Difference Between Hamster and Chipmunk

Cute and hairy, rodents like hamsters and chipmunks are too adorable to be underestimated. Both of them are very easy to take care of and are ideal pets for less-spacious houses.

With cheek pouches to store food and incisors to bite nuts and seeds in minutes, both can be in your most likeable creatures list.

Hamster vs Chipmunk

The main difference between hamster and chipmunk is that hamsters are quite nocturnal and evening beings in nature, while chipmunks are totally morning beings. While hamsters are short and stubby and tiny tailed, chipmunks are average tailed and a bit bigger than hamsters.

Hamster vs Chipmunk

Industrious and small, a hamster is great for people who have less space at home. Quite lazy in the morning, hamsters are pretty lively and active during night and evening. You can adore them roaming here and there with their tiny legs and cute little fat body.

As for a chipmunk, it is a creature that is always moving. If you spend your daytime at home, the chipmunk is the right kind of rodent to play with. Chipmunks don’t like it if their same species members are kept with them. Thus, they are quarrelsome and territorial.

Comparison Table Between Hamster and Chipmunk

Parameters of ComparisonHamsterChipmunk
Active TimingsPretty lazy in the mornings, a hamster mostly stays active during nights and evenings.A chipmunk is playful during the daytime.
Scientific NameIs scientifically known as Cricetinae.Is scientifically known as Tamias.
Species found24 different varieties of hamster can be seen across the globe.25 different species of chipmunk can be spotted all around the world.
Average Life Span2-3 years.About 10 years or more.
Gestation Period16-23 days.31 days.

What is Hamster?

Hamsters are tiny rodents that you can keep as house pets. They can be easily differentiated from other rodents because of their stubby legs, small ears and short tail. They come in a range of shades like grey, brown, black, white, red, yellow or a mix of many. 

Hamsters come in various size ranges. They can be as large as 34 cm and dwarf to about 5.5-10.5 cm. The famous amongst all is the Syrian Hamster. It grows around 6 inches and is also known as the golden or bear hamster.

Generally, the hamsters kept as pets are pretty gentle and can be taken care of easily. They might bite when made awake from their sleeping time (the daytime), scared or startled. Many pet hamsters are territorial as well. They don’t like to be kept with other hamsters in the same cage.

With that, hamsters also own poor eyesight and colour blindness. They secrete quite easily identifiable odour with the scent glands on their back. They generally use this scent as a guiding trail to find their passage back home.

Their teeth grow constantly, and they grow so long that it might hurt their mouth and lips roof. What keeps their teeth short is chewing of twigs or wood.

What is Chipmunk?

A chipmunk is a rodent habituated to use the forest and rocky terrain resources. They have about 25 species of striped and small terrestrial squirrels with furry tail, prominent eyes and small claws.

They belong to the squirrel family, i.e. Sciuridae, in the order of Rodentia. The majority categorization restricts to a single genus- Tamias. While a few differentiate the species in other genera- Neotamias, Tamias, and Eutamias.

They own big internal cheek pouches that are used for food transportation. Their body size ranges from 8-16 cm, and the tail size is about 6-14 cm. They are excellent climbers but average scampers on the ground.

As a family, they are substantially versatile species and are found mainly in forests, meadows, timberline slopes, sagebrush deserts and dry scrublands.

The sound a chipmunk makes is Chipping or Shrill Chirring. They enjoy eating berries, seeds, and tender plants with insects, fungi, some carrion and various arthropods. They preserve nuts and seeds in their cheek pouches and store them in their burrows for later usage.

With that, the majority of chipmunks don’t put on fat during fall. In winters, they don’t depend on the food. They come out for food purposes from their partial hibernation. They are not true hibernators as they emerge on windless and sunny winter days.

Main Differences Between Hamster and Chipmunk

  1. Hamsters are excellent diggers and are poor at climbing. On the other hand, chipmunks are excellent climbers and near average at digging.
  2. Hamsters don’t hibernate until it gets utterly cold, while chipmunks hibernate but don’t store fat like bears or many other animals. 
  3. If we talk of habits, hamsters are pretty socialistic animals, few species being loners. On the other hand, you might spot a chipmunk every now and then, but they are pretty non-socialistic creatures.
  4. The weight of a hamster could be as tiny as half an ounce and max up to 10.5 ounces. As for a chipmunk, the minimum weight noted is 1.1 ounce and maximum up to 4.4 ounces.
  5. A hamster gives birth to just 2-3 litter at a time once a year. As for chipmunks, it gives birth to 2-8 litter at a time, once or twice in a year.
Difference Between Hamster and Chipmunk


Both hamsters and chipmunks are recognized by one type of teeth that grow throughout their life. They can be spotted on all the continents except Antarctica. Because of the survival tendency that let them survive in man-made and wild conditions, they are regarded as the most variegated rodents.

Hamsters were first found in Syria but can also be spotted in areas around Romania, Greece, and Belgium. The wild species live likely in dry and warm areas. And, the pet chipmunks enjoy their time at home in spacious cages being playful on a revolving wheel.

As for chipmunks, they are pretty much like squirrels. With small, fury skin, they are identified by the bushy tail and black, brown and white stripes present on their back. Leaving the Siberian chipmunk, the rest species are found in North America.

You can easily spot them on trees or running here and there in parks and grounds.


  1. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s003590050017.pdf
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