When choosing a pet, it is important to know how long you can expect it to live. The lifespan of hamsters is an interesting subject as many factors that can affect its lifespan and there are steps you can take to keep your hamster healthy and alive for as long as possible. Here is an overview of the lifespan of hamsters.
The Average Lifespan of Hamsters
Hamsters can live between 1.5 and 3.5 years, depending on many factors. However, the average life expectancy of hamsters is 2.5 years.
The Longest Living Hamster on Record
According to the Guinness World Record Book, the oldest hamster in the world lived to the age of 4.5 years. Its owner was Karen Smeaton from Tyne & Wear in the UK. There are some online sources that claim that the oldest hamster lived to seven years old. While this is possible, these claims are not backed up with any further information or evidence to support them.
What Factors Affect the Lifespan of a Hamster
The lifespan of hamsters can vary greatly and there are several factors that can affect their lifespan. These are as follows:
- Wild hamsters- The average lifespan of a wild hamster is much less than that of a domestic hamster. This is because hamsters have lots of predators in the wild and their life is cut short when they are eaten as prey.
- Breed- Each of the different hamster breeds has a different life expectancy. This varies significantly from one breed to the next.
- General Health- How long a hamster lives depends on its general health. The health of a hamster is affected by its diet, the care it receives, its living environment, and any underlying genetic conditions.
- Care- If a hamster is now well looked after by its owner, it will have a shorter life expectancy. A hamster that is well cared for will usually live for longer.
Lifespan by Different Breeds
Not all hamsters have the same life expectancy as how long a hamster lives depends on its breed. The following is the life expectancy of some of the most common breeds of hamsters.
- Golden/ Syrian- The most commonly kept hamster breed, this breed usually lives for between 2 and 2.5 years.
- Djungarian- Also known as the white winter Russian dwarf hamster, this breed lives for only 1.5 to 2 years.
- Campbell’s- On average, a Campbell’s dwarf hamster will live for two years.
- Chinese- Chinese hamsters have one of the shortest life expectancies as they live for between 1.5 and 2 years.
- Roborovski- Roborovski dwarf hamsters are one of the longest living breeds of hamster as they live between 3 and 3.5 years.
A Few Tips to Keep Your Hamster Healthy
To keep your hamster alive for as long as possible, you must make sure that your hamster is healthy. There are several steps you can take to promote the health of your pet. Using the following tips will help you to keep your hamster healthy.
- Diet- Giving your hamster a healthy and balanced diet is paramount to its health. Most of its diet should come from hamster food mix or pellets. You can also give occasional treats of some fruits, vegetables, and meats. Always check before giving your hamster a treat if it is safe to do so as some foods can cause illness or even death. Your hamster also needs a fresh supply of water to stay hydrated and this is an important aspect of their health.
- Cleaning- The environment where your hamster lives has a huge impact on their health and life expectancy. Therefore, it is vital that you keep their habitat clean. This involves changing soiled bedding daily and all bedding weekly. You should also wash their habitat once a month and remove any moldy food from their cage.
- Safety- Injury is a major cause of hamsters dying young. You should make sure that your hamster is living in a habitat that is safe for hamsters. For example, avoid cages with big wire spacings where a hamster can become trapped or high levels from which they could fall.
The lifespan of hamsters varies from breed to the next with domestic hamsters having longer life expectancies than wild hamsters. It also depends on many other factors, including care and general health. If you take good care of your hamster, keep it clean, and feed it a healthy and balanced diet, you improve the chances of your hamster reaching its maximum life expectancy.