Hamster vs Rat: How to Tell the Differences

What is the difference between hamster and rat?

Hamsters and rats are different in both characteristics and behavior. Rats are growing popular being kept as pets. However, it is quite difficult to make a choice on the best pet to be kept at home.

The main difference between hamsters and rats is that hamsters are small, have stout bodies, are short, have stocky legs and wide feet while a rat is a medium-sized to large rodent, pointed muzzle, long and slender hairless tail, and dexterous forepaws.

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Hamster vs Rat

Comparison Table (Hamster vs Rat)

Characteristics Hamster Rat
Appearance They are small, have stout bodies, are short, have stocky legs, and wide feet. They are medium-sized, pointed muzzles, long and slender hairless tail,s and dexterous forepaws.
Size They are small in body size. They are comparatively large in body size.
Length of tail They can measure up to 6cm. They measure between 15 to 20 cm.
Weight They weigh up to 300 grams. They weigh up to 500 grams.
Color The color depends on the species. White, gray, brown, or black in color.
Muzzle They have small pointed snouts. They have large pointed muzzles.
Ears They have small furry ears. The ears are small relative to the head.
Tail The tail is shorter than the body length and has fur. Long-tail without hair.
Eyes They have small eyes. They have small eyes.
Sense of smell They have a sharp sense of smell. They have a keen sense of smell and are easy to train.
Gestation period It takes between 16 to 30 days depending on the species. It takes 21 days.
What they feed on They feed on dry food, berries, nuts, insects, fresh fruits, seeds, and vegetables. They may attack other rat species and even eat their young ones.
Behavior They are solitary animals and are aggressive in nature. They are very social.
Predators They include; owls, snakes, hawks, and humans for lab testing. Snakes are their major predators.
Lifespan They live between 2 to 3 years. They live between 2 to 3 years.
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What is a Hamster?

‘Hamster is a rodent that belongs to the family Cricetidae. They are small, have stout bodies, they are short, they have stocky legs and wide feet. They are over 25 known species of hamsters. They are believed to be nocturnal but in a real sense, they are not. They are active during twilight, dawn, or dusk.

They keep themselves away from their predators by burrowing in the holes. They are omnivores. They rely both on animals and plant matter. They feed on insects, vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, berries, and dry food.

They are solitary animals and prefer to stay alone. They are timid and for this reason, if a mother suspects danger then she eats the young ones. The females are separated from the males when they are mating as the female is always violent and may attack and kill the male. The litter is born blind and hairless.

What is a Rat?

Rat is a medium-sized to the large rodent. They have a long and slender hairless tail, pointed muzzle, and dexterous forepaws.

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They are considered deadly pets as they carry diseases that can be transmitted to human beings. They have spread the bubonic plague throughout Europe. They also damage and eat crops. They also have the capability of destroying structures.

They are omnivores. They entirely depend on both plant matter and animal meat. They feed on other species of mice and may even feed on their young ones. Their gestation period is 21 days.

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Main Differences between Hamster and Rat

  1. Hamsters are small in body size while rats are comparatively large in body size.
  2. Hamsters are solitary animals while rats are social animals.
  3. Hamsters have hairy tails while rats have hairless tails.
  4. The gestation period for hamsters is between 16 to 30 days while the gestation period for rats is 21 days.
  5. Hamsters are crepuscular animals while rats are nocturnal.

Similarities between Hamster and Rat

  1. They are both rodents.
  2. Both are omnivores.
  3. They have a similar lifespan.
  4. They both have a sharp sense of smell.
  5. Both have small eyes.
  6. Both have small ears.
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In Conclusion

Hamsters and rats are both rodents. They are different in both characteristics and behavior. Hamsters are small, have stout bodies, they are short, they have stocky legs and wide feet. Rats are medium-sized to large, have long, slender, and hairless tails pointed muzzles, and dexterous forepaws. The main feature that makes hamsters be different from rats is the appearance.

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