When it comes to small pets, both mice and hamsters make great choices. However, there are substantial differences between the two pets. Prospective pet owners should take these differences into account when deciding which pet to adopt.
Size and Cage Requirements
The most obvious difference between the two is size, hamsters are larger than mice. The largest domestic Hamster breed, Syrian hamsters, can grow up to seven inches long. Mice however generally don’t exceed three inches in length. This difference in size affects the enclosure needed for the pet. For example, Syrian hamsters need 8-inch wheels to run comfortably while a fancy mouse can comfortably run on a 6.5-inch wheel. A Hamster’s tail is also significantly shorter than a mouse’s. The average mouse tail is five to eight cm long.
Cage Requirements are also a big difference between the two animals. Hamsters are extremely territorial and need their own cage to prevent fighting. Contrary to their hamster cousins, Mice are quite social and will benefit from cage mates.
Another big difference between the two is their lifespan. Generally speaking, Hamsters will live longer than mice. The average hamster lifespan is about two to three years, while the average mouse lifespan is about one to two years. If you’re looking for a lesser commitment Mice may make the better pet.
Next up is personality. Both Hamsters and Mice have personalities, but Hamsters are more expressive. A Hamster is also more likely to be docile and handle easily. Comparatively speaking, you will have an easier time taming your hamster. However, Hamsters are nocturnal and therefore more active at night. Mice will be up during the day with you. Meaning if you are a light sleeper or not a night person, fancy mice might make the better pet.
In terms of diet, both small pets are omnivores. They will require a variety of seeds, fruits, vegetables, and grains. You can also supplement their diet with insects, hard boiled eggs, or small amounts of unseasoned meat. Hamsters require more protein than mice and will benefit more from this.
When it comes to cost, you can get a mouse or a hamster from a pet store for under twenty dollars. That being said, the cheapest part of bringing a small pet home is the small pet. Depending on what cage and equipment you decide to get for your small pet prices will vary. If you get a Syrian Hamster and spring for the larger cage and wheel you may find yourself spending a bit more.
Another Thing to Consider
When bringing a small pet home, it is important to consider who the pet is for. If you are a parent looking to get a pet for your child, you may want to opt towards a hamster. Their overall docile demeanor and ease of handling makes them suitable for children. Mice are both more fragile and more likely to bite.
Both hamsters and mice make great small pets. A hamster will be larger in size, lifespan, and personality. They also will likely be easier to handle. However, multiple Mice can be kept in the same cage, and unlike hamsters, your pet Mice will be active during the day. Regardless of which small pet you choose, both will make great additions to your home!