These cuddly rodents are highly popular as first pets for children. Hamsters are considered to be omnivores with a diet that includes seeds, fruit, and crickets. They enjoy digging, burrowing, and exercise. Some of these traits and characteristics mentioned are shared by other animals. In this article we’re going to look at 10 different animals like hamsters in one way or another.
10 Animals Like Hamsters
Below are 10 animals that have things in common with hamsters. Enjoy the facts and photos!
1. Guinea Pig
- Scientific name: Cavia porcellus
- Why Guinea pigs are like hamsters: Both belong to the order Rodentia, have fur, and strong, elodont teeth.
Unlike hamsters, Guinea pigs are herbivores, feeding on grass, fruit, and hay. An adult Guinea pig will be a little less than a foot long and weigh between 1.5 to 2.6 pounds. Their colors vary from brown, tan, to reddish orange and white.
Docile and friendly, these social creatures were first introduced to North America by European traders in the 16th century. Hamsters make good pets but are prone to respiratory disease, diarrhea, and infections from mites, lice, and fungus.
- Scientific name: Meriones unguiculates
- Why gerbils are like hamsters: Both are in the Rodentia order, have elodont teeth, are omnivores, and burrow.
Gerbils are social animals that will rub noses to greet each other. Adults are about 4 inches long and weigh about 3 to 5 ounces. Characterized by their narrow faces and long tails, they are usually grayish brown.
You will often see the super clean gerbil self-grooming, grooming other gerbils, and even grooming their owners while being held. Gerbils are omnivores that eat a variety of seeds, fruit, and grass, as well as crickets and mealworms.
- Scientific name: Chinchilla lanigera
- Why chinchillas are like hamsters: Both are classified as rodents, have fur, elodont teeth, and are omnivores.
Chinchillas have the densest fur of any land animal and their fur is often used to make commercial products. Native to Chile and Peru, they are characterized by long tails and ears.
The chinchilla is nocturnal and will gather leaves, seeds, fruit, and small insects to eat at night. Predators of the chinchilla are skunks, snakes, and birds. As a defense, chinchillas will spray urine. Chinchillas live between 8 and 10 years.
- Scientific name: Rattus rattus
- Why rats are like hamsters: Rats and hamsters are both rodents, omnivores, nocturnal, and burrow.
Rats have such a great sense of smell that they are used in some countries to detect land mines. Characterized by its long tail, small eyes, and long snout. An adult rat will be 6 to 8 inches long and weigh about 11 ounces.
They are usually gray or brown, but could also be black or white. Rats enjoy munching on small invertebrates, fruit, seeds, insects, and eggs.
- Scientific name: Tamias
- Why chipmunks are like hamsters: Both are classified as rodents and both are burrowing mammals that are omnivores who hoard food.
Native to North America, the chipmunk lives in wooded areas among rocks, brush, logs, and shrubs. An adult can be up to 12 inches, including the tail, and weigh 2 to 5 ounces.
Reddish brown in color, chipmunks have distinctive dark stripes down their backs. Cheek pouches allow them to pack a lot of food to take back to their burrows. A chipmunk’s diet consists of seeds, fruit, flower bulbs, insects, and grass. These critters sleep about 15 hours a day.
- Scientific name: Sciurus
- Why squirrels are like hamsters: Both animals are rodents, hoard food, and have elodont teeth.
Squirrels can live in almost any habitat from rainforests to deserts. Adult squirrels are between 12 to18 inches long and weigh about 1 pound. Their bushy tails are used as parachutes when jumping, as well as to keep rain off of them.
Staples of the squirrel’s diet are nuts, tree buds, fruit, and fungi. Considered scatter hoarders, they will bury large quantities of nuts and use their keen sense of smell to retrieve them. Common squirrel predators include hawks, coyotes, and foxes.
- Scientific name: Octodontitae degus
- Why the Degu is like the hamster: Both are furry mammalian rodents that burrow and are very prone to diabetes.
Native to Chile, the degu grows to be 9 to 12 inches long and 6 to 14 ounces in weight. Their fur is yellow-brown and their tails are long and tufted. Very social animals, degus live together and even nurse each others young.
Leaves, grass, and shrubs make up the degust diet. Highly intolerant to sugar, they are at high risk for diabetes. The degu bonds closely with humans and lives between 6 to 8 years.
- Scientific name: Microtus
- Why voles are like hamsters: The vole and the hamster are both rodents, omnivores, burrowers, and have elodont teeth.
Voles are grayish brown and are 3 to 9 inches in length. Habits include mountains, grassy fields, meadows, and woodlands. Their diet includes fruits, nuts, mice, and rats. Owls, hawks, coyotes, and foxes all prey upon voles.
Voles are skilled swimmers but they prefer to dig burrows. Often, they dig around trees and can damage the roots. Voles are not aggressive but they can carry the same diseases that other rodents do.
- Scientific name: Castor
- Why beavers are like hamsters: Both animals are classified as rodents, have elodont teeth, and burrow.
Beavers are semi-aquatic animals that are native to North America. Beaver habitats include rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. The beaver will build dams and lodges in the water for shelter.
Their stout bodies are covered with gray or brown fur. Webbed back feet and a flat scaly tail allow them to be excellent swimmers. Beavers are herbivores that eat tree bark, aquatic plants, and grasses.
Able to hold their breath for 15 minutes, a beaver’s nostrils and ears close when in the water. Beaver teeth are incredibly strong due to high iron levels which is why they’re orange.
- Scientific name: Muridae
- Why mice are like hamsters: Both are in the rodent family, nocturnal, and burrow.
Mice are small gray animals with long tails that are considered vermin. They can be very destructive to crops and carry diseases like hantavirus in their feces.
Mostly herbivores, they usually eat fruits and grains. However, when in urban areas, they will eat whatever is available.