Although they are both rodents, hamsters and chinchillas are quite different creatures.
They are quite distinctive and have their own personalities and are both much loved by pet owners around the world.
They make great pets in their own rights and are popular in many different countries.
Characteristics of a chinchilla
Chinchillas are much larger than hamsters in their size and stature
A short tailed chinchilla can grow between 28 and 49cm with a tail length of 10cm.
A Syrian hamster, which is the largest of the pet hamsters, can grow between 13 and 18cm.
They do however, share similar physical characteristics because they are both rodents so they both have teeth which are constantly growing.
This means that they both need be chewing and gnawing things constantly and just like hamsters.
If they don’t chew to grind their teeth down, it will be very painful for them in the long run.
This means that they need a constant supply of hay and chinchilla pellets to keep them going.
They also need other things to chew on such as blocks of wood like maple, pine, beech and types of fruit wood.
Their diet should also have some veggies added to it to supplement the chinchilla pellets such as spinach, endive, and escarole.
Chinchillas are vocally quite quiet creatures.
They have lovely soft and lush fur which has been the source of much delight for people down the ages.
Indeed, chinchillas were almost wiped out from being hunted for their fur before becoming a more protected species.
So how different are they from hamsters?
Where as hamsters come from various countries in and and around eastern asia.
Chinchillas come from the Andes mountains in South America where they inhabited the high mountain ranges.
They enjoyed living amongst the rocks and crevices of that region and made their homes in the holes and caves in those places.
When they want to be they can be vocal and will enjoy bouncing around their cage.
Like hamsters, they are inquisitive creatures that like to explore.
However they do have low spans of attention and so will move on from one thing to another very quickly.
They can live quite long time and have been known to live anything up to 15 years.
This is unlike the hamster who only has a lifespan of around 3 years.
Because of their lively personality, they need a large cage so that they can jump around and play.
They do not enjoy being handled a great deal and so an owner needs to build up trust with them so that they will let themselves be picked up.
If they are handled too much, they get stressed very easily.
Chinchillas enjoy cool environments, much like their native lands of the Andes.
They do not enjoy heat or humidity and so need to be kept away from these environments as they have a tendency to overheat.
Chinchillas also need a dust bath at least twice a week.
What about playing or hanging out with other animals?
There are some owners who have chinchillas who report that they have let their animals play in the vicinity of each other.
Chinchillas are quite social animals that will usually get along with each other and are known to be with others in the wild.
It is typical to get chinchillas as a pair or a three.
They are quite territorial animals and enjoy their space.
They will normally not enjoy another animal invading their space if they see that they are a threat.
So can hamsters and chinchillas get along?
Hamsters are quite solitary creatures that do not like the company other animals.
Hamsters such as dwarf’s for example, only enjoy those of their own kind let alone other types of hamster.
Syrian hamsters are far worse in this regard.
They do not like the company of any other hamster including those of their own kind.
They get very territorial and can lead to a very difficult situation if they are put with any other creature.
This means that unfortunately hamsters and chinchillas wont usually get along.
Of course, there are odd stories of these two species doing so but they are few and far between.
Building a relationship between a chinchilla and a hamster requires a lot of attention, and training to ensure that there are no mishaps.
But on the whole it is advised that if you have a hamster and a chinchilla, that they are kept far away from each other.
Keep them out of sight and away from their vicinity so that they do not see each other as a threat.