Which Pet Is Best for You: A Chinchilla or a Hamster? - Pet Breeezy (2023)

Which Pet Is Best for You: A Chinchilla or a Hamster? - Pet Breeezy (1)

Chinchillas are part of the rodent family, and they look very similar. You may not be able to tell the difference between these animals based on their behavior. But a closer inspection will reveal important differences.

They are different in size, color, and temperament. This article will help you decide which pet is best for you. We will tell you everything you need to know about these two adorable critters so you can make an educated decision.

Visual Differences

Which Pet Is Best for You: A Chinchilla or a Hamster? - Pet Breeezy (2)

A Glance


  • Adult average height: 12 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 1-3.1 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 10-15 years
  • Exercise for 2 hours per day
  • Moderate grooming requirements
  • Family-friendly
  • Other pets-friendly options
  • Ability to Train: This is a very intelligent skill that requires patience.


  • Adult height is 2-7 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 0.8-3 pounds
  • Lifespan 1.5-2 Years
  • Exercise for 2 hours per day
  • Grooming: Moderate
  • Family-friendly
  • Other pets-friendly options
  • Trainability: It takes intelligence and patience to train.

Chinchilla Overview

Which Pet Is Best for You: A Chinchilla or a Hamster? - Pet Breeezy (3)

Chinchillas are rodent-like companions. Their thick, soft fur is a popular feature. It can be up to 30 times as soft as human hair. They are most commonly found in black, gray, violet, and beige colors.

These rodents can reach 12 inches in length and can weigh as much as 1-2 pounds. They can even live up to 20 years.

Chinchillas were hunted for their fur and nearly went extinct. It is now illegal to hunt them. It is your responsibility to take care of them and protect them against predators if you adopt them.


Chinchillas are active at night because they are more active during the night. They are social and alert. To get them to trust you, you’ll need to be gentle and consistent.

Because the little guys need a lot of space, you should get a big and spacious cage.

They are more comfortable with a regular routine than being disturbed by changes. To avoid stressing them, you should adjust their routine slowly. They aren’t affected by extreme temperatures due to their thick fur. However, they don’t mind low temperatures. You should try to avoid temperatures above 77 degrees.

Chinchillas, especially young ones, don’t like being held or cuddled. They prefer to run and climb on you than be held or controlled. They will appreciate cuddle time if you teach them early and are calm and patient.

Training and exercise

Chinchillas can be very intelligent and easy to train. You can reward them with treats and reinforce their habits. You can teach them simple audio and visual commands, such as coming to you, going back to their cage, or getting in their carrier.

Chinchillas love to run around. Their cage should be large enough to allow them to run around. However, you should not keep your rodent friend in a cage all day. Chinchillas require plenty of exercise outside their cages, contrary to popular belief. You must ensure that the area is safe for chinchillas and free of electrical wires, liquids or water, aggressive pets, and unapproved foods.

Which Pet Is Best for You: A Chinchilla or a Hamster? - Pet Breeezy (4)

Health & Care

Chinchillas can experience health problems just like other pets. The most common diseases are


  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Tooth elongation and tooth loss are also known as tooth spurs.
  • Malocclusion
  • Ringworms and mites
  • Heart attack
  • Fatal liver disease
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Cracked paws

Chinchillas can also be injured. Also, be aware of sprains and fractures. Healthy chinchillas should be social, active, and alert. Healthy fur is essential, as well as clear eyes, nose, and ears. They should also not change their eating habits and should be able to breathe normally.

Diet and nutrition

To stay healthy, your chinchilla requires a nutritious diet. Fiber is good for their digestive system. A fatty diet can cause digestive problems. Consider giving them pelleted food and adding fresh grass hay to it. Because they can’t pick and choose what they eat, a pelleted diet is better.


Most chinchillas can groom themselves. You just need to give them chinchilla powder that they can play in. The dust penetrates fur to remove excess oils and sweat, just like dirt in the wild.

A proper bath takes twenty minutes. Make sure to clean the fur at least once per week. A soft-bristled brush will remove any dead fur. If the cage has wooden flooring, you don’t need to trim the nails as they will eventually wear down.

Which Pet Is Best for You: A Chinchilla or a Hamster? - Pet Breeezy (5)


You can keep multiple of these guys in small groups. To avoid fighting, you need to group them. You should neuter them if you are unable to do this.

To encourage compatibility and avoid fighting, it is a good idea to introduce the male and female couples to each other before they are ready to mate. Some females may be aggressive if approached previously. Keep the males away from other females. They might become discouraged from seeking out potential mates.

When they are close to giving birth, female chinchillas can be aggressive and even hostile toward pets. They are also less active and have a decreased appetite. An average litter of two offspring per litter will be born to a chinchilla three times per year. At 6-8 weeks old, the young ones should be weaned.


Chinchillas work best for those with large spaces, singles, and families.

Hamster Overview

Which Pet Is Best for You: A Chinchilla or a Hamster? - Pet Breeezy (6)

Five popular species of hamsters are the Syrian hamster and Dwarf Campbells Russian Hamster, the Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster, Roborovski Hammer, and the Chinese hamster. There are many species to choose from, each with its own unique traits.

It is generally not recommended to keep members from different species together. Keep the males and women separate unless you are looking for hamster babies.

Hamsters, like the Chinchilla, are nocturnal. They prefer to be awake at night. Hamsters are active, so they need plenty of toys, space, playtime, and regular playtime. While some species live longer than others the average lifespan for all is two years.


Hamsters will not attack if they aren’t scared or startled. Hamsters can be startled and will bite to defend themselves. You won’t need to worry about them biting if you don’t wake them suddenly or scare them. You can also entice them with treats, which will gradually build their trust.

Because babies are still developing their characters, it can be difficult to read them. There are a few things to be aware of when shopping for babies. Are they angry or snappy when you approach them? Are they running away from you every time they see you? Do they want to attack you? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, it’s best to avoid them. Instead, look for calm and curious people.

Training and exercise

Regular exercise is important for hamsters to keep their health in good shape. Hamsters need to be able to roam and indulge their curiosity. They can become overweight and have trouble moving. Your hamster can become bored easily and will be irritable and destructive if they are not getting enough exercise. Their natural desire to play is the best thing about these pets. They will exercise as long as there are enough toys and space. Tubes, hamster balls, wheels, and tubes are some of their favorite toys. You can give them something to chew on because they love to chew.

(Video) 5 reasons why chinchillas make good pets

You don’t have to teach your hamster the same things you teach dogs. It is a chance to build trust with your pet. It will make it easier for you to take care of them, such as cleaning their cages or taking them to the vet.

Treats are the best way to teach them. You can try holding some treats in your hands and bringing them close to the cage. They will eventually approach you to inspect the treats and maybe take a bite. They will soon feel comfortable enough to climb on you if you do this frequently.

Which Pet Is Best for You: A Chinchilla or a Hamster? - Pet Breeezy (7)

Health & Care

Although hamsters are generally healthy, any illness can be serious. To prevent any serious illness or injury, it is important to check your pet frequently. Signs of illness include weight loss, difficulty breathing, energy loss, poor posture, difficulty swallowing, and hunched posture. Rapid behavior changes could also indicate illness. Common health issues include:

  • Abscesses
  • Respiratory infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin infections
  • Wet tail

Nutrition and diet

To be healthy, hamsters require a high-protein diet that includes fruits and vegetables. They will eat only what they want, and they won’t eat any other food if you give them mixed foods. A pelleted diet will provide everything your hamster needs, provided you add other safe foods to it. You could also try collard greens and shredded carrots. You should not overfeed them. Make sure to give them enough water to stay hydrated.


Professionals are best suited to breed hamsters. Because females can be very aggressive when mating. It is also important to understand the genetic heritage of your hamster as there are genetic defects that can be associated with certain breeds.

You can expect 6-8 pups per litter. The gestation time is between 16-22 days. When the delivery date approaches, the female can become more active and restless. They will feel more secure if they have nest material to help them. This will decrease the likelihood of them abandoning their offspring or eating them.

Which Pet Is Best for You: A Chinchilla or a Hamster? - Pet Breeezy (8)


Hamsters are able to take care of themselves in their own environment and won’t require your assistance. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take responsibility. Cleaning the cage is your first responsibility. The hamsters will be happy if the cage is kept clean.

Because hamsters’ teeth grow continuously, it is important to ensure that they have something to chew on in order to maintain their proper length. If their nails grow too long, make sure you have the right tool to trim them.

You can brush your pet’s long hair with a soft-bristled toothbrush if they are. While some pets may be annoyed by the process, most pets will love it and sit still while you brush their fur. You can make your hamster’s fur clean by adding a sand bath to their bathroom.


Nearly every type of hamster is a good match for active families and singles.

Which breed is right for you?

Both can make great companions, and they are similar in many ways. They also have some differences. Although they are both social and active, hamsters can be easily scared, especially if you wake them abruptly. They can also bite if they are scared or startled.

A chinchilla can live many more years than a hamster. Chinchillas can live as long as 20 years while hamsters only live for about 2 years. They also have different diets. Hamsters require a high-protein diet that includes fruits and vegetables. A chinchilla needs a high-quality diet, with plenty of roughage. However, you can give them some fruits and vegetables.

You should assess whether either breed is compatible with your life before you decide to buy them. Are you able to give your pet regular exercise? Hamsters are smaller, lighter, and eat less. They are great pets for children as they live a short life span. Chinchillas have longer lives and softer fur. This makes them excellent pets for cuddling and a great companion over the long term.

Chinchillas are they friendly?

Temperament. Most chinchillas will become quite tame and bond closely with their owners if handled gently from a young age, though they do not always like to be held or cuddled. They are extremely active and amusing.

Do chinchillas enjoy being hugged?

While chinchillas do not like to cuddle, they are very affectionate with their owners. They are naturally inquisitive and prefer to be outside of their chinchilla cages whenever possible—under the supervision of their pet parent, of course!

What is the average lifespan of a chinchilla?

10-20 years They have a lifespan of 10-20 years and are bred and farmed for their soft, dense fur. They are very shy and are best suited as pets for adults and older children.

What is the most obliging small pet?

9 Small Pets That Are Soft, Adorable, and Ideal for Hamster Cuddling. Hamsters are naturally playful, but they are also very affectionate and enjoy receiving attention. Ferrets, Guinea Pigs, Lovebirds, Hedgehogs, Sugar Gliders, Chinchillas, and Rabbits are just a few examples.

How can you tell if a chinchilla is content?

(Video) The Best Pets For Kids

A chilled chinchilla that has bonded with you will prefer that you sit on the floor and let them hop all over you while making little chattering sounds and excited tiny squeaks. Some people may even enjoy a little cuddling. A giddy chinchilla will eat popcorn and bounce around all over the place.

Why are you unable to hold a chinchilla?

Chinchillas love to explore and would rather snuffle around on their own time than be held and stroked. Chinchillas are also delicate pets that can be easily injured if not handled correctly.

Why can’t chinchillas take a shower?

To avoid fungal infections and other health problems, Chinchillas should not be bathed in water. Fortunately, they are generally self-cleaning machines and do not require much assistance to remain fresh and soft. Simply place the dust in a safe bath hut for about 10 minutes a few times a week.

Do chinchillas urinate on you?

Pet chinchillas’ unwelcome behavior is to spray urine on perceived threats — their not-so-subtle way of saying, “Back off!” So be prepared to be sprayed when approaching your chin’s cage or attempting to scoop him up in your arms, especially if your chin is unfamiliar to you.

Can a chinchilla be content on its own?

Chinchillas are naturally sociable animals that live in groups. That is why, unless advised otherwise by a veterinarian or clinical animal behaviorist, you should keep your pet chinchilla with at least one other friendly chinchilla.

(Video) Top 10 Pick a Perfect Pocket Pet


Which is a better pet hamster or chinchilla? ›

Hamsters are smaller and lighter and will eat less. Since they have a short lifespan, they can be the perfect pets for your child. Chinchillas live longer and have softer fur. That makes them a better long-term companion and the best pet for cuddling.

What pet is better than a hamster? ›

Hamsters Vs Rats: The Conclusion

Some would argue that rats are much better pets, as they're intelligent, clean and love to interact with their owner. They're also much less likely to bite than hamsters. Hamster-lovers would remind you that hamsters are kept alone in much smaller cages, so are cheaper to look after.

Why are hamsters the best pet? ›

Hamsters, for many people, make excellent pets. They don't require a lot of attention, get enough exercise running on their wheel, and are cute, cuddly, and pleasant to hold. They can make an excellent starter pet for some children.

Are hamsters low maintenance pets? ›

Hamsters Don't Require Constant Attention

Time for training, daily walks, and long grooming sessions aren't needed to care for a happy hamster. They don't need the kind of attention and human interaction that dogs and cats do.

Are chinchillas cuddle pets? ›

While chinchillas prefer not to cuddle, they are still very affectionate with their pet parents. They are naturally curious and enjoy being out of their chinchilla cages whenever possible—supervised by their pet parent, of course!

Do chinchillas enjoy being pet? ›

Not to be handled too much - chinchillas can learn to enjoy being with familiar people and being petted, but tend not to enjoy being handled and often struggle when picked up. They're curious creatures, using their mouths to explore and chew items around them.

Do hamster bites hurt? ›

It's rare for a hamster to actually be aggressive, though, and they typically only bite when they get scared. Those tiny teeth may not do as much damage as those of other animals, but a bite will hurt and should be discouraged. Fortunately, you can gradually train your hamster to accept being handled and stop biting.

Are hamsters easily hurt? ›

Hamsters are easily injured. They are frequently dropped while being handled (especially by children), or after they bite. Pet hamsters allowed “freedom of the house” (even for very short periods) are often stepped on or kicked and seriously injured or killed.

Is a hamster a good first pet? ›

Hamsters are fun animals and can make good first pets for children, provided you understand what they need to be healthy and happy.

What is the best pet to have if you work all day? ›

So, if you have a 9-5 job, it's best to go for independent dogs. Low energy dogs don't require much playtime or exercise to expend their energy. According to Bustle, some low maintenance breeds include Greyhound, Chihuahua, Basset Hound and Dachshund.

What is a good first pet? ›

Lianne McLeod, the veterinary guide for exotic pets at about.com, top seven are: guinea pigs, rats, hamsters, gerbils, mice, lepard geckos, and Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. Other animal-care professionals promote birds or fish as ideal first pets for children.

Are chinchillas smelly? ›

In Conclusion. Chinchillas don't typically smell strongly themselves, but their cage needs to be tended to often to make sure they stay clean. Even though you can't use traditional cleaners and fresheners, there are many ways to keep your chinchilla's home clean and smelling fresh at all times.

Is it OK to touch chinchillas? ›

Every chinchilla is an individual but generally speaking chinchillas will do just fine without handling and many prefer it. Most chinchillas will want to seek interaction with you after a time, but it is a rare individual that remains calm while being held and carried around.

Do chinchillas like to play with you? ›

Chinchillas are creatures of habit. They are most willing to play if you approach them at the same time every evening. As with most small animals, the more a young chinchilla is handled and played with, the more social a pet he will be at maturity.

Do hamsters like to be held? ›

They do not like to be held. They are more prone to bite if they are startled or woken from a deep sleep, or if your hands smell like another animal or food. Handle your hamster gently.

Can chinchillas be happy alone? ›

Chinchillas are naturally sociable animals and live in groups in the wild. That's why you'll need to keep your pet chinchilla with at least one other friendly chinchilla unless advised otherwise by a vet or clinical animal behaviourist.

Can chinchillas bite you? ›

With no escape route available, the chinchilla may bite the threat (often the owner's fingers). This type of biting is most common if the pet owner tries to reach in suddenly to grab the chinchilla. Chinchillas have long and extremely sharp front teeth. A bite can be severe, deep and painful.

What are the smartest rodents? ›

Perhaps the smartest rodents, rats can learn tricks, love to hang out with their owners, and are extremely affectionate. They actually respond to their owners when their name is called.

What is the number 1 pet? ›

Dogs. Dogs come in at number one, with48.3 million households owning dogs in the United States, making these four-legged friends one of the most popular pets around.

Are chinchillas smelly pets? ›

In Conclusion. Chinchillas don't typically smell strongly themselves, but their cage needs to be tended to often to make sure they stay clean. Even though you can't use traditional cleaners and fresheners, there are many ways to keep your chinchilla's home clean and smelling fresh at all times.

What is the #2 smartest animal? ›

Dolphins are often cited as the second smartest animals on Earth due to their relatively high brain-to-body size ratio, the capacity to show emotion, and impressive mimicry of the dumb apes who research them.

What are the 3 smartest animals? ›

#3: Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees are very smart animals and are able to solve many different problems posed to them by human trainers and experimenters. Our closest genetic relative comes in third place on this list of the most intelligent animals.

What is the 9th smartest animal? ›

9: Octopus

No. 9 in our list is the octopus, one of the smartest creatures in the sea. This animal is still poorly understood, but scientists are constantly discovering new and impressive abilities. Octopuses play, solve problems, navigate through mazes and have respectable short-term memories.


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