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Hamsters and guinea pigs are very different creatures, and so which suits you as an owner requires some careful thought. Some of the most important things to consider are:

  • How much space do you have?
  • Can you commit to looking after a pet for more than five years?
  • How much do you want to spend on your pet?
  • Can you keep more than one animal?
  • Do you have any other pets?

  • There are some things you'll want to think about when choosing your pet

    Hamsters are little animals, who need a much smaller home than guinea pigs, and a lot less food. Hamsters are great pet, and will bond strongly with their owners. These little creatures will be your companions for two or three years. They need a nice, big enclosure, regular feeding and plenty of exercise. Since they need to be kept on their own, these pets need quite a lot of attention from their owners, and usually either in the early evening or at night, as they are nocturnal.

    Guinea pigs require a lot of daily care, but are also great pets. It’s generally advised that guinea pigs are better for adults and older children, generally people over the age of ten or eleven. If you do decide to keep a guinea pig, you’ll need to commit to taking care of this little animal for its whole life, which may be seven years or more. You will also need to provide a hutch and a run, keep these animals in pairs, and provide them with fresh vegetables on a daily basis.

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    You'll need to commit to a pet for its entire life - so have a good think beforehand!

    Neither a hamster nor a guinea pigs will enjoy living anywhere that has larger pets, such as cats and dogs. Even though cats and dogs may only want to play with your smaller pet, they can cause a lot of damage to them - a paw placed on a guinea pig or hamster to stop it moving could be incredibly painful for the smaller animal, and a large animal staring through the cage at your little pet will cause a lot of stress and fear. If you have larger pets, it’s best to either stick to the large pets, or be sure that the larger animals don’t have access to the outside of the smaller pets’ cage.

    If you want a pet for a child, then we advise looking at other options than hamsters and guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are very delicate creatures who will need lots of space, cleaning and feeding, whilst hamsters are nocturnal and don’t like being woken during daylight hours. Some pet owners recommended adopting mice as pets for kids, but we strongly advise that you prevent children of a very young age holding any pet, as they could hold the pet too tightly and bruise it, or drop it on the floor. If your child is very young, then a good idea might be to wait for a few years, then to choose pets that don’t need a lot of handling time, such as a pair of mice. Expert advice is that no child should be given the main responsibility for looking after a pet. Ownership is fun for the whole family, and most people recommend that looking after the pet is a family responsibility.

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