
- Due to their size, guinea pigs cannot be housed in the smaller cages that pet keepers commonly use.
- When kept alone, a large fish aquarium is a safe choice. However, if you plan on keeping them together, change your mind. There are essential distinctions that exclude cohabitation.
5. Unique Routines and Conduct
Most guinea pigs’ activity occurs during the day while they spend the night sleeping. In contrast to their nocturnal habits, hamsters are more active during the daytime. A major problem with having to share a cage is that when one sleeps, the other will be awake.
The rodents also like to have their own private spaces, whether for eating or sleeping. You can only guess what would happen if the guinea pig and the hamster fought about who got to occupy the corner of the cage where the food was kept.
6. Various Methods of Conversing
Hamsters prefer to spend time alone. More gregarious and community-oriented than mice or rats, guinea pigs thrive when they have others their size to play with.
The hamster may bite and scratch at anything that gets in its way; therefore, you must prepare yourself for unfortunate incidents if you plan to keep them in your home.
On the contrary, guinea pigs like to be alone and inconspicuous. However, they do want someone to share their playing time with.
Can Hamsters and Guinea Pigs Socialize?
- Hamsters and guinea pigs should not be left alone together. It is possible to keep both as pets so long as they are kept in different cages.
- Keep a watch on them after they are allowed to roam the floors with their toys and munchies to ensure they don’t run into one other or start a fight in broad daylight.
- Remember that the guinea pig needs far more floor area than the hamster. Therefore, you should avoid housing them in the same cage with their wheels and toys or in different cages.
- Even if you keep them as pets after all the warnings, know that it invites conflict, as rodents are fiercely territorial. This is a potentially disastrous mix anywhere, including neutral ground or a playground.
- Your guinea pig is vulnerable to injury from your hamster. They are not compatible; therefore, they can produce tension and worry for one another.
- A guinea pig might theoretically hurt a hamster due to their size difference, yet most instances show the risk being the other way around.
- Of course, there are always outliers, but think about whether or not it’s worth it to put your pig and hamster through undue hardship to establish that they can indeed form an unnaturally close friendship.
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Can a Hamster and a Guinea Pig Mate?
Hamsters and guinea pigs are not compatible with one another. The guinea pig is a different species and is significantly bigger than the hamster.
It is physically impossible for guinea pigs and hamsters to mate. Any attempt to do so would likely result in the hamster’s death or severe injury. The consequences tend to be far worse than them fighting each other.
Can You House a Hamster in a Cage Designed for a Guinea Pig?
Guinea pigs are larger pets, and so they need a large cage and space. Therefore, housing a hamster in a guinea pig cage is not a good idea. Since their cages have large spaces, your hamster would easily get out.
Hamsters can also get stuck, resulting in an injury. Maintaining hamsters in a guinea pig cage can be dangerous, but you can alter the cage to accommodate a hamster.
Cover the cage with wires or mesh. That will help to hide the big space between the rods that makes up the cage. You can then safely keep your hamster in it.
Hamsters will feel more comfortable in such a cage than in the small-sized one designated for them. They’ll have more room to explore, climb, and hide in their new, roomier enclosure.
Which Pet Smells the Worst – Hamster or Guinea Pig?
Hamsters smell worse than guinea pigs. However, this doesn’t mean the pet naturally stinks. It just has far more offensive waste than guinea pigs.
Hamsters’ diets are mostly to blame for the unpleasant odor of their waste products. They are able to eat different foods since they are omnivores.
On the other hand, guinea pigs are herbivores; hence, they only take simple diets such as vegetables. Such food is easily absorbed by the body and produces less gas.
Because hamsters’ digestive systems need more time to break down the more complex foods, the waste products of both sexes have a stronger odor. This is another reason why guinea pigs and hamsters don’t get along.
If you know what you’re doing, it is possible to have multiple hamsters share a home. However, if the violence persists, you must step in right away.
On the other hand, if you don’t want your guinea pig to suffer from isolation, finding a companion, either of the same or one of the other species, is a good idea. It would help if you kept a close eye on them, at least at first, to ensure they get along well and don’t quarrel while living together.
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- Do Hamsters Bury Themselves Before They Die?
- Can Two Hamsters Live in the Same Cage?
My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more