Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, and Gerbils, OH MY! The best rodent for your family.

December 22, 2022 in Hamsters, guinea pigs and gerbils

Small rodents are becoming increasingly popular pets for families and pet lovers due to their low maintenance and playful personalities. Here, we explore the three main types of small rodents - hamsters, guinea pigs, and gerbils - to help you determine which is best suited for your family.

The best rodent for your family


Hamsters are small, furry creatures that come in a variety of colors. So, young children can pick the one they like the appearance of. They are considered cute, even by those who are squeamish around other rodents, such as mice and rats.

Many hamsters have playful personalities, which can keep young children entertained. The other pros of owning a hamster include their low cost and ease of care. You can expect to spend a little over $300 in the first year on litter, bedding and food, a hutch, toys, and an enclosure if you have the outdoor space for them to play outside. Subsequent years will be even cheaper because items like the hutch should last a while.

The cons include their short lifespan, usually around 2-3 years, and some hamsters will bite if not properly handled. However, it's good for children to learn how to care for and handle animals properly. Hamsters can be the best small pet for kids still getting used to caring for animals.


Gerbils are small rodents with long tails and come in various colors. Their powerful hind legs mean they can move quickly when startled or excited, which can either be a pro or a con, depending on the situation. It can be fun to see them enjoying themselves and running around when in a hutch or a pen. However, it can be challenging to catch them if startled and not contained.

One pro of owning a gerbil is its long lifespan of up to 5 years and the low cost of its upkeep, similar to the cost involved in owning a hamster.

The cons include their need for larger cages, taking up more space than most other small rodents, and their higher energy levels which can be challenging for some owners.

However, gerbils are one of the most popular types of pet rodent due to their exceptionally playful personalities and low maintenance.

Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are larger than hamsters and gerbils but are still relatively small. They have short fur coats that come in several different colors and patterns.

Of the three main types of rodents kept as pets, Guinea pigs have the longest average lifespan of up to 8 years, which is a pro if you want a pet who will be with your family for several years. They also have a friendly nature.

The cons include their higher cost than other small rodents pets and their need for larger cages with more complex bedding setups. However, guinea pigs are one of the most popular types of pet rodents due to their playful personalities and ease of looking after them.

Other Rodents

Of course, there are also mice and rats if you want to consider the complete rodent pets list. However, because many people are more likely to be afraid of them, even as pets, it can be better to introduce your family to other breeds of rodents first before considering pet rats or mice as an option.

Hamsters, guinea pigs, and gerbils are popular small rodents that can make great pets for families looking for low-maintenance companion animals. When considering which type of rodent is best for your family, it's essential to look at cost, lifespan, size, energy levels, and how much time you're willing to dedicate to caring for your pet.

Remember that vets' fees can be much lower for rodents and other small animals than they will be for more common larger pets. You should factor this in when thinking about the cost.

If the worst does happen and you need to take your rodent to the vet or just want to ensure everything is okay, you can book an appointment with Forever Vets.