Hamster vs Chipmunk: Difference and Comparison

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


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

Key Takeaways

  1. Hamsters are small rodents kept as pets, with stocky bodies, short tails, and round ears.
  2. Chipmunks are small, striped rodents found in the wild, with slender bodies, bushy tails, and prominent eyes and cheeks.
  3. Hamsters are nocturnal and prefer to live alone, while chipmunks are diurnal and often live in groups or pairs, in caves or trees.

Hamster vs Chipmunk

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

Hamster vs Chipmunk

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

A chipmunk is a creature that is constantly moving. If you spend your daytime at home, the chipmunk is the right 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

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 NameIt is scientifically known as Cricetinae.It is scientifically known as Tamias.
Species found24 different varieties of hamsters 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 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 most famous among all is the Syrian Hamster. It grows around 6 inches and is known as the golden or bear hamster.

Generally, the hamsters kept as pets are gentle and can be taken care of quickly. 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 odours with the scent glands on their back. They generally use this scent as a guiding trail to find their passage back home.

Their teeth constantly grow, growing so long that it might hurt their mouth and lips roof. What keeps their teeth short is chewing 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 tails, prominent eyes and tiny 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 their 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, carrion, and arthropods. They preserve nuts and seeds in their cheek pouches and store them in their burrows for later usage.

With that, most chipmunks don’t put on fat during fall. In winter, they don’t depend on 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 are near average at digging.
  2. Hamsters don’t hibernate until it gets cold, while chipmunks hibernate but don’t store fat like bears or many other animals. 
  3. Regarding habits, hamsters are pretty socialistic animals, with few species being loners. On the other hand, you might spot a chipmunk 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 is 1.1 ounces, and the maximum is 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 a year.
Difference Between Hamster and Chipmunk
  1. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s003590050017.pdf
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