Life Expectancy of a Dwarf Hamster: Length, Lifespan and Care

Very Sweet Hamster in His Cage

Dwarf hamsters make great pets. They’ll fun to look after and interesting to watch run around the room in their hamster ball, but how long do dwarf hamsters live for?

How long do dwarf hamsters live? 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 great 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.

What is a Dwarf Hamster’s Life Expectancy?

Pet dwarf hamsters have a life expectancy of 1.5 to 3.5 years whereas wild dwarf hamsters have a life expectancy of 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. These hamsters tend can live up to 5 years old. This is likely related to their diet and activities in the wild.

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 own 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 keep males and females separated early on.

Females should not get pregnant until they are at least 10 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.

Oldest Dwarf Hamster in The World (Guinness World Records)

There are mixed stories about the oldest dwarf hamster in the world. Some online stories state that the hamster lived to be 7 years old.

According to the Guinness World Records, the oldest hamster lived to be 4.5 years old. It was a dwarf hamster living 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 4 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

Hazel Hamster Mix
Hamster Pellet Food (Click here to check the price on Amazon)

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

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.

Seed mixes, on the other hand, 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 seeds that are best for them.

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 the feeding with a few seeds. Just take care that you don’t feed 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 be sure that 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, so that is less recommended than the 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.

Watch Out for Harmful Food

When you feed fresh foods, you want to make sure you don’t feed 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.

Other foods that can be harmful include onions and raw potatoes, as well as 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 every third day, rather than feeding them every day.

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

You are going to 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

There is some thought that giving your hamster plenty of room to play and live will increase their life span. 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 that are designed for dwarf hamsters or for young mice, as they can’t usually squeeze through the wires and get out.

For instance, the smallest dwarf hamsters, Robos, are normally 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.

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.

If you don’t clean the cage well, ammonia smells can also build up easier.

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 do require more maintenance work for you, as they do need to be cleaned. You can take them apart while your hamster is getting 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 that is separated from the rest of the cage so you might get a hamster house for them.

Provide Your Hamster With Lot of Playtime

Hamster with Rubix CubesPlaytime and exercise are important for everyone, your hamster included. An encouraging activity can help keep your hamster fit and healthy.

Because of the need for plenty of exercises, 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 in 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 are going to 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!

Health Problems That Could Affect Their Lifespan

Your hamster can be affected by many different health issues and, especially if left untreated, these 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 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, especially if waste starts to build 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 make sure 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 progress to worse issues such as pneumonia.

Hamsters are also prone to gastrointestinal, or GI, problems, and these 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 given as oral medications and may treat upper respiratory infections, skin issues, and bacterial overgrowths causing diarrhea.

It’s important 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.

Related Questions:

Do hamsters have tails? Hamsters have short stubby tails. The length determines on the breed of the hamster. Different breeds 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 up stairs or their cage.

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

Charlotte Silcock

Charlotte lives in the United Kingdom and has worked in animal shelters looking after small animals. She owns a hamster as well as a dog and a cat and hopes to spread her knowledge about rodents to help other pet owners.

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