Difference Between Guinea Pig and Hamster

Guinea Pig vs Hamster

Both these animals are rodents in different families exhibiting varied characteristics. They both primarily possess their characteristic gnawing teeth, which are sharp and ever growing. However, the differences between guinea pig and hamster are important to know, as they both are reared as household pets. People often have the question that what animal would make the better pet over other out of guinea pig and hamster. Therefore, this article may be of good use for anyone who is interested in knowing the important information about these two animals, and how to differentiate one from the other.

Guinea Pig

Although the name would suggest it as a pig species, it is a rodent of the Family: Caviidae. Guinea pig, Caviaporcellus, is a domesticated species that has descended from the hybrids of related species. Therefore, guinea pig is not a natural and wild living animal, but their origin could be traced up to Andes. It has a large head with a stout neck, and the rump region is rounded. There is no tail in guinea pigs, and they can make some pig-like sounds. They could be about 700 – 1200 grams in weight, and the length of the body varies from 20 to 32 centimetres. Guinea pigs usually eat grass as their main food, and fresh grass and hay are particularly preferred. However, they like to eat their own faeces, especially the caecal pellets (caecotropes) that are needed to fulfil a complete digestion. Those caecotropes are softer than the usual faecal matter and can primarily recycle fibres, Vitamin B, and bacteria. Therefore, guinea pigs could be regarded ascoprophagous animals like rabbits. Usually, the pregnant ones do not eat caecal pellets. The average lifespan of a guinea pig is about four to five years, but some could go up to eight years. However, there was one individual guinea pig has set the record of almost 15 years of life.


Hamster is any of the 25 species of the Family:Cricetidae of Order: Rodentia. They are nocturnal and burrowing animals. During the day time, hamsters hide in their underground burrows, so that they can prevent from the predators. They are stout bodied animals, and the pouches on the either side of the head are used to store food to use later. Hamsters are solitary animals; they do not show much social behaviour, and prefer not to live in groups but solitarily. They have a short tail with short stocky legs and small furry ears. They have different colourations on their coat. Hamsters have a poor vision, and they are colour-blind animals. However, they have strong smelling and hearing senses. Hamsters are omnivorous in their food habits. They are not much active animals and can be easily bred in captivity. However, they are seasonal breeders in wild conditions. The lifespan of hamsters in wild could be about two years, and more in captivity.


What is the difference between Guinea Pig and Hamster?

• Guinea pig is a domesticated species, and there are no wild animals, whereas hamsters are both wild and domesticated.

• Guinea pig is only one species while there are 25 species of hamsters.

• The head and neck is larger than body in guinea pigs, whereas hamsters do not have such a large head and neck compared to the rest of the body.

• Tail is longer in hamsters than in guinea pig.

• Guinea pigs eat their own faeces but not the hamsters.

• Hamster offspring is blind and hairless while guinea pig young are completely developed.

• Hamsters show cannibalism sometimes, but guinea pigs never eat their own kind for any reason.