Before buying any pet, it is important to consider how long they are likely to live.
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 life span
Like all other animals, there is no fixed amount of time that a hamster will live for.
Many different factors affect hamster life span 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 life span.
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.
(Related article: The life cycle of a hamster)
What factors affect hamster life span?
Just some of the factors that affect how long a hamster will live are:
- Living environment
- 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 shorter life spans. Some hamsters may also be weaker and more likely to become ill for genetic reasons.
Fortunately, other factors affecting hamster life span 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
- 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.
How long do different species of hamster live?
We’ve already mentioned that some hamster species live longer than others, so you’re probably wondering which type of hamster has the longest life span!
On average, a hamster will live for around 2 to 2.5 years. However, the life span 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 life spans 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 life spans 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.