Like any small pet, hamsters do have a relatively short average life span. This may vary slightly by breed, genetics and general upbringing. Most hamsters are fairly short-lived, though there are some exceptions to this rule. To help your hamster live longer, there are some general pet care procedures you can follow to increase the chance that they will surpass their lifespan average. However, it is important to remember that hamsters are different than many other pets, due to the rate at which they age.
How long do Hamsters Live?
Most hamsters have an average lifespan of about 2 to 3 years. This is an average of all breeds, though some dwarf hamsters rarely exceed a 2 year life expectancy. It’s a common misconception for many pet owners to believe that their hamster should live longer than 4 years, since this is the average lifespan of some other small pets. Also, a hamster’s lifespan is also largely affected by the care and nutrition that they receive during their captive life.
Hamster Maturity: Hamsters have such a short lifespan because they tend to reach their “full” maturity much quicker than most other animals. As an example of this, some sources state that a 2 year old hamster is equivalent to a human that is approximately 70 years old. Due to their rapid maturity, most hamsters will not usually exceed their average life expectancy by a large amount.
Increasing your Hamsters Life Expectancy:
Though nothing can prevent your hamster from aging, you may be able to increase the chances that they will be able to enjoy an improved life expectancy. Here are some general tips that may positively affect your hamster’s lifespan.
Larger Cage Size: As a general rule, a hamster in a smaller cage will have a higher stress level than if they were housed in a larger cage. Be sure that your hamster has enough room to run comfortably in their cage.
Quality Nutrition: Your hamster’s diet does have lasting effects on their average lifespan. Be sure that you supplement your hamster’s dry food mix with fresh fruits, vegetables and other treats.
Exercise: Just like in humans, exercise has beneficial effects for hamsters as well. You may help increase your hamster’s activity level by purchasing an exercise wheel, or by taking them out of their cage for extended periods of playtime. There are also many enclosed exercise balls which allow your hamster to “explore” your home from the safety of an enclosed plastic sphere.