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I am 12 years old. My mom said I could either get a hampster or a gerbil. Which is better?????

I really need info about them. Like what is their fav food? What kind of bedding is best??? How long do they live?? PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!

20 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Only you can decide which one is right for you. Here is some info on both and a site if you need to do more research.

    Gerbils are superb pets, which give their owners a great deal of love and amusement. The flip side is that they need to be in top shape to be active and funny.

    Gerbils are fairly easy to keep healthy and are not prone to disease. If an animal becomes quiet and listless, despite excellent care, rush him straight to the vet. Small animals with fast metabolisms tend to die quickly from infection or disease.


    The first step in good care is a good diet. Like us, gerbils need a balanced diet of cereals, greens, protein, certain fats and vitamins.

    Start off by purchasing a good hamster or dwarf-rabbit food that contains grains, dried vegetables, grasses, carob, and pellets. A tablespoon a day per gerbil is sufficient. Also feed them fresh fruit, vegetables, cottage cheese and meal worms.

    Gerbils need about 5 gallons of space each at the very minimum. This allows them enough space to wrestle, get out of each other's hair or to gambol and clown about.

    Exercise is also important to any pet's health. Luckily gerbils are naturally active, you just need to provide them the space and plenty of nooks and crannies, in which they can have hours of activity.

    Gerbils enjoy keeping themselves mentally occupied with tasks such as digging tunnels or making a nest. They'll spend hours systematically shredding cardboard, straw and tearing up tissue to make a comfy bed.

    Emotionally, gerbils need special consideration. In the wild they live in groups, so keep at least two.

    Lastly, it's important to tame your animal so that he's manageable enough to stand up to daily inspection. When you play with him, check that his eyes are bright and free of mucus, that his nose isn't bloody, that he has no bites from other gerbils, that his breathing isn't raspy and that his teeth aren't overgrown or broken.


    Gerbils will pick out only the tastiest morsels from their food bowl, ignoring the rest; this means they won't get a balanced diet. Only refill their bowl once everything is eaten.

    There is nothing wrong with giving them their favourite treats occasionally (no chocolate, it is just as toxic to a gerbil as it is to a dog or any other small animal). Use treats to get them used to interact with you.

    The more space gerbils have in their enclosures, the less they'll be bent on escape.

    As your gerbils grow up and are showing no signs of fighting over territory, buy more cages and link them by the tunnel systems available at pet shops.

    Keep your gerbils teeth healthy by ensuring they have enough hard wood to gnaw on daily.

    Line their cage with fine cat-litter. The natural type without chemicals is safe for them. This needs to be changed once every two weeks.


    Too much fresh fruit and vegetables may give them runny tummies. Avoid greens and fruit with high water content such as lettuce or watermelon.

    Don't give in to your gerbil's piggish indulgences; they love peanuts, sunflower seeds. A diet high in fat and sugar can drastically shorten their lifespan.

    Avoid hamster wheels, your gerbil will have his trademark tail chopped off by the cross bar.

    Also avoid exercise balls; being trapped in such a small space, repeating a boring action is cruel to any intelligent animal.

    Your gerbil will need to go to the vet immediately if he looks tatty (it means he is too ill to groom himself), if he's not eating, (it means his teeth are too long or broken), if he's not playing with the other gerbils or if he has very bad diarrhoea.

    Gerbils box and wrestle for fun, but sometimes fights turn nasty. If blood is drawn, you'll need to separate them immediately. Indeed it will become a fight to the death.

    Don't scruff your gerbil (pick him up by the skin). They have very little loose skin and this will injure him.

    Gerbils don't need to be bathed. They clean themselves very efficiently and never smell.

    Keep your gerbil at a temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C. At high temperatures they dehydrate very quickly.

    Don't use cedar or pine shavings for bedding, they cause respiratory problems.

    Don't use the 'fluff' nesting materials from pet stores. Gerbils' feet can get entangled in it and they cannot digest it if they swallow it.

    As with any pet, keeping a hamster requires a commitment to care for it during its life which could be 2-3 years or longer. The commitment required includes not only routine feeding, care and time spent with the hamster but also the provision of veterinary treatment if the hamster becomes ill which can be costly. Although proper care will go a long way to ensuring that any hamster remains happy and healthy there may still be times when prompt veterinary treatment is needed and once a hamster is ill it can deteriorate quickly. However, some insurance companies do offer veterinary insurance cover for hamsters.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I would get a gerbil, only because I had a friend who had a hamster when we were 10 and her hamsters always died within a year... She could have had bad luck I suppose... but I know a few other people who have had similar problems with their hamsters dying. Then again, if you're planning on leaving home when you're 17 or 18, you might want to get a hamster since the shorter life span would allow for more freedom (that's harsh I know, but something to keep in mind). Have fun whichever you choose!!!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Gerbils are better! Gerbils are cleaner then hamsters. If you get a hamster expect to clean the cage every few days. Gerbils do not produce as much waste as hamsters and only require monthly cage cleaning. Both need to chew, cardbord boxes, branches(not pine, ceder or spruce), tp rolls ect. Also they need fresh food as well as store brought food. They love dandilions(both flowers and leaves), carrots(tops too), apples, lettuce(not iceburg), celery leaves and hay! I also find that Gerbils are friendlyer then hamsters. I have never been bitten by a gerbil, but have been by hamsters! Hamsters are also easier to stress out and can die from being scared!

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  • 1 decade ago

    I would choose a gerbil. A gerbil can live up to 8 years, while a hamster usually lives to about 2 or 3. Bedding is usually found at any store (walmart,pet stores...etc.) It is labeled simply "small rodent bedding". Food is also found at the same stores and is labeled gerbil or hamster food.

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  • 1 decade ago

    same here but i already got a couple and they had 9 babies... well anyways... hamster actually bite more than gerbils so gerbils are nicer but hamster are cuter.. they live 1-3 years and are very active at night so they make lots of noise.. DO NOT use cedar or pine bedding they are bad! a recommended aspen ior care fresh.. clean them once a week and change their food and water daily.. do some research to find out more .. k k

    Source(s): owner
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well hamsters are more nocturnal than gerbils.But they both live about 3 years.And with gerbils you'll probably have to get another gerbil because gerbils are social animals.And gerbils don't pee or poop nearly as much as hamsters do.So that means less cage changes.

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  • 1 decade ago

    get either a chinese dwarf hamster or a gerbil. regular hamsters are evil (not all i know, but most) i would personally go with the chinese dwarf but they are kinda hard to find, for bedding use aspen NOT pine or ceadar, both of thoes hoave aromatic oils that can cause liver desease and respatory infctions. regular hamster food is fine for them. clean their cage once a week, and for treets use fresh fruits and vegetables (not all the processed stuff) just no iceburg lettuce, onions, or avacadoes, romaine lettuce is fine though. good luck

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  • 1 decade ago


    They look a lot less like mice. And just seem to be cuter and more personable. Bedding, lots of wood has them.

    Good Luck!


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  • 1 decade ago

    hamsters are more tame. They will tolerate more handling than a gerbil. Gerbils are faster and can get away quicker not to mention they are more apt to bite.

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  • 1 decade ago

    hey, i choose hamster. they r so cute and you can play with them easy. even though they poo alot its worth it. they can live in cages and up to 5 years. there are loads of breeds to choose from, which r not important, just choose your fav colour. i think cut carrots and cabbage are their fav food, or just normal seeds. they can live outdoors or indoors. if indoors make sure to get a large cage and take the pet out sometimes. if outdoors make a barrier coz these animals like to escape if not cared for.

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  • 1 decade ago

    A gerbil, because there is no such thing as a hampster.

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