What is a Dwarf Hamsters Lifespan? How long do they live for?
Hey Pet Parents & Pet Lovers,
As mentioned in a previous article asking how long Bettas live for, I talk a little bit about the importance of knowing the lifespan of an animal you are hoping to adopt as it may heavily impact your choice to adopt the animal.
The same can be said for hamsters, especially because their age is so connected to the care you give to it.
Now, every breed of hamster lives for different lengths, so today Im asking what is the length of a dwarf hamsters lifespan?
Different breeds of dwarf hamsters will live different lengths, but their average lifespan ranges from years.
Oldest Dwarf Hamster Documented (Guinness World Records)
When doing research into this, I kept finding posts that stated that a dwarf hamster lived for 7 years, but once I did a bit more research and fact checking I found out the oldest dwarf hamster on record was actually years old which was documented by the Guinness World Records Book.
Average Age Breakdown by Dwarfs Breed
Campbells Dwarf Hamster 2 years
Siberian Dwarf Hamster 2 years
Chinese Dwarf Hamster 2 3 years
Roborovski Dwarf Hamster 3 years
Wild Hamsters tend to Live Longer
Its odd to write this, as most wild animals dont outlive household animals, however, this isnt true of hamsters.
Unfortunately, a lot of hamsters arent properly taken care of, and they actually get a much better diet in the wild.
If fed a properly balanced diet, you can really expand the lifespan of your hamster.
Its up for debate, but feeding mixed seeds tend to be worse for you hamster than feeding pellets. This is because some hamsters pick and choose which seeds they want to eat and actually often dont eat the ones that are best for them.
For example, our dearest Twitch was a sunflower seed fiend! She would avoid all of the other seeds until we took the sunflower seeds out of the mix and was forced to eat all of the other seeds!
Make sure your hamster is also eating all of the seeds provided in the mix, or you may want to choose to feed them pellets with some seeds on the side as treats.
When feeding your hamster, you can supplement fresh fruits and vegetables to make sure they are getting the nutrition they need.
Some of these include carrots, bananas, lettuce, spinach, apples, however, do this in moderation.
Ill actually be covering individual foods you can feed your hamster and what the benefits of each are. Check out the hamster section of the site for more examples!
Water should be changed daily, and fresh food should be given every third day (if not every other day.)
*Photo from DIY: How To Make A Cheap, but Durable Hamster Cage
Think about getting a bigger enclosure
If given a big enough space to play, dig and run around hamsters lifespans can be increased.
I would highly suggest doing some research into good enclosures for hamsters, making sure that they are bigger than the ones you would usually get at the pet store.
I actually created my own hamster enclosure that worked great for our little one! You can check out how I made it here. Although, I would do something differently if I was to get another hamster, which is to build different layers for the hamster to go up and play on.
Your hamster needs lots of exercise!
Relating to the larger cage, its really important to encourage your little one to run around and play. This is one of the main reasons smaller cages arent the best for hamsters.
When hamsters have larger spaces, they have more room to run and will actually clock in more exercise time.
Our dear Twitch wasnt a huge fan of using her wheel so we decided to buy her a hamster ball and gave her minutes outside of her cage a day. The one tip I give you if youre going to get your little one a hamster ball is, make sure to check on them regularly.
Twitch used to poop in her ball all the time, and if your hamster is similar to her youre going to want to take them out of that ball as soon as they poop and give it a good clean. It was usually around the minute mark that she would start to poop.
As soon as they are back in their cage, they will commonly run to their water bottle and start drinking away from the workout they just had!
Though hamsters have a fairly low life-expectancy, it doesnt mean that the time you spend with them has to be cut short. There are plenty of ways you can help improve your hamsters life.
The first step you want to take is to always make sure that your hamster is living in a place that is suitable for them to thrive in.
Contrary to popular belief, hamsters need much more space than we think they do.
The easiest way to frame this is, imagine putting a cat in a room. While it is doable to give them a good life in that room, if they are given access to a few more they will thrive faster and longer.
Hope that helped you all out! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!
Filed Under: Hamster Care, Hamsters, Pet CareSours: https://petsoverload.com/what-is-a-dwarf-hamsters-lifespan/
How old was your oldest dwarf?
Was wondering how old did your dwarf hamsters get! If he remains healthy, what's the oldest I could realistically expect him to live? Do males live longer than females, is there a difference?
My first dwarf was yrs old but my second one only
There is no gender that lives longer and life expectancy depends on genetics, care and diet
My current (and only) dwarf is still alive, but from what others have told me, dwarf hamter's life expectancy can range from around years. There's really no way to tell exactly how long your hamster will live, though. Illnesses can happen anytime, and at any age.
I'll leave a list of all my past hamsters and their ages. I've been fortunate to have a lot of fairly long-lived hams.
Harvey (Syrian)- About 2 yrs months old
Wynter (Winter White)- About 2 yrs months old
Wydget (Robo)- About 2 years 4 months old
Raphina (Syrian)- 1 yr and 8 months old
Nova (Winter White)- about 2 years months
Zira (Winter White)- about 1 year 11 months)
Currently I have two hams. (My signature is a little outdated) Gus (Syrian) is 1 1/2 and Rocket (RCD) is months.
Edited by fluzzyponies, 13 January - AM.
My previous dwarf only got to months I believe. She had great care; a well-balanced diet, a large wheel, and never any signs of illness—she just passed one day. I blame it on genetics but honestly it could have been anything (she was on the smaller side [only 25g] so that may have had something go to do with it too).
My current robo is still as hyper as ever at months and I’m hoping for at least a year with him. Fingers crossed.
Mine was a little over 3 years, approximately, 3 years and 3 months I believe.
Edited by Wheek~a~Poo, 13 January - PM.
my current one is still alive and i really hope that he could live up to 3 years I've had him for 7 months now
Edited by fluffyhammies0, 01 February - PM.
Aurora ♥ Hammy08 Jun
Mine was a little over 3 years, approximately, 3 years and 3 months I believe.
Was he a Syrian or a dwarf?
Was he a Syrian or a dwarf?
This thread is 6 months old. It’s important to look at the dates before you respond, it confuses us and can give the thread uneaded and late responses
Aurora ♥ Hammy10 Jun
This thread is 6 months old. It’s important to look at the dates before you respond, it confuses us and can give the thread uneaded and late responses
Oops I’m sorry, I thought people still would respond since it wasn’t too long ago, but thanks.
Was he a Syrian or a dwarf?
Oops I’m sorry, I thought people still would respond since it wasn’t too long ago, but thanks.
Ahh sorry for the late response, but he was a dwarf! A Winter White to be more specific
My oldest dwarf (Campbell's) lived for 4 and a half years, she almost turned 5. But then he sadly passed away
Howie the Hamster12 Jul
I had a Chinese Dwarf Hamster who I rescued from my school classroom (he was very stressed) and he lived for about 2 years!
My oldest dwarf (who was also my first hamster) lived to be years oldhis name was Chino Moreno, and he was the sweetest thing ever.
Dwarf hamsters make great pets. Theyll fun to look after and interesting to watch run around the room in their hamster ball, but how long do dwarf hamsters live for?
How long do dwarf hamsters live? Different dwarf hamster breeds live for different lengths. The average lifespan of a pet dwarf hamster is to years, whereas wild dwarf hamsters can live up to 5 years.
Although dwarf hamsters make great pets their life expectancy is a lot shorter when compared to other household pets. Many parents like to give their child a hamster as they are growing up as this introduces responsibilities into their lives and shows them how to care for animals.
What is a Dwarf Hamsters Life Expectancy?
Pet dwarf hamsters have a life expectancy of to years whereas wild dwarf hamsters have a life expectancy of up to 5 years!
The life expectancy of a dwarf hamster varies by what kind of hamster it is.
Roborovski dwarf hamsters or Robos tend to live the longest, with some living up to years.
Meanwhile, Siberian dwarf hamsters and Campbells dwarf hamsters only live to be about to 2 years old.
Wild hamsters tend to live longer than hamsters in captivity. These hamsters tend can live up to 5 years old. This is likely related to their diet and activities in the wild.
When hamsters are born there can be as many as twenty of them. Known as pups, these animals rely on their mothers for the first 3 to 4 weeks of life.
Once they are old enough, you should separate your hamsters into their own enclosures, especially if you have Syrian hamsters, which tend to fight with each other.
You can often leave other hamsters together as they like social groups, but you need to separate them by sexes or you could end up with lots of babies.
Hamsters tend to reach sexual maturity between 4 and 6 weeks old, so youll want to keep males and females separated early on.
Females should not get pregnant until they are at least 10 weeks old, or they might have complications like stillborn pups.
As your hamster gets to be over a year old, hes starting to reach middle and old age.
During this time, the likelihood of him developing a health issue increases, so be prepared to take him to the veterinarian.
Oldest Dwarf Hamster in The World (Guinness World Records)
There are mixed stories about the oldest dwarf hamster in the world. Some online stories state that the hamster lived to be 7 years old.
According to the Guinness World Records, the oldest hamster lived to be years old. It was a dwarf hamster living in the United Kingdom.
Thats not to say that your hamster couldnt live longer. Stories abound on the internet of people with hamsters that are 4 years old and still going strong.
A large portion of how long they live relates to the care they get and their diet.
Your Hamsters Diet Affects Their Overall Health
The diet you choose to give to your hamsters will affect their health and how long they live for.
There are plenty of commercial options for you to choose from.
While seed mixes and pelleted mixes are both available for your hamster.
You will find that for most hamsters, the pellet mixtures are best.
These diets are homogenous, so every bite has the same mixture of food in it.
Seed mixes, on the other hand, are varied with each bite, and some clever hamsters choose which seeds they want to eat out of the mix, rather than eating them all.
This can lead to dietary insufficiencies because they might not eat the seeds that are best for them.
For example, you might have a hamster that enjoys sunflower seeds. He might gorge himself on sunflower seeds rather than eating the other seeds in the mixture, leading him to become overweight and unhealthy.
If you feed a pellet mixture, you can supplement the feeding with a few seeds. Just take care that you dont feed too many seeds, as these tend to be high in fats and can make your hamster overweight.
Hamsters benefit from eating some fresh fruits and vegetables with their meals, although youll want to be sure that they arent eating these foods solely.
Some fresh food options for your hammy include apples, carrots, and spinach. Lettuce tends to be empty calories, so that is less recommended than the nutrient-dense spinach.
With a hamster, a little bit of fresh food goes a long way. Youll want to limit their fresh food to a small amount.
Watch Out for Harmful Food
When you feed fresh foods, you want to make sure you dont feed anything that has a sharp edge or that can get lodged in your hammys cheek pouches.
You also need to avoid foods such as citrus, which can cause your hamster to develop an upset stomach.
Other foods that can be harmful include onions and raw potatoes, as well as uncooked beans. You should also keep chocolate and other candy away from your hamster, as it can make them sick.
Hamsters are omnivores, so you can also very occasionally cook them a hard-boiled egg, but you should only give them a small pinch of it.
You can also offer your hamster a mealworm or two as a good protein source, once again, for special occasions or once weekly.
Although its best if you stick to a regular hamster diet. Your hamster should be fed pellets daily, with seeds added as an occasional treat. Fresh foods should be restricted to every other day or every third day, rather than feeding them every day.
You should make sure that your hamster has fresh water every single day.
You are going to want to change the water regularly as it can become stagnant, and if its not in a water bottle, your hamster may fill the water dish with bedding.
Make Sure Your Hamsters Cage is Big Enough
There is some thought that giving your hamster plenty of room to play and live will increase their life span. This is likely related to the amount of exercise that they get.
Especially with a dwarf hamster, you want to be careful of the spacing between wire enclosures. If the gap is too large, your hamster can escape.
Stick with cages that are designed for dwarf hamsters or for young mice, as they cant usually squeeze through the wires and get out.
For instance, the smallest dwarf hamsters, Robos, are normally less than 5 centimeters long.
Hamsters tend to be social animals and prefer to be in the company of at least one other.
This means that your housing for them needs to be big enough if you decide to have multiple hamsters.
There are a wide variety of different styles of cages.
Wire cages tend to allow plenty of ventilation, although you need to make sure the bars are close enough together that your hamster cant escape.
Your cage should also have a solid bottom, which gives it plenty of support and helps keep your hamster from hurting his paws, by walking on the wires or getting stuck through the bars.
Youll also appreciate that the solid bottom tends to be easier to keep clean, allowing you to take the cage apart.
Some cages are plastic or glass, such as aquarium style enclosures. These tend to lack good ventilation, which can cause your furry critter to get overheated.
If you dont clean the cage well, ammonia smells can also build up easier.
Many hamster cages also have tunnels that your hamster can run around and explore. This increases the surface area of the cage and provides more activities for your hamster.
The tunnels in the hamster cages do require more maintenance work for you, as they do need to be cleaned. You can take them apart while your hamster is getting exercise in its hamster ball.
Regardless of the cage you choose, youll want to make sure it has comfortable bedding for your hamster.
Many like to have a separate space to act as a bedroom for nesting that is separated from the rest of the cage so you might get a hamster house for them.
Provide Your Hamster With Lot of Playtime
Playtime and exercise are important for everyone, your hamster included. An encouraging activity can help keep your hamster fit and healthy.
Because of the need for plenty of exercises, a small cage is less ideal for your hamster.
Having multiple levels does help by multiplying the amount of space your furry family member has to explore and run around.
Many hamsters utilize a hamster wheel in their cage. While this can be noisy if it squeaks, it provides plenty of cardiovascular activity for your critter.
Some hamsters dont like to run in their hamster wheels, so you have to look for other options for exercise.
Consider trying a hamster ball for your little guy so he can explore the house with ease, getting a change of scenery while getting exercise.
If you do utilize a hamster ball, youll want to keep a close eye on it, especially if you have other animals in the house.
You dont want your hammy to become an afternoon snack for your cat or dog, and you dont want to scare your dwarf hamster by having him get batted around by your other pets.
When using a hamster ball, you are going to need to keep a close eye on the hamster.
If he goes to the bathroom in the ball, you need to have him take a break from running around and clean the ball out you dont want him running through his urine or stool!
You also dont want him falling down the stairs!
Health Problems That Could Affect Their Lifespan
Your hamster can be affected by many different health issues and, especially if left untreated, these may affect his lifespan.
Possible issues include tooth problems, skin infections, upper respiratory infections, and diarrhea.
A common health issue in hamsters is an issue with their teeth. Your hamsters teeth are constantly growing, and they can grow down through his chin if they are not worn down.
You can help prevent dental issues by providing your hamster things to chew on, such as wooden blocks.
Some pet stores even sell non-toxic houses that they can live in and chew on.
If your hamster starts to have dental issues, they need to see a veterinarian, who may trim their teeth back to the length that they should be.
Skin infections can be caused by improperly maintained habitats, especially if waste starts to build up in the cages.
Having too many hamsters together can also increase their risk of skin problems, especially wounds due to fighting.
If your cage has sharp points, your hamster might cut himself, especially while busy exploring all of the cages nooks and crannies.
Inspect the cage regularly when you clean it to make sure that there dont appear to be any issues.
Upper respiratory infections are common among hamsters, and symptoms can include nasal or eye discharge.
You might also note your hamster sneezing or coughing.
If you start to notice any of those respiratory signs, you need to get your hamster to the vet. Left untreated, an upper respiratory infection can progress to worse issues such as pneumonia.
Hamsters are also prone to gastrointestinal, or GI, problems, and these commonly cause diarrhea in your hamster. Causes include bacterial infections, viruses, stress, and dietary indiscretion.
If you feed your hamster too much fresh food or protein, he might develop diarrhea. Eating too many seeds can also cause this to occur.
If you start to notice your hamsters stool getting soft, he needs to get to the veterinarian and be evaluated. If you dont treat him, he can develop dehydration and worsen quickly.
When you take your hamster in to be examined, your vet might put him on antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection.
These are often given as oral medications and may treat upper respiratory infections, skin issues, and bacterial overgrowths causing diarrhea.
Its important that you give all medications as your vet has prescribed them. Not doing so can cause a relapse in your pet or cause them to get worse.
If you want your hamster to live a long, healthy life, their housing, and diet, as well as exercise, are closely linked to their longevity.
Do hamsters have tails? Hamsters have short stubby tails. The length determines on the breed of the hamster. Different breeds will have different length tails.
Can hamsters climb? Hamsters arent as good as climbers as other rodents such as rats, but are generally quite good climbers and can climb up stairs or their cage.
Can hamsters eat bread? Hamsters can eat brown bread in small amounts but it isnt recommended. Carbohydrates are quite fatty and contain lots of sugar. You should think carefully before adding treats like bread into your hamsters diet.
Youre off to get yourself a hamster friend ? Great ! Youll need to know how long hamsters live for, so you know whether to get this kind of pet or not.
Well cover the average lifespan of a hamster, and also what you can do to help him have a great and comfortable life. Ill give you examples with my Teddy (Syrian, male hammy) to make things clearer too.
So how long do hamsters live for ?
Usually a hamster will live for about years at most. This is the average lifespan, and there are many examples that have outlived 3 years, or never reached a year.
The average lifespan varies for each hamster breed. The longest lived hamster breed is the Roborovski Dwarf (up to 4 years), while the shortest is the Chinese Dwarf ( a little under 2 years).
Of course, there are hamsters who can outlive the average, like cases of Syrian hammies living for years in captivity. In the wild, most dont make it to their first birthday, given how many predators theyve got.
Still, there are some very crucial factors influencing how long and even how well your hamster friend is going to live. Some of them you can control, some are out of your hands. Lets see which they are !
What affects the hamsters lifespan
There are inherited factors, like the hamsters predisposition for an illness, or faulty genetics, as well as controllable factors like the quality of care the hamster gets.
Were going to go through each factor, and see how you can make your hamster friend lead a long and happy life.
So keep in mind that the inherited traits like breed, genetics, illness will outweigh the elements you can control. For example if youve got a Robo hamster (which can live up to 4 years) with early onset diabetes, he might only live to 2 years, even with a wonderfully precise diet. Otherwise he might have lived a much shorter life.
Take solace in knowing that you can, in fact, make your hamsters life much easier and more comfortable, even if some things you cant change.
Things you cant control about the hamster
Alright, lets see the inherited traits that will affect your hamsters life. There are 2 major ones, and well discuss them here.
1. The hamsters breed/type
You can indeed pick your hamsters breed. When you go to the pet store and see all the available hammies, you will probably have to choose between a Syrian and a Dwarf type. There are 5 species in total to pick from, though not all pet shops will carry all 5, and Ive never seen all 5 present at the same time. There are:
- Syrian hamsters the largest hamster, and the most common one found in pet shops. Also called Teddy-bear hamsters (hence my little Teddys name).
- Roborovski Dwarf much smaller than the Syrian, actually the tiniest of all the Dwarf types only 2 inches/5 cm !
- Djungarian/Winter White/Siberian Dwarf
- Campbells Dwarf
- Chinese Dwarf
There are certain differences in the genetics of all 5 breeds, but they dont differ all that much. The breed (and the coat color and sex) is all you can pick when it comes to the hamsters genetic makeup.
2. Genes and other inherited traits
When it comes to inherited traits, thats completely out of your control. It depends on where youre also getting your hamster from.
For example you may get a hamster from a pet shop, but where does the pet shop have them from ? Sometimes they breed them there, sometimes they get a new litter from people who have had accidental litters.
Some breeders aim for a docile line of hamsters, or more variation in coat colors, or size perhaps. However all those traits may come with certain genes.
We all know about the white cats predisposition towards hearing problems. Thats simply the gene that comes with being a white cat most of the time.
There are such genes with hamsters, but theyre not well documented, aside from the breeders own notes on their pets.
So you wont know if a black Syrian hamster comes with a gene that gives him weak kidneys and leads to a shorter lifespan.
Or a white Robo hammy that somehow manages to live to the ripe age of 7, because his coat color gene comes with a long lifespan.
However what you can count on is that the Dwarf types have an inherited risk of developing diabetes much faster that the Syrians.
The Syrians on the other hand have the misfortune of getting Wet-tail much easier than the Dwarf types.
Whichever genes your hamster inherited youll be able to give him a wonderful life is you take into account the elements Ive listed below. Those you actually have control over, and can change whenever necessary.
Elements you have control over, and can influence
There are a few things that are completely up to you. Like how well the hamster is fed, his health (partly), and his stress levels. Lets see how to maximize all these elements so you give your hamster one happy, long life with you.
1. Diet and additional foods
Diet is incredibly important for your hamster friend. Actually its more important than exercise, and thats true for hamsters as well as other animals.
What we eat has more impact that what we do. Which is why your hamsters feed must be a high-quality feed, and whatever else you give him as treats must be safe.
So, here is a clear list of safe and unsafe hamster foods. Those are foods youve already got in your pantry or fridge, and can give to you hamster either as regular food, or as a treat.
Hamsters in general can eat anything, with a few exceptions. You can give them fruits, vegetables, nuts and peanuts, some types of meat, and even bread sometimes !
Whatever you decide to give your hamster friend, youll find more info in the links provided above. Do keep in mind that Dwarf hammies should be kept away from sweet foods (fruits, some veggies, most treats) since it will raise their chances of getting Diabetes.
Also if you feed your hamster a commercial food mix, remember to not overfeed your hamster. This can only lead to obesity, which will lead to less exercise, which will lead to further weight gain, and serious health problems.
A healthy daily portion is about 2 teaspoons of dry food for a Syrian hamster, and one teaspoon for a Dwarf type. A Syrian is double the size of a Dwarf, and all hamsters love to hoard their food.
So do not panic if youve just fed your hammy and half an hour later everythings gone. Its okay, the food is tucked away in the hammys food stash, and hell nibble on it whenever he needs it.
Your hamster will need plenty of exercise throughout his life. Especially as a young hamster. Young ones have a tremendous amount of energy, much like toddler humans, and will want to explore everything. All at once. And run there, see that, sniff this other thing too.
So a running wheel is absolutely mandatory for a healthy hamster. This will give our hammy the opportunity to run as far and as much as his little feet can carry him, with energy to spare.
You see, in the wild hamsters always have to be on the run, and theyve got amazing reflexes. They have to, in order to stay alive.
Pet hamsters still have this instinct, much like domestic cats will pounce a laser dot or a dog will howl at the moon. After all, hamsters have only been pets for the last century or so, and theyre pretty much the same as they were in the wild.
Another option is to give your hamster time outside the cage. This means an exercise ball. Your hammy can use it to explore your home and cover more ground than he would in his cage. Its also a better and more intense workout than his usual running wheel.
For this same reason hiding and climbing toys are important for the hamster too. They give your hamster something to do, and keep him away from the cage bars.
A hamster with no exercise option will become irritable, nippy, and obese. This is never a good combination, neither for the hamster, or for you as an owner.
3. Cage size and cleanliness
There is a required minimum for a hamsters habitat. For example a Syrian hamster needs a cage of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x cm, and about cm tall.
Thats the absolute minimum, and I honestly would recommend looking for a cage larger than that. If youve got a Dwarf hamster he can live in such a cage easily enough.
Unfortunately most cages on the market or in pet shops are not larger than the minimum, most not even respecting the minimum space requirement. Do keep in mind that while hamsters do climb and use the levels of a multi-level cage, why prefer the ground floor.
This gives them more security, and its safe for them hamsters are horrible at calculating depth and distances, and will jump from heights.
Also if youve got a tube system installed your hammy will go nuts over it. My Teddy has a tube connecting 2 levels and hes in it half the time. Hammies are attracted to small, cramped spaces. Their homes in the wild are composed of many tunnels, actually.
As for the cage cleanliness, most of the time its okay to change the hamsters bedding once per week, and can be stretched to once every two weeks.
You see, hamsters are very clean animals, and they dont smell. The only thing about them that can get smelly is their pee corner. Thats a specific corner in the cage that the hamster will use to pee. Always the same corner, the farthest away from his hideout.
Make sure you use safe bedding options, like aspen wood shavings, or soft paper bedding. For more info on safe and unsafe hamster bedding material, check out this article. It also covers the cleaning routine in much more depth than I can here.
4. General care and stress
Aside from everything weve discussed so far, the general care your hamster receives is going to decide how comfortable he feels around you, or in your home.
This means that the temperature must be at a certain range for his comfort thats C/ F, and kept well away from any drafts or direct sunlight.
Handling your hamster will also be important. The is a too little, and a too much, and theyre both influenced by the hamsters personality. If you want to know how to tame your hamster friend without getting your hand bitten off, you need to read this article.
As for whether they like being held, they generally do, once theyre tame. But many steps need to be taken before a solitary, not very cuddly hamster will feel okay being picked up.
The placement of the cage in your home is crucial to how well the hamster can rest, and how safe he feels. If you notice your hamster being scared of you, rest assured this will go away in time with efforts on your part. You can read this article to know how to ease a scared hamster.
A very stressed hamster will be a nippy, irritable hamster. he will be hard to handle until you remove the stress source. Unfortunately many things can stress him out, so you should check out this article, since it will shed some light on what having a hammy is like.
5. To pair or not to pair
Youve probably seen hamsters kept together before. Or even heard of a pair of hamsters being kept together. While this isnt unusual, its not the best idea.
True, Dwarf hamsters can live in pairs. But they require a much larger size cage than the minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x cm, and about cm tall.
This is because hamsters are very territorial. While they can get along if they have no other choice, they will always prefer to live alone.
Hamsters kept in pairs can become stressed, and one of them will eventually try to bully the other one. You can find out more about why hammies fight and how to separate them here.
Syrian hamsters, as well as Chinese Dwarfs, will fight to the death any creature put in their cage, be it another hamster or a rabbit.
So the most humane and comfortable thing to do for your hamster buddies is to keep them separated. I know this might go against many people youve heard say its fine to put them together. Its an added stress, and it builds up in time.
When is a hamster old ?
When looking for answers on the general lifespan of a hamster, youll want to know when your hamster becomes a senior. This is part of the natural order of things, and every hamster will grow old and grey.
Still, that does not mean old age in hamsters is terrible. Some may become blind, some may get an illness quicker. But most lead fairly normal lives up until their end.
A hamster can be considered old when he reaches his second birthday. In the case of a Robo hammie, who can live up to 4 years this threshold can be extended to about 3 years.
While for a Chinese that usually lives for two years, he can be considered old when he-s years old.
But 2 years is the accepted average. Your hamster might not show his true age until very late into his life. For example my teddy is a Syrian male hammy, and he was born in July
Thatd make him about a year and half old as Im writing this. He doesnt yet waddle, or lose his fur, although hes getting close to his second birthday.
But he has lost quite some energy, and sleeps much more than he used to. His fur is a bit silver around his ears, and hes become very picky with his food.
Still, hes the same funny little furball we know. Always curious, always coming up for a treat, still panicked from time to time.
(If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.)
The life cycle of a hamster
From birth to his final days, a hamster pet will always be a wonderful little thing. Right from the moment the hamster is born, he could possibly be in danger.
Even in homes, baby hamsters dont have a % survival rate, because of their mothers most of the time. You see hamster mothers are very skittish and nervous, and will resort to eating their babies if they feel in any way threatened.
She may also do this if the baby hamster is ill or she thinks its too weak to survive to adulthood.
So its best to leave a hamster mother alone for weeks after shes given birth and only just feed her. Absolutely no handling or cleaning or saying hi. More on that in the link above.
Once the hamster has survived his first few weeks, he will be weaned. That usually happens around weeks of age. At this stage it becomes crucial to separate the hamster babies into male and female enclosures.
This is because even so young, they can start to reproduce, and no one wants surprise litters, plus the fact that the incredibly young mother has a very low chance of survival.
You can find out more about how to figure out your hamsters gender here. Once the babies have been separated, they end up at a pet shop or given away to prospective owners.
This should all happen up until the hamsters 12th weeks or life, or his 3rd month. This is when he has become an adult, and will start showing most of his fur marking and personality.
He still has an immense amount of energy, needs to run, climb, hide, and generally investigate every new sound.
Once the hamster has become a senior, around 2 years old, his metabolism will start to slow down. He may become blind, or develop an illness, or maybe just die peacefully in his sleep. Its much like with human seniors, some are worn down and tired in their 50s, some are vibrant and energetic even in their 70s.
What owning a hamster is like
Finally, a hamster is a commitment. They may not live very long lives, like a cat or a dog. But they are still souls that need your attention and care.
Sometimes you will have to schedule things around them, or not be able to leave town until youve found a sitter to look after them.
There will be moments when you wonder why you got yourself a rodent, of all things. Then youll look at his cute fuzzy face when he wakes up, stretching, and know it was the best choice ever.
Honestly when I got my Teddy I knew nothing about hamsters. I knew they had short lives, and were fuzzy. This whole blog is dedicated to folks like me, who had no idea about hammies and want to know everything there is. How to care for them, how to play with them, cages, toys, everything.
You can check out this article to see some pros and cons of owning a hamster here. Youll get a feel for how a hamster changes your life, and understand them better.
Aside from all this, Id only recommend a hamster as a pet to more mellow, quiet people. You see hamsters are very sensitive, and need much patience and gentle handling.
A child for example would not be a good owner for a hamster. Children simply dont have the patience and care for a hamster. A guinea pig, on the other hand, might be better suited for them.
A hamster will bite when handled wrong, try to escape at the drop of a hat, and be endlessly curious. Theyre not exactly low maintenance in that regard.
A word from Teddy
I hope you found what you were looking for here, I know us hammies can be very cute and cuddly, but we dont live the longest lives out there. Still, you can make our stay with you as comfy as possible.
If you want to know more about us hamsters, you should check out the related articles below. Youll find more info on how to care for us and keep us happy too !
Hamster longest living dwarf
How long do hamsters live? The Squeaks and Nibbles team take a look at normal hamster lifespan, and how to help your hamster live as long and full a life as possible.
With good care, pet hamster life expectancy ranges from 1 to years, depending on their breed. The correct diet, a clean living space, plenty of room to move around and exercise in, and low stress, all help hamsters to live longer.
Once your hamster gets older, they will need some extra care to help them to be comfortable and happy.
Let’s take a look at what happens when hamsters get old, why they are so short lived, and which breeds live the longest. And find out how to help our hamsters live as long and happy a life as possible.
Aging and the Average Lifespan of Hamsters
According to current sources, the average hamster lifespan is two to three years for a pet hamster. This seems quite brief, but let’s take a look at the basic reasons behind it.
Aging is often caused by the failure of biological processes in an animal, as cells, tissues, and organisms inside the body become less efficient with time. In smaller mammals, maintenance of these biological processes is less effective than with larger ones.
That’s because their bodily resources must be allocated to reproduction, which means less of those resources are devoted to maintenance.
The life expectancy of a hamster is short, in part because they live in high-risk environments where procreation is very important to a species’ survival.
Wild Hamster Lifespan
Wild hamsters are native to the Middle East, notably Syria — which is how the popular pet variety got its name. They like a warm, dry climate, and have also been found in countries like China, Mongolia, and Greece.
While pet hamsters can be found practically anywhere, wild hamsters have been on the decline. One species is even listed as critically endangered.
Largely due to the dangers of life in the wild, including predators and fluctuations in climate, a wild hamster may have an even shorter lifespan than a pet hamster.
How Long Do Hamsters Live As Pets
Hamster lifespan depends on several variables. In general, however, they do not live more than three years.
The answer to the question, “How long do hamsters live?” differs between the breeds. We’ll get into specifics on individual breeds a little later on in this article.
Many factors can determine how long a hamster lives, but the main reason that they may live longer as pets is because they are cared for and protected from predators.
Hamster Life Cycle
Hamster infants are altricial. This means they are born in an undeveloped state and require care and feeding from their parents. There are usually hamsters in a litter, depending on which breed they are.
Infants remain pale and pink until about days old, then become darker in pigmentation.
The eyes open at two weeks. Infant hamsters are weaned at about weeks.
Female hamsters have been known to cannibalize their young when disturbed. They have also been known to move their young by storing infants in their cheek pouches.
Hamster Life Expectancy — As They Mature
Female hamsters become sexually mature at weeks of age, although Chinese hamsters may become sexually mature as late as 14 weeks.
Male hamsters become sexually mature at weeks.
Once hamsters are sexually mature, you can tell which is which by looking at their rear ends while the hamsters are vertically held with head facing up.
Males have a pointed outline due to the descended testes, which you can see in the upright position. Females have a more rounded rear end.
Hamster Lifespan — As They Age
When hamsters get older, they will slow down their levels of activity. One way of gauging this is by noting how many turns hamsters make on their wheel.
Scientists consider hamsters elderly when the number of turns drops below 10 percent of what they ran as young adults. This usually happens after about 15 months of their life cycle.
However, this varies, of course, depending on the individual hamster.
How To Tell If Your Hamster Is Getting Old
If you didn’t get your hamster as a baby, you might not know how old he is. But there are a few ways to tell when he is aging.
Your hamster will become less active. He may also stop showing interest in treats. His weight and food intake will fluctuate and be less consistent.
You may see that he is losing vision, hearing, and hair. His teeth may also work less well.
If you encounter these symptoms, make sure to move his food, water, and other items closer to where he sleeps. You may wish to remove ramps if they are too steep.
Try to keep his environment quiet, and try not to surprise him when you go to handle him. Dilute pellet food with water to make it less solid.
Factors Affecting Hamster Life Expectancy
When calculating how long hamsters live, we can look at factors influencing their lifespan.
The lifespan of any creature depends on a number of variables. These include the genes they inherit from their parents, environmental factors, chance, and lifestyle.
Some of these factors are out of your control. You may not know the genetic background of your hamster, for example.
Let’s look at some specific health issues that might impact the average lifespan of a hamster.
Hamster Lifespan And Diet
A change in your hamsters’ diet may help increase his lifespan. Scientists have found that hamsters fed either low levels of both fat and protein or high levels of both fat and protein early in life lived longest.
After the first six weeks of life, an increase in fat helped hamsters live longer. This is unusual in animals, but may be because hamsters have a foregut that modifies fat before it is absorbed in the gut.
Hamster diets may include percent fat from high-energy foods like peanuts and sunflower seeds.
Additionally, research shows that increased intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
They can get omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from fruits, grains, vegetables, lean cuts of meat, and eggs.
Hamster Lifespan And Digestive Problems
These animals can be prone to digestive issues, causing diarrhea and wet tail. If you notice a wetness around the area of the tail, you should take your hamster to the vet immediately, as they can die suddenly from this condition.
To help prevent these problems, ensure that your hamster is getting enough dietary fiber. Fiber has been shown to help regulate lipids in hamsters, lowering their chances of heart disease.
Fiber also helps reduce inflammation, controls the metabolism, and modulates levels of angiogenic proteins that stabilize the proliferation of new blood cells.
Hamsters get dietary fiber from fruits, vegetables, and oats. However, high levels of calcium, vitamin D, and protein (above 20 percent) have led to organ injuries in hamsters. So balance is needed.
Increasing Your Hamster’s Lifespan
As we’ve seen, there are many ways to increase hamster life expectancy on an individual basis. Follow the suggestions above for a balanced diet.
Make sure your hamster gets fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Try for at least five percent dietary fat and 15 percent protein.
Buy a high quality hamster food to make sure that they have a complete diet.
Restricted food access has also helped hamsters live longer.
Other Ways To Extend Hamster Lifespan
You can extend the average lifespan of a hamster by giving your pet excellent care, housing it properly, and doing what you can to avoid sickness.
Try to provide your hamsters with stress-free living conditions. This reduces the risk that they will become ill.
Visit a veterinarian regularly. Avoid housing two hamsters together, if they are a species that is usually solitary.
Allow them to have different ways of exercising. Give them enough space to move freely. And be mindful of their safety. Avoid plastic toys.
Make sure their enclosures are clean. Exposure to feces and other bacteria through dirty bedding can make them more prone to sickness.
Hamsters And Internal Rhythms
One more important thing to enhance your hamster’s lifespan: do not disrupt your hamsters’ circadian clocks.
Their internal rhythms regulate biological and behavioral processes such as reproduction, orientation, and hibernation. Changes in their circadian rhythms can indicate aging and illness.
Studies have shown that proper regulation of circadian rhythms is a contributing factor in longevity.
Hamsters are mostly crepuscular or nocturnal in captivity. If they are crepuscular, they are most active at dawn and dusk.
Nocturnal hamsters are active at night. Because of that, you might be tempted to change their light-dark cycles to more closely match your schedule. But don’t!
Dwarf Hamster Lifespan
Dwarf hamsters have an even shorter lifespan than some other breeds.
On average, Siberian dwarf hamsters live between 18 months-2 years in captivity.
How Long Do Russian Dwarf Hamsters Live
There are two types of Russian dwarf hamster Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamster and Russian Winter White dwarf hamster.
For each variety, Russian dwarf hamster lifespan is roughly 16 months 2 years.
How Long Do Chinese Dwarf Hamsters Live
Chinese dwarf hamsters are also known as striped hamsters, Chinese striped hamsters, striped dwarf hamsters, or Chinese hamsters.
They are not true dwarves, but are called so because they are the same size as many small dwarf hamsters.
Chinese dwarf hamster lifespan is years.
How Long Do Robo Hamsters Live
Roborovski hamsters are also known as Robo dwarf hamsters or Roborovski dwarf hamsters.
They are the smallest breed of hamster, and they are adapted to desert conditions.
They generally live a little longer than other dwarf varieties. Roborovski dwarf hamster lifespan is years.
Syrian Hamster Lifespan
Syrian hamsters are also known as golden hamsters or teddy bear hamsters. They’re one of the most popular breeds. How long do Syrian hamsters live?
The Syrian hamster lifespan is about years. Males seem to outlive females on average, which is unusual in the animal world.
The longest-living scientifically documented Syrian hamster lived years.
Oldest Living Hamster
You will get different answers to this question depending on where you look.
The Guinness Book of World Records claims that a hamster in the U.K. lived for years. There is no mention of what kind of hamster it is.
However, data scientifically gathered from zoo collections puts the maximum lifespan of a striped dwarf hamster at years. The same data claims that the longest living Syrian, or golden, hamster lived years.
If you do an Internet search, you will find anecdotes from many people claiming their hamsters are living longer than the research shows. Some claim that the oldest Syrian hamster on record actually lived to years.
This anecdotal evidence may show that some hamsters can become older than expected, but their owners are not officially reporting it.
Hamster Lifespan Summary
The bad news is, you will most likely have the company of your hamster for just a few short years.
The good news is, you can help extend your hamster’s life expectancy further if you provide them high-quality care and meet their dietary and environmental needs.
How Old Is Your Hamster
Do you have a hamster? Let us know how old they are in the comments below!
References and Further Reading
- Miedel, E., VMD; Hankenson, F.C., DVM. “Biology and Diseases of Hamsters.” Laboratory Animal Medicine,
- Musser, G. ”Hamster,” Encyclopedia Britannica
- AnAge: The Animal Aging and Longevity Database ().
- Birt, D. F. (), “Nutritional Effects on the Lifespan of Syrian Hamsters,” AGE, Vol. 5.
- “Hamsters,” Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.
- Fiaccavento, R., et al (), “α-Linolenic acid-enriched diet prevents myocardial damage and expands longevity in cardiomyopathic hamsters,” The American Journal of Pathology, Vol. 6.
- Gattermann, et al (), “Golden hamsters are nocturnal in captivity but diurnal in nature,” Biology Letters, Vol. 4 (3).
Girling, S. J. (), “Basic Small Mammal Anatomy and Physiology,” Veterinary Nursing of Exotic Pets, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons.
- Holliday, R. “Understanding aging,” Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, Vol. ().
Hung, S., et al (), “Dietary fiber improves lipid homeostasis and modulates adipocytokines in hamsters,” Journal of Diabetes, Vol. 1.
Hurd, M. W. and Ralph, M. R. (), “The significance of circadian organization for longevity in the golden hamster,” Journal of Biological Rhythms, Vol. 13 (5).
Kirkman, H and Yau, P. K. S.(), “Longevity of male and female, intact and gonadectomized, untreated and hormone-treated, neoplastic and non-neoplastic syrian hamsters,” Developmental Dynamics, Vol. (2).
- Kirkwood, T. B. L., et al (). “Evolution, stress, and longevity,” Journal of Anatomy, Vol.
- Pitts, J. (), “Dwarf hamsters – how long do they live,” Health Guidance.
- Rabehl, N. (), “Basic data for feeding hamsters,” Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, Vol
- Weigl, R. (), Longevity of mammals in captivity, E. Schweizerbart’sche.
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