So, perhaps you are looking into buying a hamster. Or, maybe you already own one, and you are curious about how long you will have your fuzzy friend.
This article will teach you about the average lifespan of a hamster, ideas of how to care for your little friend to extend his life, and how you can help them out as they get older.
So, how long do hamsters live? Let's find out!
How Long Do Hamsters Live as A Pet?
The five main species of hamsters domesticated as pets are Russians, Syrians, Winter Whites, Chinese, and Robo hamsters. All of these species live for about two to three years.
Once the rodent hits a year and a half, they are considered senior citizens in the world of hamsters. Because every hamster is different, they will act differently at that age.
Some hams might be running around as if they were brought home yesterday; others could be taking things slowly as people in old age tend to do.
Although the hamster life span is about the same with all breeds, many aspects of the life of an individual pet can affect how long a hamster lives.
Thankfully, there are some ways you can help your hamster extend his or her life, and in turn, the fun you have with your pet.
Which Factors Affect How Long Hamsters Live?
- Quality of life and care
- Environment (e.g., cage)
- Activity level
How Can I Make My Hamster Live Longer?
Offer nutritious food
A proper diet with all the essential vitamins and nutrients will help keep your hamster healthy and ensure a long and happy life. As a responsible pet parent, your job is to ensure the food you offer your pet is high-quality and suitable for hamsters.
You can provide your hammy with many fruits and veggies, but the basis of a balanced hamster diet is always good and healthful hamster food.
Keep the Bedding Clean
Part of your daily to-do list should be cleaning the bedding of your hamster. It is a simple task that will really help your hamster live a good, long life. Also, make sure that you buy the right bedding that is safe and suitable for your hammy.
Avoid cedar and pine and go for paper-based, scent-free bedding instead. Aspen is fine, but low-quality wood shavings can lead an animal to feel irritation on their skin, eyes, and in their respiratory system. Read more about how to choose safe bedding for your hamster.
Keep Your Hands Clean
Did you know hamsters can catch a cold from human beings? It's true! One of the best things you can do for your hamster is to keep your hands clean when caring for them. The common cold for you could lead to respiratory infection in a hamster.
So, whether you are sick or not, keep those hands washed and make sure to use soap and water, washing for at least 20 seconds. Your hands go everywhere during the day, and we touch many surfaces. Keep them clean.
Keep the Cage Injury-Free
You did an excellent job picking out your hamster's toys; you know they will be enriched and happy. But are they really safe? If you have a wire wheel, for instance, get rid of it.
Hamsters can break legs and feet if they get caught in the spokes. Opt for a solid wheel instead. Make sure that long-hair hamsters get their fur trimmed up, so they don't get caught on things in the cage. To keep your pet safe in their home, you just need to know a few key things about choosing a cage for your hamster.
Don't Keep Them Together
Hamsters don't need little buddies to be happy. Syrians are known to fight to the death if they see one another, and other species definitely fight one another. Keep the hamster feeling stress-free and happy by just having one per enclosure.
How To Look After Your Hamster as They Get Older?
There are a few things to keep in mind as your hamster gets older:
- Their eyesight and hearing get less effective.
- Their bones get weaker, and they run the risk of developing arthritis.
- They have a weaker immune system and are thus at a greater risk for contracting illnesses or infections.
- Food gets harder for them to digest.
So, what is a hamster owner to do with an older hammy?
Here are some ways to keep your aging hamster happy:
1. Keep the Cage Clean. Older hamsters are more prone to developing illnesses and infections. As a result, you should take extra steps to keep the cage clean and free of debris, fecal matter, urine, and uneaten food.
2. Alter Their Diet If Needed. In some cases, older hamsters have weaker teeth than younger ones. Take a look at the incisors of the hamster. If they are aligned, you can keep on feeding your hamster the same diet you are used to. If incisors are not aligned, malocclusion could be the culprit. It happens when a hamster's teeth grow too long.
Hamsters' jaws may also become locked. The hamster may not be able to open their mouth entirely, and this prevents the hamster from eating. Hamsters also tend to drink more as they age, so make sure plenty of fresh water is available.
3. Set Up the Cage, So It Is Accessible. Just like some older humans prefer single-story homes, so they don't have to climb stairs, hamsters' cages should be set up so they can move around with ease. Make sure your older hamster doesn't have to exert a huge amount of effort in order to reach his food, water, toys, or other cage accessories.
Remember, their joints aren't what they used to be! Even after all this, make sure you keep the wheel inside. Hamsters still like to get exercise, even though it will likely be at a slower pace compared to their younger years.
How Old Is a Hamster in Human Years?
To answer this question, we have to take a look at what the average lifespan of a human being is. According to the CDC, the USA life expectancy for a human being is 78.6 years old. When we divide 78.6 by three, as three years is the average life of a hamster, we get 26.2.
So, one hamster year is equivalent to 26 human years!
What would life look like for a hamster if he was human? In your first year, your hamster- if he was a human- goes to school, learns to drive a car, then college or university, then perhaps gets married and buys a home.
Then, in the second year, he becomes a parent, pays off his home, and enjoys time with his children while also going to work.
In the third year, your hamster is a happy retiree with grandkids and the knowledge he lived a full and happy life.
Now you know the average lifespan of a hamster and ways to keep them living longer. Best of luck, and enjoy your time with your hamster!