Hamster or Gerbil – Pros and Cons of Each
By Genie Fletcher
Having a hamster or gerbil as a pet can be a fun experience but, before you make a decision, you should learn more about the pros and cons of owning each animal.
Are These Animals Friendly?
Even though gerbils and hamsters are popular pet choices, the latter is not too fond of captivity. However, gerbils will make great pets as long as you buy more than one. Of course you have the option to purchase a single gerbil but since they are social animals you should purchase two so they can bond with each other.
If you do choose to purchase multiple hamsters and gerbils, it is a good idea to purchase two males. Female gerbils and female hamsters are aggressive with each other, but gerbil and hamster males get along well with one another. If you choose to buy a male and female gerbil or hamster, they should not be housed together, especially at a young age. You may also be interested to know that hamsters breed quickly.
Gerbils are ideal pets for children who have little or no experience caring for a small animal. This is due to the fact that gerbils are active throughout the day and rarely bite. Hamsters, however, do not like to be petted or held. Hamsters will bite when they are held or if they become irritated. And, although hamster bites do not cause serious danger, the bites are often painful. If you have young children, a hamster may not be the right pet choice for your family.
It is not expensive to purchase a hamster or gerbil, nor do you need a large budget to maintain them as pets. Most hamster cages come assembled, as well as any cage accessories you might want to purchase for your pet. Keeping a gerbil or hamster cage clean is also simple to do and it does not cost a lot of money. When purchasing a gerbil or hamster cage, you can spend as little as $50. Likewise, you may spend $50 a year on gerbil or hamster food, depending on the brand you purchase. When it pertains to these pets, their litter and bedding materials are the most expensive part of owning either of the two.
You should know the sleeping patterns of any pet before making a purchase. If you want to sleep well during the night, a hamster is not the right choice for you. Since hamsters are nocturnal, they will spend most of the day sleeping, and their nights will be spent playing with hamster toys or running on the hamster wheel inside their cage. Hamsters do not like to be woken up for any reason, even to play.
Gerbils are diurnal; therefore, they will not interrupt your sleep by digging or moving around in their cage. Gerbils like to play during the day, which can be fun for you and your children.
Escaping the Cage
Sometimes, regardless of how attentive you are, gerbils and hamsters escape their cages. When a hamster escapes his cage, he will be difficult to find and capture. You should know that hamsters enjoy chewing on furniture and wiring. So, if your pet hamster escapes his cage and he chews on the wires in your home, it could cause a house fire. Gerbils are also hard to find once they escape, which is why you must purchase an escape-proof cage for either of these little critters.
Remember that owning a gerbil or hamster will require some of your time, money, and patience. Overall, gerbils and hamsters can make great pets. But they are not the right choice for every pet owner which is why you should weigh the pros and cons before choosing one… or two in the case of gerbils… to bring home to meet the family!
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