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Customer Discussions > Kids forum

Guinea pig, hamster or gerbil?

Discussion moved to this forum by Amazon on Jul 28, 2008 12:53:42 PM PDT.

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Showing 51-75 of 86 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2008 3:52:20 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 2, 2010 8:32:03 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2008 4:51:17 PM PDT
primo22 says:
My Daughter wanted hamsters but the clerk at Petco said that they bite. I bought her a pair of guinea pigs(two females or else you'll end up with more than you bargained for). They were very cute and personable but like most kids she lost interest in them. That left me with the job of feeding,cleaning and giving them the attention the need. My recomendation would be to get a pet that you yourself would not mind taking care of if your Daughter should lose interest. That way you don't feel that you're not stuck taking care of a pet that you didn't really want. We ended up getting a tiny dog that I love even though my daughter has moved on to other things(boys,sports,sleepovers and so on).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2008 11:47:58 AM PDT
I have 3 hamsters that I thought my son would like & they are all male. Please use caution. Get separate cages for them (if more than one) & hamsters can be extremely jumpy & mean. I was holding 1 of my male hamsters & something spooked him & he started to freak out. He bit me & let me tell you...PAINFUL. I still love my hamsters but make sure that your child is gentle with them.

Good luck!!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2008 2:10:57 PM PDT
P. Sullivan says:
I've had all 3. I'd avoid hamsters cos they're fairly nocturnal, however much they adjust slightly to our daytime routine. Gerbils are very active. Guineas I have at the mo and are great. Unlike hamsters and gerbils they will just sit on your lap, really still, munching on grass if you give it them and will even go to sleep. I've never had gerbils/hamsters sit still on me for any length of time. I've also got 4 cats and they are interested in them but not threatening. I'd say go for guineas. They need slightly more cleaning (but then I've got 3 in a cage - due to buying a pregnant one!!) than a hamtser or gerbils, but in my opinion worth it.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2008 3:30:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2008 3:42:29 PM PDT
C. Novak says:
RATS RATS RATS...get a pair....SAME SEX...the first two that crawl up your arm when you stick it in the tank of rats at the pet store...mine were (i've had MANY over the years) friendly and loved being out of their cage long enough to get treats to run back to their cages (sometimes over obstical courses just for my amusement) to stash, so they could run back to me on the couch to give them another treat to best of all...big enough to find on those occations when they don't feel like going home when you want them too

i've had all the other little pets in my life..and for the money...the rat is the best...the only other one that comes close is a ferret...and for the money...i'd go rat any day

ps...i never had much luck with the all one colored ones...get a white and black or grey and black

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 30, 2008 4:04:03 AM PDT
Guinea pigs are cute and CAN be friendly, if you're lucky enough to get one that has a friendly disposition. However, they are a lot of work. As someone else mentioned, they drink a lot, which, of course results in frequent urination. They "go" all over their cage, not just in one spot and they are not adverse to lying in their urine or feces. My granddaughter had one and it required a complete change of bedding material every day. Good Luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2008 3:15:20 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 3, 2008 3:24:03 PM PDT
I don't have personal experiences with gerbils, but I have quite a bit of experience with guinea pigs and hamsters. I worked at a pet store for a year, and I from just the standpoint of "personality" I would lean toward a guinea pig, or a rat.

It is generally easier to care for hamsters verses guinea pigs, but they can be more prone to biting, and are more aloof; only coming out at night. Their nocturnal nature can be especially difficult if you keep the hamster in a room, and you are a light sleeper. Also, because they only come out at night, they will have the tendency to chew just about everything that they can in the cage, and you only figure this out in the morning after everything is a wreck. (I kept hamsters in aquariums and they even chew/eat the silicone). On the positive side, they require a much smaller cage, less food, they don't need as many fresh vegetables as guinea pigs, and take a bit longer to "dirty" their cage. They also come in many different color variations. They are less prone to allergies and respiratory issues verses guinea pigs, and you can use cedar shavings, or pine shavings (although some folks avocate not using the raw wood bedding). With guinea pigs, you either have to use aspen shavings, or preferably the paper type bedding, which is less common, and more expensive. My son has had a guinea pig for the last year. We keep him in a 55 gallon aquarium, so every month to five weeks we go through one of the BIG bags of bedding, and we also have to buy the Timothy hay (one bag a month), and fresh oranges and vitamins to keep him from getting sick. I spend on average about $30 a month for his care. On positive side, he is very friendly, has a great personality, comes out in the day, is more social and doesn't require a noisy wheel. Unlike a hamster he does not run away, or bite as easily when you take him out. You can generally house guinea pigs together, but hamsters will kill one another (hamsters usually have to be raised together for them to get along). Another thing that I would suggest for a guinea pig is to mount a mirror on the outside of its cage (they will look at themselves) and buy a rattan ball with a bell inside (usually they are cat toys; Petsmart sells them) and they will roll them around, and try the litter box trick in their cage, which will slow down on them soiling their bedding.

Hope this all helps.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2008 9:36:45 AM PDT
kidlitfan says:
Both of my sons had gerbils and lizards. My sister's children had hamsters. I found that the gerbils are easier to keep clean, but are not as friendly. (My son's gerbil bonded specifically with him and lived to be almost 6-unusual). My nephew's hamsters were VERY friendly, but a bit smelly (even with the wood chips being changed almost daily).

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 16, 2008 8:09:18 PM PDT
Rachel Hart says:
We just lost our Guinea Pig after five 1/2 years. She really engendered love with her nosey little face and squeaks and chertles. She loved to be held and petted. Don't put guinea pigs in exercise balls. Perfect for a 12 year old. In hindsight I would have asked the vet upfront about any aging issues they commonly experience. We could have probably extended her life had we known about their jaws and aging. We'd definitely get another guinea pig. In the beginning she came front a breeding mill and had a seizure but recovered. Keep your receipt from the store and make sure they have a return policy for sick pets.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2008 11:42:02 AM PDT
Walleye says:
While away on a business trip, my wife and daughter bought young rats, not the sewar kind, but the fancy rats. I was not pleased at first, but after getting used to them, I actually became quite attached. They are much like small dogs, very friendly and social, unlike hampsters or gerbils which are not very active. The rats really do make great pets, but only a 2-3 year lifespan.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2008 4:37:59 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 9, 2010 8:42:53 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2008 10:06:50 AM PDT
E. Dodd says:
Guinea Pig!!!! By all means! Hamster's are cranky (they bite) and nocturnal. Gerbils are nocturnal, with high energy (excessively nueortic.) Guinea Pigs have the best qualities and will only bother you when they hear the refrigertor door open and close.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 14, 2008 2:01:40 PM PDT
Ref Girl says:
I'd have to weigh in for the guinea pig. We had hamsters: they are noctural and don't live very long. G'pigs are easier to handle, live longer and are a bit more interactive. And they "sing," especially when you bring them veggies trimmings such as carrots, peppers and lettuce. You'll need to provide this sort of fresh food because G'pigs don't make their own vitamin C (hamsters and gerbils do.). You can also compost their bedding, which makes them a fairly "green" pet. Two important hints: get two females and they keep each other company; handle them alot when they are young so they get used to it.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2008 6:59:20 PM PDT
Emi says:
Guinea pigs are awesome. We've had two, and loved both dearly. Both learned the sound of the fridge, and would start squeaking whenever we opened it (telling us they wanted carrots). It's a sound I miss to this day. The downside is yes, they do smell. That's the only reason I don't have a guinea pig now. If you can commit to cleaning the cage every day, I would give a resounding YES to guinea pigs.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2008 8:01:12 AM PDT
Emily J. says:
We've had hamsters and guinea pigs. We have a piggie now. They're my favorites. (My daughter dressed ours in a Webkinz santa suit for our Christmas card.) I'd say L. Dodd and N. Gddss posts are right on. A couple of things to mention: Guinea pigs are happier in pairs. (I'm looking for another.) The bigger the cage, the better - you don't have to change it so often. Mine uses the bathroom mostly in one spot and I just scoop out the bedding with a small paper plate frequently and then change out the entire cage every week or two. Oh, and use Aspen bedding - it's easier on their lungs than pine. You can also buy stuff to put in their water that helps with the urine smell. We've had hamsters and we've had nice ones and mean ones. It's hard to know what you're getting. I didn't like that hamsters and gerbils are nocturnal. And a pain when they escape!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2008 9:35:59 AM PDT
AS says:
I have had gerbils (up to 27 - oops they breed fast). I love them, have 3 now. But, whatever be sure you get 2. Gerbils mate for life (get 2 females if you don't want to experience the joy of birth!). But they cuddle and preen each other and are clearly happier in pairs. I suspect the same with the other rodents.
I have never had a rat but have heard that they are very smart and friendly.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2008 5:46:03 PM PST
Contrary2 says:
I also agree about the guinea pig. They are much more friendly than a hamster or gerbil. Both hamsters and gerbils will bite you and guinea pigs only nibble (if they think your finger is a carrot!) The only down side to a guinea pig is that they eat like trojans (I know this because we have two, Oreo and Yuri). This also means the use the bathroom a lot which means changing the cage religiously. Hope your daughter enjoys her new pet.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 2:47:55 PM PST
TraceyD says:
Ok, I usually don't reply or get involved in any of these discussions. However, I'm an animal person who has had rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, and many others. I also do rehabilitation work with wildlife. I would encourage you, as you do your research, to please consider a rat also. I know it sounds "yucky", but I have learned first-hand how much more fun they are that the others. They are more friendly, more curious, very playful, and learn well. They like their cages and do not spend all day (or night) trying to escape like gerbils and hamsters. I currently have two for my boys (5 and 7) and cannot tell you how much fun we are having with them. They are much smarter than the others and, in my eyes, MUCH more fun. I never would have believed it, but I did the research in deciding their first pet, and I'm so glad I did! Incidentally, just after we got them, Jeff Corwin from Animal Planet did a segment on The Today Show with suggestions for pets, and he had a rat on the show and said that it is one of the best starter pets you can have. I now agree! Good luck with your decision.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2008 8:58:50 PM PST
My gerbils have never bit. I've been bitten by hamsters many a time though.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2009 7:32:26 PM PST
Why do you say "gerbils are more likely to bite"? They are very social animals and love to play. They only bite if they feel threatened. We have 3 now and have had as many as 7. They've never bitten anyone, including my kids (ages 5 and 8) who like to play with them. What's more, they don't sleep all day (as some rodents do) and are clean. (They are desert animals and have very little pee or poo). You should keep them in same-sex pairs (or 3) since they are social animals and a single gerbil will be lonely and bored.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2009 10:07:04 PM PST
Michele says:
A rat. No kidding. Better and more affectionate as pet.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2009 4:45:16 PM PST
M. Parker says:
I know its too late and the original poster has moved on...but listen to the Rat lovers!

There really is no comparison among the various small mammals...Rats are a cut above all the others. I've owned Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, name it and the Rats are the pets I still keep today half way through my thirties. The person who said they were like small dogs was right...wonderful pets...I will warn that they require more attention than the others however. Not really more cleaning type attention...just more time playing with their owner. They are extremely inquisitive and playful creatures who need to be interacted with daily. This isn't a pet to leave in its cage for weeks at a time. For the same reason make sure you get a minimum of two. A solitary rat is an unhappy rat.

Posted on Mar 7, 2009 5:40:26 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 7, 2009 6:02:24 PM PST
C. Hall says:
I would first suggest that any potential pet owner get several books on pet care for the pet they are considering. I found through books that Guinea Pigs are really herd animals and will be much happier if you have minimum of two, but three would be even better. That means a larger cage and more hay and a place to store it. It would also be best to have a room that could be used as a playroom,with no wires,ect. for them to chew,because they will chew wires and other things if you are not constantly on guard and watching them,as will a rabbit and other critters.

My oldest daughter has had mice,gerbils,guinea pigs and a pet rat. She said female hamsters can have a very nasty temperment,and the males are sweeter,but they are very difficult to tell their sex when you buy a baby. Gerbils are fun to watch when you have more than one,but not really cuddly and they can make a fast get away. Mice were the smelliest,but she liked them ok. Her favorites were the guinea pig and her pet rat,which was a male and on maturity looked obscene,'if you get my drift',same with her favorite mice which were males! She said guinea pigs don't live long either( I believe 5-7 years is aged for them),and can catch cold easily,so one must be careful of drafts,but they are very laid back and cuddly. The rat was extremely intelligent,and you can teach them a lot,in fact they love to be challenged with mazes and such. She said he was also very affectionate,and loved attention.

But if I didn't live in apartment a couple of guinea pigs would be my choice to get my granddaughter.

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 5:28:31 PM PDT
I would not get a dwarf hamster...I had several...and they bred and started to eat eachother which was incredibly disgusting and I don't think that's good to subject your child to...

Posted on Apr 22, 2012 7:09:45 PM PDT
Our hamster pal of 4 years just died today and I am debating whether to get another hamster or get a guinea pig this time. She was a teddy bear hamster and very sweet. She did not bite and she was an affectionate pet. we were very gentle with her, played with her as often as we could, and gave her fresh fruits and veggies. My daughter is 8 now and she thinks she might want a guinea pig. I actually had pet guinea pigs a long time ago and they were not very friendly. I think we will go to the pet store and hold and pet some animals and see which ones are the sweetest. That's how I usually choose a pet. Good luck to you!
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Initial post:  Jul 25, 2008
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