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Old 09-23-2016, 01:38 PM   #1
HamsterCrazy1
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Default Hamster or Mouse?

OK so I know this isn't really a complete 'hamster question' but I figured maybe there are a few people on here who have had both or can give me some advice. I've been thinking about a hamster for like 4 years, I've just always had lots of other pets and haven't had the extra time or money. I don't have as many animals now and have more time, so I'm thinking I may actually get one of the two. My question now is- which one? Can someone give me pros & cons of each? Or even a hamster personality description? I'm thinking a Syrian or a Dwarf Winter White. And there aren't different breeds/species of domestic mice are there? Just different colors? I'll list some of the questions I have about hamsters and mice. How much do each eat? What is the best bedding besides carefresh? What CAN I use besides expensive bedding and carefresh? How much do they cost per month? Best in single or same sex? Best brand of food? Is 'upkeep' a lot? Do they smell? Are they nocturnal? Quiet? Best cage? Cage cost? I'd like a pet that would be calm enough to be held once in a while, sit on my shoulder, etc. but also entertain me with it's energy. I'm trying to learn as much as I possibly can before I decide on one and before I get one, so I can properly care for it. If you can answer any of these questions at all I'd be soooo grateful. Thanks in advance!! I'll be scanning this forum, reading hamster questions
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Old 09-23-2016, 01:49 PM   #2
Vectis Hamstery
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Default Re: Hamster or Mouse?

I've had both hamsters and mice.

Syrian hamsters HAVE to live alone - no pairs or groups or they'll fight to the death. Winter whites may live in single sex pairs, but it's not guaranteed. If you only have space/finances for one cage then I'd recommend only getting one winter white. Fancy mice girls should live in pairs/groups. Male fancy mice can fight as they mature. If neutered they can live with females.

As you say there are different mouse species, but the ones most usually seen as pets are the fancy mice. There are harvest mice, zebra mice, multimammate mice, spiny mice, African pygmy mice etc. but these are more exotic mice and can be less easy to find.

I find hamsters smell less than mice - male mice are particularly pungent often.

Mice can be prone to respiratory issues so should be kept on a less dusty substrate, like Carefresh, Fitch, cardboard squares, Finacard etc. All of these are suitable for hamsters also.

I can't really comment on cost as I had my mice along with a room full of other rodents so didn't separate out what each of them cost. They seemed similar in use of substrate/food to the hammies, although the naked mouse ate a lot more than her furry friends

I love hamsters and mice, though hamsters are my favourite! I don't currently have mice as a) I don't have space for them as well as the hamsters, and b) I lost quite a few in a short space of time and decided to have a mousey break.
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Old 09-23-2016, 01:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hamster or Mouse?

Bedding depends on country,same with cage.However,mice are definitely much cheaper to have cages for and they don't need quite as much space unless you have lots of mice.Male mice have to be kept alone though,so keep that in mind before getting any mice.

Mice are much cheaper and easier to find toys for,as well as a lot of other supplies,just because they are considerably smaller than hamsters except robo hamsters.

Hamsters and mice aren't going to be the most tame pets,but both will tolerate handling.Don't place them on your shoulder though,with mice you could easily lose them and with hamsters they could have a serious fall and that could lead to severe injuries or even death.

How big of a cage can you have?This could be a very good indicator on what is best for you

For bedding,the best option in the UK and some other countries where it is available is Fitch.However in the US,Kaytee Clean and Cozy is preferred over Carefresh due to having nowhere near as much dust and being lower in cost.With hamsters,that cost is easily reduced by having more substrate that is considerably deeper as that means less wasted substrate/bedding and in turn saves you a lot of money(hence,larger cages are actually cheaper long term for hamsters).

Keep in mind that no matter what animal you get,you shouldn't expect them to be "cheap" or pocket money pets.Any animal can become ill and in that situation,vet bills can be extremely costly.That isn't considering the initial startup costs which are always going to be expensive no matter what kind of pet you're getting.

Last edited by AmityvilleHams; 09-23-2016 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 09-23-2016, 03:03 PM   #4
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Hamster or Mouse?

I don't know about mice so this is for hamsters:

Quote:
What is the best bedding besides carefresh? What CAN I use besides expensive bedding and carefresh?
Fitch - made from food grade paper. The 10kg bag lasts me 4 to 6 months with a 100cm cage. Suitable for all rodents. Hamsters like it.

https://www.fitchrecycling.co.uk/ani...-delivery.html

Other options are mentioned by Vectis - Finacard (also cheap bought in bulk - soft cardboard squares), Hemp bedding (Zooplus sell this by the bale). I really like Fitch and it's non allergenic and not dusty.

Quote:
How much do they cost per month?
For a Syrian hamster. Not a lot, but depends on how much you spend on them! In terms of food and bedding it's not expensive - a few pounds a month maybe (if you buy bedding in bulk). But sometimes things need replacing - wheels, water bottles and so on. Buying new toys for the cage can get a bit addictive, and also extras for food and treats can add up. I buy a lot more variety of fresh veg for the hamster than I ever did for us humans.

Quote:
Best brand of food?
Depends on the hamster. Dwarf hamsters do best with a specific dwarf hamster mix. Burgess Dwarf Supahamster is popular and good quality.

For a Syrian I like Harry Hamster because it's the only one our Syrian seems to like, it is sugar free, the pieces are a good size for a Syrian and it contains all the vitamins and minerals they need, plus it contains whole monkey nuts. But I also supplement daily with a bit of fresh veg and a couple of "extras" - pumpkin seeds, brazil nut, cheese, banana, apple, pecan nuts. Usually one of these each day. Our Syrian also has a Rosewood dandelion chew stick on the go, a couple of other chews and gets the occasional piece of chicken, scrambled egg or porridge.

Quote:
Is 'upkeep' a lot?
I think the initial setup is the biggest outlay - the cage, any shelves or other accessories needed, a wheel. Some things can add up, but you can also make things and use cardboard boxes for houses and make toilet roll toys etc. The upkeep doesn't have to be a lot but it's good to have a vet fund in case treatment is needed, ie put a bit away each month. In terms of initial set up it helps if you get a big enough cage to start with - I had to upgrade within 3 weeks and ended up paying for two cages and have since upgraded again!

Do they smell?

I don't find hamsters smelly at all. They will also use a potty litter tray.

Are they nocturnal?

Hamsters are technically crepuscular rather than nocturnal. Which means they are more likely to be awake at dawn or dusk. I have noticed this. But in real terms they seem to be nocturnal as they are awake and energetic at night and asleep most of the day. They have different personalities too and different species of hamsters are out and about at different times generally. For Syrian hamsters, some will be out and about in their cage in the evenings and wanting to come out. Others will get up much later. I'm not an expert on dwarf hamsters but I believe they are up and about in the afternoons sometimes.

Quote:
Quiet?
Depends on the hamster! Ours is silent. Some screech, some chatter. Generally they are quite quiet. But they can have a range of "looks"!

Quote:
Best cage? Cage cost?
Big question. The options are cages, tanks or tank style, diy cages. Cost goes from about 33 to well over 100 depending on what it is. Zooplus has a good range of decent sized well priced cages. Also some more expensive ones. The Alaska and Barney cages are popular (I have the Barney for our Syrian).

Hamster Cages | great selection at zooplus

Quote:
I'd like a pet that would be calm enough to be held once in a while, sit on my shoulder, etc. but also entertain me with it's energy.
The first two bits sound like a Syrian hamster. The third bit possibly a Syrian hamster, but more likely a dwarf hamster as they can be more entertaining to watch but not always as handleable (although big generalisations there). A Syrian hamster could be easier to hand tame. But I'm a bit biased as we only have a Syrian hamster. Ours is a bit reclusive and independent but he did used to go to sleep on my lap a lot (until he got even more independent as he got older!). He will sit for a stroke (if he's in the mood) and he can be very entertaining in his playpen during out of cage time. Because he's one that doesn't usually appear before 11pm we wake him around 7 or 8pm when putting the food and water out to give him out of cage time. This was a tip got from an RSPCA book if the hamster is for a child. It's ok if you keep to a routine of around the same time.

Likes his cuddly blanket (out of cage - best to avoid fabric in cage)



And his donut bed





And his rat sputnik (plastic hammock)



Will sit on the sofa with us sometimes



I think generally people suggest for a first hamster, a Syrian is a good option. But if you really like Winter Whites, it would probably best to try and get one from a breeder where it is used to being handled and may be easier to tame a bit. And as Vectis says, if you get a pair you need to be prepared to have room for two decent sized cages in case they need separating at some point. I think the general advice for a new hamster owner getting a dwarf hamster is to just get one.
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Old 09-23-2016, 05:55 PM   #5
juniper92
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Default Re: Hamster or Mouse?

I've had hamsters (all kinds) and mice. Mice definitely smell more, especially the males. Very hard to tolerate the smell of them. They mark their territories like crazy. Mice are social and smart so need a cage-mate and more stimulation and time out of the cage. They are also more messy. Mice are really very intelligent and need lots more space and attention than most people realize. Hamsters, sorry, are not that bright and seem more content. They are also easier to handle if they are tamed properly. We were able to make a big playground on a table top for our mice and they were smart enough not to walk over the edge. Could never do that with our hamsters. They'd be gone in an instant and have no idea that they could not get back home again.
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Old 09-24-2016, 05:00 AM   #6
HamsterCrazy1
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Default Re: Hamster or Mouse?

Thank you all so much! I'm in the US. I could pretty much have as big of a cage as I needed. Of course when I would have it sit on my shoulder and crawl around on me, I'd be on the floor or in my bed where it couldn't get hurt. Serendipity- your lil hammy is soooo cute! I think I want a Syrian if I end up getting a hamster. I'm still pretty torn on whether I want a hamster or a mouse. For bedding- could I just use an assortment of paper towels, tissues, toilet paper, and Kaytee Clean N Cozy? Just to make the cost less?
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Old 09-24-2016, 05:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: Hamster or Mouse?

Could you have a cage of 1,550 square inches or more?If so,a Syrian could work really well Around 40 inches x 40 inches is one example of that cage size,while a dwarf could have something half the size and mice could have even smaller.

You might find that if you end up deciding on just one you'll end up eventually wanting both.That's only a problem if you can't fit appropriate cages for both and can't afford proper care for both,but to be honest mouse cages are very easy to make space for.

DIY cages are definitely cheap in the US.Home Depot sell melamine sheets which are 4 feet x 8 feet,which can make one cage or several cages depending on what you want to house and what other materials you use along with the melamine.That single sheet only costs around 30-35 dollars,and if you're making several cages with it it can be an absolute bargain.Plexiglass is a good option as well,but it can become expensive unless you can cut very large sheets.You could get about 4 4 ft long x 2 ft high sheets out of a single 4 x 8 plexiglass sheet though,so if you build two Syrian cages with front and back plexiglass panels that actually covers both cages.So,you initially pay up to 200 dollars for materials,but end up spending far less than a smaller premade storebought cage would cost.You might even spend 150 dollars or less on materials,and if you make a Syrian cage but only use one plexiglass panel you could even make cages for many other animals as well!
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Old 09-24-2016, 08:18 AM   #8
HamsterCrazy1
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Default Re: Hamster or Mouse?

Thanks! We already have a 10 gallon tank, so what could that comfortably house? Then I'd only have to buy a screen top as far as caging goes. I'm currently leaning toward mice, because they are so much easier to find 'feeder mice' in my area, and they are inexpensive. Hamsters around me, I've found to be like $25. Mice are around $2 or less for feeder mice. Everyone says they are social and smart, and that's what I'd like. Of course, I want to do all of the research I can BEFORE I get the animal to make sure that I know how to properly care for it. So, wondering about bedding and what could easily live in a 10 gallon tank.
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Old 09-24-2016, 08:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: Hamster or Mouse?

They can have the same bedding as hamsters,so Kaytee Clean and Cozy.A 10 gallon tank would be an okay minimum,but eventually you could upgrade to something like the Savic Mickey 2XL(around 150 dollars,but has perfect spacing for mice and is available in the US and UK).A 10 gallon tank is about 20 inches x 10 inches x 12 inches,while the Savic Mickey 2XL is considerably larger and can have levels and other things that mice would prefer to the limits tanks have.
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Old 09-24-2016, 08:33 AM   #10
HamsterCrazy1
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Default Re: Hamster or Mouse?

Or, could I make my own wood and wire cage? Like the 1/8" or 1/4" apart square wire from Home Depot? And just make a wooden frame (with mouse/hammy safe wood) and then enclose it with the wire? Or screen?
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