How Long do Hamsters Live?
Table of Contents
A hamster will generally live for about two to three years which is a lot shorter than other small household pets. A hamster that is only two years old is already considered a grandparent in hamster age! Just remember, you can significantly prolong your hamster’s life expectancy through good care and a healthy diet.
It is important to know the lifespan of a hamster to understand what you are getting into. Hamster care requires a significant time commitment so you want to prepare for the unknown. Read on to learn more about the lifespan of a hamster and what you can do to improve your hamster’s life expectancy.
Hamster Life Span by Species
The life expectancy of a hamster can vary among the different domestic breeds. The table below displays information on the average lifespan of a hamster by their species. We hope you can take this information into consideration when selecting your hamster.
|Species||Picture||Size||Hamster Life Span|
|Roborovski Dwarf Hamster||1.5" to 2"||3 to 3.5 years|
|Syrian (Golden Hamster) Hamster||4" to 7"||2 to 2.5 years|
|Dwarf Winter White Russian Hamster||3.5" to 4"||2 years|
|Dwarf Campbell Russian Hamster||~ 4"||2 years|
|Chinese Hamster||~ 4"||1.5 to 2 years|
As you can see, the Roborovski Dwarf Hamster has the highest average life span of up to 3.5 years. On the other hand, the Chinese Hamster has the shortest average life span at 1.5 years. Just remember that these averages are general guidelines and it’s entirely possible for your hamster’s life expectancy to exceed this.
We will soon discuss best practices on keeping your hamster healthy so that they can live a long and fulfilling life!
How can you increase the lifespan of a hamster?
Providing a safe environment and a healthy hamster diet can go a long way in prolonging your hamster’s life span. These are two things that are directly under your control so always keep them in mind when dealing with your hamster.
Safe Hamster Environment
Hamsters are fragile creatures so you should always remember to handle them with care. Here are some tips to keep your hamster safe:
Keep an eye out on your hamster’s bedding
Paper-based bedding that is soft and absorbent is generally the best type to use for your hamster’s bedding. You want to avoid cedar and pine shavings because they can cause injury to your pet. Wooden shavings can splinter into sharp pieces which cut your poor hamster and may lead to an infection. These shavings can also cause skin irritation, respiratory irritation, and eye irritation.
Scented bedding is another type of hamster bedding you want to avoid. Hamsters have bad eyesight and primarily rely on their sense of smell to determine where to go. Scented bedding can confuse and disorient your pet as the aromas fill up the entire cage. There are also a lot of chemicals in scented bedding (for the smell) that are detrimental to your hamster’s health.
Use the right type of hamster wheel
Hamsters need to exercise just like we do to stay healthy and live longer. You should consider increasing your hamster’s activity level by getting them a hamster wheel.
Many hamster owners get excited and go on a shopping spree to bling out their hamster cages when they first get their pet. However, they may unknowingly place hazards into their hamster cage which can injure their pet. We want you to avoid these mistakes so that your pet hamster does not get hurt.
If you have a hamster wheel made of wire mesh, you should take it out now! A lot of hamsters break their leg when they use a wire mesh wheel because their feet can stuck in the gaps. The lifespan of an injured hamster is drastically reduced so you do not want this happening to your hamster. Get a solid-surface hamster wheel instead to avoid injuring your hamster.
Wash your hands before playing with your hamster
Did you know that hamsters can catch a cold from humans? The germs from your hand can easily transfer to your hamster when you hold them. This is a lot more dangerous when you are sick. The common cold, which is quite harmless to humans, can turn into a respiratory infection for your hamster which may prove fatal. Remember to consistently wash your hand when caring for your hamster!
Healthy Hamster Diet
You can increase the lifespan of a hamster by a long time through a healthy diet. A healthy hamster diet is similar to what your pet would eat in the wild. On top of the standard seed and pellet mixes, you can feed them fresh fruits and vegetables (don’t forget to wash first before feeding!) on a daily basis to keep them healthy and in shape.
Fresh vegetables that you can feed your hamster include:
- Romaine Lettuce
- Other Greens
Fresh fruits that you can feed your hamster include:
Do not feed oranges or other citrus fruits to your hamster as it will give them a stomachache or even diarrhea. You do not want to feed your hamster highly acidic foods as their stomach cannot endure it like we can.
Some other foods that you can feed your hamster include sunflower seeds and whole grain breads. Just remember to provide your pet with a variety of foods to keep their diet balanced and you will be able to increase your hamster’s life expectancy!
We hope you have learned about how long a hamster lives! Please comment below if you have any questions on the life expectancy of a hamster. We would also love to hear about how long your hamster has lived and any tips you have for increasing their life span!
- UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Hamster Care Sheet. Retrieved from: vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vmth/local_resources/pdfs/cape/Hamster_Care_Sheet.pdf
- Purdue University. Care of Hamsters. Retrieved from: vet.purdue.edu/vth/sacp/documents/hamsters.pdf