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When it comes to getting a hamster one of the key things we want to know is how long we will have to spend with them. We want to spend as much time as possible with our furry friends and we also want to understand how to prolong their life for as long as possible! This is why so many people ask ‘what is the average hamster lifespan’. People want to know the answer to this for all of their species such as syrian, robo, winter white, Russian dwarf, and Chinese dwarf hamsters. We will be answering all of these below.

In this post, we’ll be giving you the facts on how long hamsters live. We will also be looking at what impacts your hamster’s lifespan and how to improve their lives. Enjoy!

How long do hamsters live?

The length of your hamster’s precious life really depends on their breed! On average though, your hamster should live for around 1-3 years. This heavily depends on their breed, as well as other factors which you can control. We know that hamsters can outlive this prediction though, some can even live up to 5 years old! You should focus on giving them the best life possible.

Syrian Hamster Lifespan

A syrian hamster’s lifespan in captivity is around 2-3 years. Syrian hamsters are generally the most long-lived hamster, this is primarily due to their size. However, this lifespan can vary dramatically. Later on, we will be looking at what can affect your hamster’s lifespan and what actions you can take to increase it.

Robo Hamster Lifespan

A robo hamster, also known as a Roborovski hamster, usually lives for around 2-3 years as well. This is similar to a Syrian hamster. This can still vary though with some robo hamsters living all the way to 5 years old. If you keep your hamster well looked after, they can live a long life!

Winter White Dwarf Hamster Lifespan

Winter white dwarf hamsters are a type of dwarf hamster. These are some of the smallest of hamsters, which sadly means that their life expectancy is reduced. Winter white dwarf hamsters can live from 1-3 years, as you can see this is slightly reduced from other hamsters.

Russian Dwarf Hamster Lifespan

Russian Dwarf Hamsters are another tiny type of dwarf hamster! They are tiny, and therefore have a slightly lower life expectancy. You can expect them to live for 1-3 years.

Chinese Dwarf Hamster Lifespan

Chinese dwarfs hamsters are quite rare, and not many people have them. However, it is still important that you know their life expectancy. Their lifespan is between 1.5-3 years. This is slightly less than the Robo and Syrian hamster due to their relative size.

How long do hamsters live in the wild?

Hamsters usually live much shorter lives in the wild. There are a few reasons for this, but the primary factor is that they have nobody to look after them. Hamsters in the wild have to fend for themselves and therefore face a lot of threats that our furry friends wouldn’t dream of with us!

Hamsters in the wild have to face off predators, increased illness, other hamsters, and a potential lack of food. All these factors combined means that a hamster lives a much longer life in captivity.

What impacts a hamster’s life expectancy?

There are many things that impact your hamster’s life expectancy. One of these, their breed, we have already looked at. But there are so many factors that can seriously influence your furry friend’s lifespan which you can impact. You may be asking how to make your hamster live longer. If you want to spend as much time with your hamster as possible, you should make sure that these factors are looked at!


You need to make sure that your hamster has a decent amount of exercise. Hamsters are extremely active animals, in the wild they run for miles every single day! You should therefore try to replicate this as much as possible when you are looking around them. Some of the things you can do to increase your hamster’s exercise include adding an appropriately sized wheel, and to constantly take them out of the cage for exercise.

However, you should avoid putting them in a ball. Hamster balls are not good for your hamster’s welfare and it can often distress them. Get a playpen instead, it gives them even more freedom!


Your hamster cage needs to be full of enrichment for your hamster. This is very important for your hamster’s lifespan. Enrichment means anything that can keep your hamster occupied, and will avoid them being stressed. A stressed hamster can incur problematic illnesses in your furry friend. This can result in their lifespan drastically reducing. Some exciting things that you can put in your hamster cage for enrichment includes.


Chews are vital to give your hamster enrichment. They love to chew things around the cage, and providing items that they can chew on is important to ensure that they are not stressed. You should ensure that they have some great chews all around the cage, they will love this and it will also help them to fix their teeth.

Your hamster’s teeth need a lot of care, and they need to chew on things to stop them growing. Putting in chews is a safe and easy way to allow this to happen.


Treats are a great way to make sure that your hamster is happy. You should always make sure that they are healthy and appropriate for your furry friend! Treats will give your hamster a change from their usual hamster mix, and vegetables can also give them a healthy amount of nutrients at the same time. It will also do the same thing as chews as it will give them an opportunity to stop their teeth growing.

We absolutely recommend giving your hamster fruit, nuts, and vegetables as a small addition to their usual diet. They will love it, and should improve their lifespan!


To stop your hamster getting stressed, it is vital that they have lots of hideouts to hide in. Hamsters love having hideouts, and they will often burrow in the cage to make sure that they have somewhere to hide. You can help out your hamster by providing hideouts for them!

The best hideouts are made out of natural elements. You can get edible hideouts made out of hay and straw, or you could get plastic hideouts. You should always make sure that you wash the plastic hideouts though! They can get smelly fast and could pose a health risk for your furry friend.


Your hamster’s diet is probably the most important thing to look at when it comes to a hamster’s lifespan. It’s just the same for humans, a bad diet will always reduce our lifespan! A hamster’s diet is exactly the same! Your hamster needs a mix of nutrients and vitamins in order to maintain a healthy diet. Pet store hamster food is the main type of food that you should feed your hamster, with treats being given occasionally. There are generally two types of hamster food.


Hamster pellets are probably the most common hamster food that you will find in a pet store. These will be little pellets that contain all of the daily nutrients and vitamins that your hamster needs. Your hamster will love it!

The primary benefit of this type of food is that your hamster cannot be picky as they are all the same. This means that they are guaranteed to get a good balance of nutrients throughout their life. However, they won’t have variety and it can be less exciting for them to eat.


The other type of food that your hamster can be given is a hamster mix. This is a mix of nutritious seeds and nuts that are mixed together and sold by pet stores! There’s so many types of seeds and nuts in this mix, some even have up to 40 different components!

Some of the benefits of a hamster mix is that it encourages your hamster to forage. Hamsters love to forage so encouraging this behaviour is fantastic to stop your hamster from being stressed. However, your hamster may pick their favourite seeds to eat. This could cause a nutritional imbalance. Still though, it is a great choice for your hamster!

Living Environment

Your hamster’s living environment is absolutely vital for your furry friend’s wellbeing, and therefore their lifespan. Therefore you should put your hamster’s well-being first if you want to spend as much time with them as possible. The good news is that it is very easy to make sure that your hamster’s cage is perfect for their individual needs. You should be looking at their wheel size, cage size, and if they are living by themselves or others.


Your hamster’s wheel is probably one of the most important things about their cage. They spend so much time on it, so you need to make sure that your wheel is absolutely perfect for your furry friend.

The size of the wheel depends on the size of your hamster, or their breed. You should make sure to observe the following wheel rules:

  • Syrian hamsters need a 8-inch wheel at least, this is due to their relative size.
  • Robo hamsters should only be getting 8-inch wheels.
  • Dwarf hamsters can do with 6-inch wheels, this is because they are smaller!

Not getting the proper wheel could cause serious problems for your hamster. A wheel that is too small can cause your hamster’s back to bend, and this can cause them pain. We have an article on that here.

Solo or with others.

When it comes to your hamster’s health, and therefore a hamster’s lifespan, figuring out if you should put your hamster by themselves or with others is extremely important. Our blog recommends that you only house hamsters by themselves unless you are an extremely experienced hamster owner. Some of the problems that can come with housing your hamster with others can include:

  • Pregnancy – Inexperienced hamster owners, and even some pet stores, can often sex hamsters incorrectly. This can lead to pregnancy.
  • Fighting – Hamsters can be very vicious towards each other. Hamsters that are fighting can even kill the other one.
  • Stress – Hamsters need their own space, and housing hamsters together can cause a lot of stress. This can manifest in aggression, or general unfriendlyness.

Cage Size.

Your hamster’s cage size needs to be appropriate if you want to correctly protect their health. A hamster’s cage is their only home, and it, therefore, needs to be absolutely perfect for them. We wouldn’t like it if our living place was small and dirty, and neither would your hamster.

Hamster cages should be around 450 square inches in size. However, bigger is always better. You should try to make your hamster cage as big as possible as your hamster will love to run around it. You should ensure that your hamster’s cage has unbroken floor space so that they have lots of space to explore.

Having a smaller cage can result in many health problems for your hamster. It will lead to them being stressed, can lead to illness, and will mean that they cannot have a fully happy life. The size of your hamster’s cage is so important!

Veterinary care

If you want your hamster to be healthy, then you need to be able to access vet care if and when it is needed. Hamsters do need vet care, and although it is a lot cheaper than dog or cat care, you will still be expected to pay for it. There are quite a few conditions that your hamster could have, and you can check out some of the illnesses that hamsters can gain here. We will go through two of the most likely illnesses and explain what they are, and how the vet can help.


Bumblefoot, also known as pododermatitis, is where your hamster’s foot becomes damaged and grows sores. This is usually caused by something improper in the cage that causes injury to your furry friend’s foot. Your hamster’s foot can become infected and inflamed. This can cause a lot of pain for your hamster which is one of the reasons why it could lower its lifespan.

You can prevent bumblefoot by ensuring that your hamster is not obese, removing any wired wheels, and ensuring that your hamster doesn’t have a wire floor. You should also clean your hamster’s cage regularly. If your hamster has bumblefoot, the best solution is to take them to the vet as they will be able to treat your hamster.

Wet Tail

Wet tail is a serious disease that can kill your hamster in certain circumstances. It is caused by stress, and you will often see hamsters get wet tail in their first few weeks in their new home. This is because it can be a very stressful experience for a hamster and being in improper conditions can make this worse for them.

The primary symptom of wet tail is, well, a wet tail. This is diarrhoea, and will cause a foul odour. They may also not eat much, sleep a lot, and be more likely to bite you.

You can prevent wet tail by ensuring that your hamster’s cage and living environment is perfect for them. This will help to avoid stress and should prevent it from happening. If it does happen, you should take your hamster to the vet who will advise on the next steps to make sure that your hamster stays safe.

Why do hamsters have a short lifespan?

We have learned about what the average hamster lifespan is, and some of the factors that affect it. It is a sad article because it is upsetting that our furry friends are with us for such a short amount of time. You may be asking yourself why hamsters die young. Although hamsters live longer than some other animals, such as mice and gerbils, and it is still quite sad to see their lifespan.

But why do they live this long? Why do hamsters die so fast? That’s what we will be going into now. Unfortunately you cannot change these factors, it’s simply innate within them. But it can help to understand why we have such a short amount of time with our friends.

Their size!

Your hamster’s size is one of the reasons why they may not live for long. Science tells us that bigger animals are much more likely to live for a longer period. Smaller animals are much more likely to die by accident, or due to problems with their digestive system as well. A smaller hamster has a weaker digestive system which can cause issues. They are also weaker, and are more likely to succumb to illnesses such as cancer.

This could be one of the reasons why Syrian hamsters are known to live longer than dwarf hamsters, although we don’t really know the real reason for this. Either way, your hamster’s size is a huge disadvantage for it.

They reach maturity quickly.

Another key reason why hamsters have such a short lifespan is that they reach maturity so quickly. This causes problems for a hamster’s lifespan. Hamsters reach maturity after 10 weeks. The reason for this is their evolution. Hamsters died so quickly in the wild which means that they would have to have lots of children, very quickly, in order to make up for that.

Unfortunately, this also means that they grow old very quickly as well. Hamsters are seen as ‘old’ after around 2 years, and after that, they can suffer from health problems. Just another reason to ensure that time with your hamster is as special as possible!.

Their heart beats extremely fast.

The lifespan of an animal can often be predicted by how fast their heart beats. Animals with a long life, such as elephants, have quite a slow heartbeat. Hamsters, on the other hand, have a fairly fast heartbeat. This means that they are likely to live very short lives.

Animals get a certain amount of heartbeats, on average, for their life. There is nothing you can do about this, except give them a happy life and make them as satisfied with their life as possible!

How to tell if your hamster is getting old?

As your hamster gets older, you may want to look for signs that they are becoming elderly. This can be quite important. It can be good to figure out when they are getting old as it means that you can begin searching for signs of illness so that you can quickly take action to help them get healthy again. This is vital for your hamster’s lifespan. Hamsters often give telltale signs as to when they are beginning to reach the end of their lives.

The three main signs is their lethargy, illness, and that their appearance may change. You can find more details below.

They may start getting lethargic.

Your hamster is a bundle of energy when you first get them as a baby! They will run around the cage, charge on their wheel all day, and make a lot of nuisance! But it isn’t like that all the way through their life. Your hamster will eventually get older and should become a lot lazier. Your furry friend will likely rest a lot more, and won’t spend as much time running around their cage. This is a sign that a hamster’s lifespan is getting shorter.

They may also eat and drink less, but you should always ensure that they are eating and drinking. If they aren’t, consider taking them to the vets. They may be older, but you will still have plenty of time with them if you treat them correctly.


Your hamster may become more susceptible to illness as they get older. Just like with humans, older hamsters have a greater risk of many illnesses that can cut short their lifespan. Illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and infections are much more commoner in older hamsters. This means that you have to be a lot more careful, and constantly monitor their health to make sure that they are safe.

This doesn’t mean that young hamsters are immune from illness though. You should not think that your hamster is safe just because they are young, illness can tragically take the life of any hamster of any age. You should always be careful.

Their appearance will change.

Your hamster’s appearance is likely to change over time. Your young hamster will be so youthful, and also so tiny! You can really notice when you have a baby hamster due to its appearance. This appearance will change as they get older though, and these changes can happen quite quickly. This means that your hamster’s appearance is a great way of tracking how old they are getting and to see how far they are through their lifespan.

Some signs of an elderly hamster include:

  • Losing weight – They are likely to become thinner.
  • Fur loss – Their fur may become a lot more patchy.
  • Teeth and nail problems – It may be harder for your hamster to manage their appearance.

Conclusion – What is the average hamster lifespan?

This has been a bumper article! We have tried to create a mega-guide on everything to do with your hamster’s lifespan, how to lengthen it, and the signs that they are getting older. So, what is the average hamster lifespan? Around 2-3 years on average, although it depends on the hamster. You have to remember that your hamster will get old, and there’s nothing you can do about that. However, you can ensure that they have a happy and satisfying life!

Have we missed anything? Do you have any questions that need answered? Let us know in the comments!

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