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How Long Do Dwarf Hamsters Live? (Life Expectancy & More)

Hamster adoption is frequent because they make great pets. They’ll be fun to look after and enjoyable to watch run around the room in their hamster ball, but how long do dwarf hamsters live?

How long do dwarf hamsters live? [1] Different dwarf hamster breeds live for different lengths. The average lifespan of a pet dwarf hamster is 1.5 to 3.5 years, whereas wild dwarf hamsters can live up to 5 years.

Although dwarf hamsters make excellent pets, their life expectancy is a lot shorter when compared to other household pets.

Many parents like to give their child a hamster as they are growing up as this introduces responsibilities into their lives and shows them how to care for animals.

Get Your Own Hamster Owner’s Handbook!

What is a Dwarf Hamster’s Life Expectancy?

a cute dwarf hamster, what is dwarf hamster life expectancy

Pet dwarf hamsters have a life expectancy of 1.5 to 3.5 years, whereas wild dwarf hamsters have up to 5 years!

The life expectancy of a dwarf hamster varies by what kind of hamster it is.

Roborovski dwarf hamsters or Robos tend to live the longest, with some living up to 3.5 years.

Meanwhile, Siberian dwarf hamsters and Campbell’s dwarf hamsters only live to be about 1.5 to 2 years old.

Wild hamsters tend to live longer than hamsters in captivity [2]. These hamsters can live up to 5 years old. This is likely related to their diet and activities in the wild.

Take a look at this video to know the average lifespan of a hamster.

When hamsters are born, there can be as many as twenty of them. Known as pups, these animals rely on their mothers for the first 3 to 4 weeks of life.

Once they are old enough, you should separate your hamsters into their enclosures, especially if you have Syrian hamsters, which tend to fight with each other.

You can often leave other hamsters together as they like social groups, but you need to separate them by sexes, or you could end up with lots of babies.

Hamsters tend to reach sexual maturity between 4 and 6 weeks old, so you’ll want to separate males and females early on.

Females should not get pregnant until they are at least ten weeks old, or they might have complications like stillborn pups.

As your hamster gets to be over a year old, he’s starting to reach middle and old age.

During this time, the likelihood of him developing a health issue increases, so be prepared to take him to the veterinarian.

Learn more about White Winter Hamster!

Oldest Dwarf Hamster in the World (Guinness World Records)

There are mixed stories about the oldest dwarf hamster in the world. Some online reports state that the hamster lived to be seven years old.

According to the Guinness World Records, the oldest hamster lived to be 4.5 years old [3]. It was a dwarf hamster residing in the United Kingdom.

That’s not to say that your hamster couldn’t live longer. Stories abound on the internet of people with hamsters that are four years old and still going strong.

A large portion of how long they live relates to the care they get and their diet.

Your Hamster’s Diet Affects Their Overall Health

The diet you choose to give to your hamsters [4] will affect their health and how long they live.

There are plenty of commercial options for you to choose from.

While seed mixes and pelleted mixes are both available for your hamster.

You will find that for most hamsters, the pellet mixtures are best.

These diets are homogenous, so every bite has the same mixture of food in it.

On the other hand, Seed mixes are varied with each bite, and some clever hamsters choose which seeds they want to eat out of the mix rather than eating them all.

This can lead to dietary insufficiencies because they might not eat the best seeds.

For example, you might have a hamster that enjoys sunflower seeds. He might gorge himself on sunflower seeds rather than eating the other seeds in the mixture, leading him to become overweight and unhealthy.

If you feed a pellet mixture, you can supplement a few seeds. Just take care that you don’t provide too many seeds, as these tend to be high in fats and can make your hamster overweight.

Hamsters benefit from eating some fresh fruits and vegetables with their meals, although you’ll want to ensure they aren’t eating these foods solely.

Some fresh food options for your hammy include apples, carrots, and spinach. Lettuce tends to be empty calories, which is less recommended than nutrient-dense spinach.

With a hamster, a little bit of fresh food goes a long way. You’ll want to limit their fresh food to a small amount.

ALSO READ: Are Hamsters Good Pets?

Watch Out for Harmful Food

When you feed fresh foods, you want to make sure you don’t provide anything that has a sharp edge or that can get lodged in your hammy’s cheek pouches.

You also need to avoid foods such as citrus, which can cause your hamster to develop an upset stomach.

a hamster eating uncooked seeds, how long do dwarf hamsters live

Other foods that can be harmful include onions and raw potatoes, and uncooked beans. You should also keep chocolate and other candy away from your hamster, as it can make them sick.

Hamsters are omnivores, so you can also very occasionally cook them a hard-boiled egg, but you should only give them a small pinch of it.

You can also offer your hamster a mealworm or two as a good protein source, once again, for special occasions or once weekly.

Although it’s best if you stick to a regular hamster diet, your hamster should be fed pellets daily, with seeds added as an occasional treat. Fresh foods should be restricted to every other day or third day, rather than feeding them every day.

You should make sure that your hamster has fresh water every single day.

You will want to change the water regularly as it can become stagnant, and if it’s not in a water bottle, your hamster may fill the water dish with bedding.

Make Sure Your Hamsters Cage is Big Enough

a hamster in a cage

There is some thought that giving your hamster plenty of room to play and live will increase its life span [5].

This is likely related to the amount of exercise that they get.

Especially with a dwarf hamster, you want to be careful of the spacing between wire enclosures. If the gap is too large, your hamster can escape.

Stick with cages designed for dwarf hamsters or young mice, as they can’t usually squeeze through the wires and get out.

For instance, the smallest dwarf hamsters, Robos, usually are less than 5 centimeters long.

Hamsters tend to be social animals and prefer to be in the company of at least one other.

This means that your housing for them needs to be big enough if you decide to have multiple hamsters.

There are a wide variety of different styles of cages.
a hamster in a cage

Wire cages tend to allow plenty of ventilation, although you need to make sure the bars are close enough together that your hamster can’t escape.

Your cage should also have a solid bottom, which gives it plenty of support and helps keep your hamster from hurting his paws by walking on the wires or getting stuck through the bars.

You’ll also appreciate that the solid bottom tends to be easier to keep clean, allowing you to take the cage apart.

Some cages are plastic or glass, such as aquarium-style enclosures. These tend to lack good ventilation, which can cause your furry critter to get overheated.

Ammonia smells can also build up easier if you don’t clean the cage well.

Many hamster cages also have tunnels that your hamster can run around and explore. This increases the surface area of the cage and provides more activities for your hamster.

The tunnels in the hamster cages require more maintenance work for you, as they need to be cleaned. You can take them apart while your hamster gets exercise in its hamster ball.

Regardless of the cage you choose, you’ll want to make sure it has comfortable bedding for your hamster.

Many like to have a separate space to act as a bedroom for nesting separated from the rest of the cage so that you might get a hamster house for them.

Provide Your Hamster With Lot of Playtime

Hamster with Rubix Cubes

Playtime and exercise are essential for everyone, your hamster included. An encouraging activity can help keep your hamster fit and healthy.

Because of the need for plenty of exercise, a small cage is less ideal for your hamster.

Having multiple levels does help by multiplying the amount of space your furry family member has to explore and run around.

Many hamsters utilize a hamster wheel in their cage. While this can be noisy if it squeaks, it provides plenty of cardiovascular activity for your critter.

Some hamsters don’t like to run on their hamster wheels, so you have to look for other options for exercise.

Consider trying a hamster ball for your little guy so he can explore the house with ease, getting a change of scenery while getting exercise.

If you do utilize a hamster ball, you’ll want to keep a close eye on it, especially if you have other animals in the house.

You don’t want your hammy to become an afternoon snack for your cat or dog, and you don’t want to scare your dwarf hamster by having him get batted around by your other pets.

When using a hamster ball, you will need to keep a close eye on the hamster.

If he goes to the bathroom in the ball, you need to have him take a break from running around and clean the ball out — you don’t want him running through his urine or stool!

You also don’t want him falling down the stairs!

MUST READ: How to Bond With Your Hamster?

Health Problems That Could Affect Their Lifespan

Your hamster can be affected by many different health issues, especially if left untreated, which may affect his lifespan.

Possible issues include tooth problems, skin infections, upper respiratory infections, and diarrhea.

Dental ProblemsHamster Showing Teeth

A common health issue in hamsters is an issue with their teeth. Your hamster’s teeth are constantly growing, and they can grow down through his chin if they are not worn down.

You can help prevent dental issues by providing your hamster with things to chew on, such as wooden blocks.

Some pet stores even sell non-toxic houses that they can live in and chew on.

If your hamster starts to have dental issues, they need to see a veterinarian, who may trim their teeth back to the length that they should be.

Skin infections can be caused by improperly maintained habitats, primarily if waste builds up in the cages.

Having too many hamsters together can also increase their risk of skin problems, especially wounds due to fighting.

If your cage has sharp points, your hamster might cut himself, especially while busy exploring all of the cage’s nooks and crannies.

Inspect the cage regularly when you clean it to ensure that there don’t appear to be any issues.

Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections are common among hamsters, and symptoms can include nasal or eye discharge.

You might also note your hamster sneezing or coughing.

If you start to notice any of those respiratory signs, you need to get your hamster to the vet. Left untreated, an upper respiratory infection can worsen issues such as pneumonia.

Hamsters are also prone to gastrointestinal or GI problems, which commonly cause diarrhea in your hamster. Causes include bacterial infections, viruses, stress, and dietary indiscretion.

If you feed your hamster too much fresh food or protein, he might develop diarrhea. Eating too many seeds can also cause this to occur.

If you start to notice your hamster’s stool getting soft, he needs to get to the veterinarian and be evaluated. If you don’t treat him, he can develop dehydration and worsen quickly.

When you take your hamster in to be examined, your vet might put him on antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection.

These are often oral medications and may treat upper respiratory infections, skin issues, and bacterial overgrowths causing diarrhea.

It’s vital that you give all medications as your vet has prescribed them. Not doing so can cause a relapse in your pet or cause them to get worse.

If you want your hamster to live a long, healthy life, their housing, and diet, as well as exercise, are closely linked to their longevity.

FAQs

Do hamsters have tails?

Hamsters have short stubby tails. The length determines the breed of the hamster. Different species will have different length tails.

Can hamsters climb?

Hamsters aren’t as good as climbers as other rodents, such as rats but are generally quite good climbers and can climb upstairs or their cage.

Can hamsters eat bread?

a hamster with bread

Hamsters can eat brown bread in small amounts, but it isn’t recommended. Carbohydrates are quite fatty and contain lots of sugar. Before adding treats like bread into your hamster’s diet, you should think carefully.

Resources

  • 1. How Long Do Hamsters Live? [Internet]. www.petmd.com. Available from: https://www.petmd.com/exotic/care/evr_ex_hm_how-long-do-hamsters-live
  • 2. Hamster care – everything you need to know | RSPCA [Internet]. Rspca.org.uk. 2017. Available from: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rodents/hamsters
  • 3. Available from: https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/oldest-hamster-ever#:~:text=The%20oldest%20hamster%20ever%20was,Tyne%20%26%20Wear%2C%20United%20Kingdom.
  • 4. Feeding your hamster [Internet]. www.pdsa.org.uk. Available from: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-help-and-advice/looking-after-your-pet/small-pets/your-hamsters-diet
  • 5. Litwiller H. The Young Adult’s Guide Pet Ownership: Everything You Need to Know About Caring For Your First Pet [Internet]. Google Books. Atlantic Publishing Company; 2018 [cited 2022 Jan 17]. Available from: https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=cjFbDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA9&dq=hamsters+and+playtime+and+lifespan&ots=NHvX7s39J5&sig=JxK5PahwA1lpZ6iCO1YgU36Rvpc
a dwarf hamster stand in a cage, what is dwarf hamsters life expectancy

How oldest dwarf hamster did you ever have? Let us know in the comments below!

Andreea Juganaru
Andreea Juganaru

Andreea is a very passionate content creator and her purpose is to provide you with the most interesting articles, while constantly discovering new facts. She’s been freelance writing for the past five years and has created numerous articles and educational materials while managing her own mom blog.
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