Hamster Lifespan: How long do hamsters live?

Why is it important to find out how long hamsters live before buying one? Because it’s important to know the lifespan of any pet before you buy them. It tells you how long you’ll need to care for them.

In most cases, your pet will be completely reliant on you for its care. You therefore need to know how long you are committing to looking after your pet and be absolutely sure that you’re happy to take on that responsibility.

Of course, this applies to all pets and is as true for hamsters as it is for cats, dogs or any other animal you choose to keep.

So, it’s important to find out: how long do hamsters live?

The average hamster lifespan: How long do hamsters live?

Like all other animals, there is no fixed amount of time that a hamster will live for.

Many different factors affect hamster lifespan and how long your own pet hamster lives will depend on these factors.

That said, it is possible to give a rough idea of how long your hamster is likely to live, based on the average hamster lifespan.

On average, a hamster will live for around 2 to 2.5 years.

Of course, this is just an average. Some hamsters will live for this amount of time, some hamsters will live for longer, and some hamsters will, unfortunately, have shorter lives.

The longest hamster lived for 4.5 years, according to Guinness World Records.

(Related article: The life cycle of a hamster)

What factors affect how long hamsters live?

Just some of the factors that affect how long a hamster will live are:

  • Species
  • Genetics
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Living environment
  • Illness
  • Quality of care

The first two factors are beyond your control. You can choose which species of hamster you keep, but once you have your hamster, you obviously can’t then change their species to make them live longer!

Genetics are also beyond your control. Some hamsters will have inherited genes from their parent and grandparents that help them to live a long life, while other hamsters will have inherited genes that lead to a shorter lifespan. Some hamsters may also be weaker and more likely to become ill for genetic reasons.

Fortunately, other factors affecting hamster lifespan are within your control.

You can help your hamster live longer by:

  • Feeding them a healthy diet
  • Encouraging them to exercise
  • Giving them a nice, clean home – If you can afford it, we recommend investing in a spacious and high quality hamster cage, like these ones
  • Looking out for signs of illness and treating any problems quickly and effectively
  • Generally taking good care of them and keeping them healthy and happy

Doing this won’t change the fact that some hamster species generally live shorter lives, or make up for poor genes, but it will give your hamster the best chance of living to its full potential.

Buy food to add to you hamster’s diet:

How long do hamster live depending on their species?

We’ve already mentioned that some hamster species live longer than others, so you’re probably wondering which type of hamster has the longest lifespan!

On average, a hamster will live for around 2.5 years. However, the lifespan varies depending on the type of hamster and ranges from 1.5 to 3.5 years.

From longest to shortest, the following are the average lifespans of the five most popular hamster species:

Roborovski Hamster: 3 to 3.5 years
Syrian Hamster: 2 to 2.5 years
Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster: 2 years
Chinese Hamster: 1.5 to 2 years
Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster: 1.5 to 2 years

As explained above, these are just averages. It is of course possible for a Roborovski hamster to only live for 1.5 years, or for a Chinese hamster to live for over 3 years. Generally speaking though, the above lifespans should give you a good idea of what to expect when choosing which type of hamster to keep.

Still want to know more? Find out more about the hamster life cycle.

How long has your hamster lived?

Have you had a hamster live for a particularly long time? We’d love to hear about it!

Add a comment below to let us know.