Mice and hamsters are both small rodents, and both make great pets. But there are some differences in character, habits, and requirements, so careful consideration is needed before deciding which one to buy as a pet.
- Mice are party animals, and love being in groups – unlike solitary hamsters. Mice should never be kept on their own in a cage. Groups of mice are sometimes referred to as ‘mischiefs’, and these should consist of two or more animals.
- Mice are hyperactive in comparison to hamsters, and need more space to roam around in. This is a major consideration when considering how much rodent-cage space you can set aside in your house or apartment.
Hamsters usually need to be kept alone, but mice need to live in groups or “mischiefs”!
- Another difference between mice and hamster is odor. Mouse cages get smelly very quickly if not cleaned out very frequently. This is because mice scent-mark their enclosures to communicate with each other, and this smell is quite pungent. Hamsters are certainly not odor-free, with the dwarf species soon becoming very smelly if not cleaned out regularly.
- When making a decision about any pet, you need to think carefully about what you want, in terms of interaction, hands on/hands off, friendliness, intelligence, etc. Equally important, can you provide everything the pet needs in order for it be healthy, and happy, including space, food and healthcare? The answers to these questions should give you a good indication which pet is best for you.