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Hamster vs Rat

(70 Posts)
muggglewump Thu 06-Aug-09 22:46:01

My DD is 8 later this month. She wants a hamster and has for ages.
CM's son has a lovely hamster which is why DD wants one.
I know though, that they can be horrible, bitey and not good pets. I had two as a child, the first was great, the second not, and was really something in a cage that was fed and cleaned but not a pet.

I've heard rats make better pets.

DD will be doing the feeding and cleaning. I'm aware that she will lose interest but at her age she will be made to do it, I have told her this already.

I will pick up the slack if needed, the pet will be well looked after.

I've no experience of rats though.
Is it true that they are quite tame, and can be trained, and are friendly?

Will a rat make a better pet than a hamster?

cornsillk Thu 06-Aug-09 22:48:11

Rats are supposed to be good pets but they are incontinent and will wee on you. Hamsters don't so an awful lot and are nocturnal.Have you thought about a rabbit?

paisleyleaf Thu 06-Aug-09 22:49:15

I think rats are a better pet
My sister had one when we were kids
it used to run tightrope accross string when we held an end each.
Hamsters are nocturnal.
However, the hamsters do look cuter to a little girl.

HecatesTwopenceworth Thu 06-Aug-09 22:50:46


Hamsters are bastards.


No, seriously, get a pair of rats (you can't have one on its own, they get lonely!) ime males are nicer than females. Rats LOVE people, love attention.

Hamsters HATE being pets, tbh. Hate being held, hate being disturbed. They are terrible pets for children and tbh, it's not a nice thing to do to an animal if it hates it so much!

bumpybecky Thu 06-Aug-09 22:52:34


before kids we had four rats, two boys and two girls (kept separate so no babies!). I can't remember them ever weeing on us. I thought it was mice that were incontinent?

Anyway, rats are excellent pets very intelligent and distinct personalities. The girls were quite naughty - nibblings things they shouldn't have and very good at pinching things and hiding them. The boys were more chilled out and only ate food rather than random objects...

They were all very tame not sure they were trained though. They couldn't do tricks or anything. They're bigger than hamsters so easier for smaller people to handle perhaps.

preciouslillywhite Thu 06-Aug-09 23:05:24

hamster. they're delightful.

We used to get ours used to being handled by wearing gardening gloves at first. You have to be really quiet and gentle with em. After a while you can just let them run all over you/your living room-once you hamster proof it. They're sweet and funny- and I think they're really rewarding for kids if they take their hamster taming duties seriously!

themoon66 Thu 06-Aug-09 23:09:02

Neither... get gerbils... lovely little personalities and very entertaining.

Hamsters are dead arsey.

Rats.. well... I've spent the last few months shooting the bastards out in my back garden!

Tortoise Thu 06-Aug-09 23:11:50

My Brothers used to put his rat on the front room floor and it would run up the stairs to his room and get into its cage. grin
They make really good pets and are easier to handle. I used to walk around the house with mine sat on my shoulder.

muggglewump Thu 06-Aug-09 23:18:36

Thanks so far.
I don't mean training the rat to do tricks, I mean training as in not to bite, and perhaps get used to us and come to be let out if we're near the cage?
I've heard they do that.

The pet owning duties, wether hamster or rat will be taken seriously. We already have goldfish and a cat and we look after them properly.
This will be DD's first pet that is just hers.

She wants a hamster more, beacuse of CM's son's one, and because you can get it a big pink fancy cage.
The rat cage is plainer.

I want her to have a pet that she will get more from.
Rabbits and Guinea Pigs are out of the question as my garden is not suitable.

What about mice and gerbils?

muggglewump Thu 06-Aug-09 23:22:03

Ah cross post.
Now what do they do that hamsters and rats don't?

hippipotamiHasLost54lbs Thu 06-Aug-09 23:25:58

Rats, definately. Ours used to come when called, it would sit on my shoulder, I took it shopping in the pocket of my denim jacket (was sooo treny in the 80's!) and used to do somersaults for pieces of cheese.

I think boy rats are tamer but leave a trail of urine as they walk, girls are more aloof but cleaner. But you can train girls to become as friendly as the boys, it just takes longer)

Don't know much about hamsters other then they don't seem to want to be bothered and they don't live too long.
Never had gerbils so can't help with those.

jemart Thu 06-Aug-09 23:27:20

Hamsters are very nice if handled properly, you have to pick them up and spend time with them regularly to keep them tame. Also they don't generally live past 3 years so if the novelty wears off you won't have too many years of cage cleaning ahead of you.

Personally I am not keen on Rats, I think they are ugly.

hippipotamiHasLost54lbs Thu 06-Aug-09 23:30:06

Awww, jem, rats are beautiful! (except for their tails, the tail is grim)

HecatesTwopenceworth Fri 07-Aug-09 07:18:02

gerbils are fun and friendly!

mice are (I want to say nice!! grin ) but tiny and probably more difficult for a small child? Plus mice STINK!!!

I still think rats are the way to go! I always feel sorry for hamsters as pets because although with constant harassment they can learn to tolerate being handled and don't bite you, they are solitary creatures and it is just not in their nature to want human contact.

So while a hamster is cute and cuddly and the human likes it - is that really fair to the hamster? All it ever does is learn to accept you!

Rats otoh, are social creatures and enjoy the interaction, so that's a win/win situation!

feedthegoat Fri 07-Aug-09 07:55:23

I used to work in a pet shop when I was younger and we were always told rats make the best pet for small children.

I definately prefer them to hamsters. I hated working saturdays when children would come in and always want the sleeping hamster at the bottom of the pile. You'd put your hand in hoping you didn't come out with one attached to each finger!

Gerbils are lovely to watch but I had some as a teenager and they seemed more skittish than rats so might not be as easy for a small child to handle.

JammyQueenOfTheSewers Fri 07-Aug-09 08:04:02

I used to have a pet rat and she was fab. Really fun and loved being handled. She would sit on my shoulder chattering in my ear as I pottered about. Sadly, I developed an allergy so can't have one now

MrsChemist Fri 07-Aug-09 08:12:19

I think hamsters take more work to get them used to you than rats do. Rats live longer as well, which you might want to take into consideration.

I've only ever heard good things about rats. I really want a pair, but we have a cat that doesn't get on with other animals.

Trikken Fri 07-Aug-09 08:24:24

Rats are gorgeous pets, much better than hamsters, and ive had both. My rat never ever weed on me, or pooed, my hamster on the other hand did. Rats are easily trained, and are much more loving than hamsters. I miss my rat soo much, best pet ever. when the children are bigger i will definately get another one.

alardi Fri 07-Aug-09 08:35:33

I like rats much better than the others, but I think that mice or hammies (I have never looked after gerbils) would suit OP better because of the cat. Rats need to be out of the cage lots, in order to be stimulated and happy, hard to do that with cat about. I like mice much better than hammies.

Mind, 2 of my (childhood) hammies were eaten by our cats. Whereas, our rats were always canny enough to avoid such a fate.

CMOTdibbler Fri 07-Aug-09 08:46:39

Rats are lovely pets - my mum had a succession as her classroom pets, and they never bit the children, even when stuffed up jumpers/the curates sleeve etc.

Before that she had gerbils. They bit and chewed everything and where no where near as placid.

Hamsters and mice smell

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 07-Aug-09 12:37:34

hamster lover here

i had them for over 10years - tho not the same one grin

bad thing with hammys is that they dont generally live past 3years - often die 18th to 2ish sad

as long as you do get them out a few times a day when you get them, so that they get used to handling ,they are lovely pets

my dc love coming to my house and seeing/playing with my hammies

yes they are nocturnal - but thet are also very sociable and i can walk past my 2 cages and out pops a little twitching nose and ears

muggglewump Fri 07-Aug-09 14:03:14

Thanks for all the replies.
I think I'll try and talk her into a rat, sounds much better than a hamster.

I don't think she'll tire of it, she's still happy to feed and help clean the fish, and we've had them (not the same ones) since she was a baby, they are my pets really, and she feeds the cat daily.
Srill though, if she does I'd rather have my preference of pet, which is a rat after reading this.

hellymelly Fri 07-Aug-09 14:13:47

Hamsters are sweet to look at but not to play with,nippy anbd nocturnal they are frustrating for anyone wanting a little pal and they keep you awake all blooming night if they are in your room.Rats on the other hand-totally fab.Friendly,clever,and very entertaining.I would get my girls a rat in a wink but we have a terrier....

haggisaggis Fri 07-Aug-09 14:22:27

If you do go for rats, please get more than one as they really need company. (We ended up with 3 as I didn't want to leave only one in the pet shop..)

Sheeta Fri 07-Aug-09 14:28:43

Rat, definitely. Hamsters are shits.

Rats are so intelligent, you can call them and they'll come to you. Mine (baldrick ) was like a miniature dog.. very cool.

Will definitely be getting DS a rat when he's older (whether he wants one or now wink)

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