Hamster OR Gerbil*?

*by gerbil, I think I mean ‘guinea pig’. So now I’m really confused. Anyways…

Hubby and I are at a crossroads with our Christmas surprise gift for the kids. What we thought we were going to do for the kids has suddenly become not really what they’d want.It seems being foster parents to the bunnies Pepper and Lulu has given each of the kids a really deep desire for other kinds of furry pets.

I thought my compromise of letting the Naturalist get firebelly toads was going to cover the pet issue, but apparently after 2 years, their lack of meaningful interaction has worn thin. Like the grinch, my heart has grown three sizes in the last couple of days and their cries for soft cuddly animals to love has broken through my hard, I’m-taking-care-of-3-kids-already-and-I-don’t-want-to-take-care-of-a-pet-too outer shell.

But we don’t have much time to decide and hubby and I don’t have much knowlege of small rodents (or whatever they are). From what we gather, hamsters are small, mouselike, and like to play in those cute plastic mazes, but don’t necessarily like to interact with kids. (and what happens if they get loose? Will they run away?!)  Gerbils Guinea Pigs are larger and less happy to play in a maze, but happy to have playtime with the kids. Hubby checked them out at the pet store today and noticed that they “poop. A LOT. All over the place. It freaked me out.”  

That’s the extend of our knowlege. Please help fill us in! What’s a good, fun animal for kids…and what would you recommend. Hamster, or gerbil  Guinea Pig? We’re planning on going the day before Christmas to pick them up….so help!!! (Not to put a lot of pressure on you or anything!)


9 Responses

  1. Well, I never had a hamster so I can’t speak to them…but I did have a gerbil, for a short while, and the fact that they have long tails comes in really handy when they’re running around and you need to catch them.

    I do think hamsters are cuter though, FWIW. 😉

  2. Hmmm. I wish I could help you here but the furriest thing in our house is my husband. Just kidding! Well, sort of. We’re only dog people or else I’d offer an opinion.

    Hopefully you’ll get it figured out in time!


  3. Our son had a hamster a few…okay, a lot of years ago.

    It was actually quite a good pet and more social than you might think, as long as there weren’t too many hands at it at once.

    It did get out of its cage a few times and unfortunately the last time, one of our cats (I know what were we thinking, did I learn nothing from Sylvester and Tweety?) used it a chew toy.

    Not pretty…and thank God Hubby found the remains and not me or the kids.

    But if it’s not at risk of being eaten alive if it gets out, it makes for an interesting game of hide and seek.

    Hamsters are not very crafty so if it does get out of it’s cage, the cause is usually human error. As long as everyone is diligent about making sure the cage is closed properly, you shouldn’t have any problem.

    And they really are terribly cute.

  4. I know, this sounds weird: BUT rats are the BEST pet. They are friendly, clean, and smart. G.pigs do poop a lot and you have to keep them in a large open cage. Hamsters will poop all over the place, even when they escape. A rat (all they rats we’ve kept) will return to it’s cage corner to do its thing, so even when it escapes you can catch it easier. Also, rats will ride around on your shoulder, are less likely to bite, and you can train to do tricks.

    BUT- cats are way easier.

  5. I would totally go with a kitten instead. Of all of the pets we’ve had, cats are the least trouble, especially once you train the to go potty outside. But even with a litter box they are still way less stinky and nasty than hamster cages, plus kittens are MUCH more fun and affectionate, which equates to much more reward for the effort. Just throwing that out there.

  6. Kittens are the #1 choice for everyone else but me. I’m horribly allergic to the point of not being able to breathe and having my eyeballs swell up. It’s tragic, because hubby is a cat person.

  7. Oh. Well then…I’d go with the hamster. If you get them young enough they can be fairly friendly. And they are small. Guinea pigs are pretty big and require lots of space,( which is at a premium in our house).

  8. Hey, this may be too late BUT there are cats that even alleric people are not allergic too: Siamese is one. Just a thought!

  9. Also, you may actually be allergic to flea powder of just homes with cats that don’t clean very well. That was me. I didn’t know that until I was 30. LOL Now I am the happy owner of a cat! Ours is a short-hair farm cat (as in the barn cats just bred) and I’ve had no trouble at all.

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