Hamsters are such adorable, lovable, cute pets and adopting one can provide treasured memories to last you your lifetime.
Unfortunately, these cute little companions tend to leave us much earlier than most other pets. Hamster life span ranges typically between 2 years and 3 years depending on the breed and quality of care.
Nevertheless, some owners have reported hamster life spans of 4 or even 5 years but these are extremely rare occurrences.
Hamster Life Span Average
The length of a hamster life span from the time of its birth to its eventual death is greatly determined by the type of hamster.
Other determining factors include how well the hamster is taken care of from the time of its birth and hereditary factors such as genetics.
Of course, there are some very lucky hamsters that have lived to enjoy life to a ripe old age of 60 months and more.
Russian Dwarf Hamster Life Span
The average hamster life span for a Russian dwarf is about three years while in captivity. However, in the wild they have been known to live up to 5 years and even beyond.
Teddy Bear Hamster Life Span
Syrian hamsters, which are also commonly known as golden hamsters or teddy bear hamsters enjoy a relatively longer hamster life span of anywhere between 24 months to 36 months.
Dwarf Hamster Life Span
Dwarf winter white hamsters enjoy a maximum life span of between 12 months and 24 months. Chinese hamsters and Campbell’s hamsters live around that long too.
Roborovski Hamster Life Span
Roborovski hamsters live the longest and you can expect them to enjoy a hamster life span of up to 42 months.
Birth of a Hamster
Hamsters give birth to tiny little babies referred to as pups. At birth, a pup comes out pink, blind, and hairless.
It is completely weak, helpless, and totally reliant on its mum for food, warmth, and everything else. After a week, they are strong enough to start exploring outside the nesting area and in three weeks they are usually completely weaned.
Breeders typically sell their hamsters to pet stores just after weaning, at between 4 and 9 weeks.
Hamsters from most breeds are solitary creatures. When housed together they tend to suffer from chronic and acute stress.
Additionally, they become fiercely territorial and may viciously attack each other and fight to the death. Dwarf hamsters can be housed in pairs but these have to be two pups from the same litter and of the same gender.
They also have to start being housed together from a very tender age. Russian hamsters tend to form very close bonds and can get highly stressed up when separated. This is most evident among males.
Hamsters are crepuscular creatures, which makes them the perfect pet. This is because you get to play with them when you wake up before you leave for work/school and in the evening when you get back home.
Russian and Syrian hamsters mature very fast and get fertile at about 4 to 5 weeks. Chinese hamsters get fertile at between 2 and 3 months while Roborovski hamsters become fertile between 3 and 4 months.
Females remain reproductive for about 18 months while males remain reproductive for much longer. Females are in heat every 4 days and this will be characterized by a strong musky smell, reddening of the genitalia, and hissing sounds when a male is nearby.
Hamsters breed seasonally and in the Northern hemisphere this falls between April and October. They produce several litters within this period, typically 2 to 5 litters.
Each litter usually has between one and 13 pups who are born after a gestation period of between 16 and 23 days. Gestation for each breed is as follows:
- Syrian hamsters: 16-18 days
- Russian hamsters: 18-21 days
- Chinese hamsters: 21-23 days
- Roborovski Hamsters: 23-30 days
While most hamsters can carry a maximum of 24 pups in their uterus, they usually carry much less. Campbell’s typically have between 4 and 8 pups though they can have up to 13 at a time.
Djungarian, Roborovski, and Chinese hamsters have smaller litters while Syrian and Russian hamsters have an average of 7 pups per litter.
Campbell and Djungarian hamsters generally live between 2 and 4 years in captivity while Syrian hamsters live for 2 to 3 years.
The Roborovski hamsters live up to and sometimes longer than 3 years in captivity. When hamsters get old they lose lots of their active energy but that is normal for all types of animals, even humans.
When it comes to the latter stages of the hamster’s life, they will need extra care. Wash their cages more frequently.
Change their water, bedding, and substrate regularly. Include vitamin supplements in their diet. If you notice any sudden changes in behavior, take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.