Lifespan of a Hamster: How Long do Hamsters Live?

Lifespan of a Hamster: How Long do Hamsters Live?

Before you adopt a furry little hamster, you must know about their lifespan and factors affecting it. Keeping reading to find out how long do hamsters live.

SHARE: icon-facebook icon-pinterest icon-twitter

If you’re thinking of adopting a cute little furry pet, there’s no better choice than a hamster. With their shiny bright eyes, furry bodies, and their quirky personalities, hamsters make the cutest pets. However, before getting any pet including a hamster, you need to know everything about them so that you can figure out whether you can provide them with the love and care they need. Not to mention, since humans often grow attached to their pets, it’s important that you know how long your pet’s lifespan is.

And if you’re wondering about the lifespan of a hamster, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together a guide that covers the average lifespan of a hamster and what you can do to help them have a comfortable life.

How Long Do Hamsters Live?

Hamsters typically have a lifespan of about 2 to 3 years. However, this is the average hamster lifespan. While in some cases, hamsters outlive 3 years, in others, they barely even make it till a year. The average lifespan of a hamster also varies from breed to breed. Chinese Dwarf hamsters have the shortest lifespan of under 2 years, whereas the Roborovski Dwarf has the longest lifespan as it lives up to 4 years. There are also certain hamsters like the Syrian hammies that for 5 to 6 years in captivity, but in general, have a lower lifespan.

How Long Do Hamsters Live Depending On Their Species?

Since we’ve already covered the hamster species with the longest and shortest lifespan, you’re probably wondering about the other hamster species. On average, a hamster lives for around 2.5 years, but its lifespan varies from species to species, ranging from 1.5 to 3.5 years.

Here are the average lifespans of the most popular species of hamsters:

  • Russian Dwarf Hamster: 1.5 – 2 years
  • Campbell’s Dwarf Hamster: 2 years
  • Syrian Hamster: 2 – 2.5 years
  • Chinese Hamster: 2 years
  • Roborovski Hamster: 4 years

These are just the average lifespan of the different hamster species. It is definitely possible for a Syrian hamster to only like for a year or for a Dwarf hamster to live for 3 years. However, the above lifespan average should give you a general idea of what you should expect when choosing the type of hamster to keep.

What Affects the Lifespan of a Hamster?

There are many factors that affect the lifespan of a hamster. While some factors are inherited, such as faulty genetic or predisposition to an illness, other factors are controllable such as their diet, exercise, and the overall care they receive. Therefore, we’ve divided the factors into two categories to give you a better idea of what you can do to improve your hamster’s lifespan and ensure that it lives comfortably.

Factors You Can’t Control

Here are some inherited traits that impact your hamster’s lifespan and are beyond your control.

Breed of a Hamster

You have the option to choose your hamster’s breed. If you have good knowledge about which hamster breed has the longest average lifespan, it can be easier for you to decide. While there are five species to choose from, not all pet stores carry all five breeds. So the choice mostly boils down between a Syrian hammie and one of the Dwarf types. Syrian hamsters are mostly the popular choice because not only are they the largest hamster breed, but they are also the most common to find.

Genes and Other Inherited Traits

Despite where you get your hamster from, its inherited traits are beyond your control. You may buy your hamster from a pet shop, but you can never know for sure where the pet shop got your hamster from. Some breeders aim for a variation in size or coat colors that come with certain genes, which aren’t well-documented with hamsters. You can never know for sure if your black Syrian hamster came with a gene that has weakened its kidneys, shortening its lifespan.

Factors You Can Control

There are a few factors that you can control to give your hamster a comfortable and happy life. The more you optimize these factors and make the right decisions, the higher the chances of your hammie surviving for a few more days or months will be.


Your hamster’s diet plays an incredibly important role in ensuring that it remains healthy. Not only do you need to feed your hamster high-quality food, but you also need to ensure that you give it safe treats. Hamsters can eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, some types of meat, and even bread at times. However, since Dwarf hamsters are usually at the risk of getting diabetes, it’s better to keep them away from sweet foods. Moreover, it is important to avoid overfeeding your hammie as it can lead to obesity and serious health problems.


Hamsters require plenty of exercise, especially young hamsters. Since these cute little fur balls have tremendous amounts of energy, they naturally need an outlet to release it. Therefore, all hamster cages have a running wheel in them. You can also choose to give your hamster the option to exercise outside their cage by giving it an exercise ball to play with. Without any exercise options, your hamster will be irritable and obese.

Cage Size and Cleanliness

There are minimum cage size requirements for different hamster breeds. For instance, a Syrian hamster requires a cage that is around 24 x 12 inches with a height of 12 inches. In most cases, it is preferable to have a cage even bigger than the above measurements. Since hamsters do climb, it’s best to provide them with a multi-level cage.

When it comes to cleanliness, hamsters are rather clean animals that don’t smell. So you need to keep their cage as clean as possible by changing their bedding once a week and getting rid of any dirt or dust. Hamsters also require a pee corner in the cage. So you will have ensure that you make its pee corner far away from its hideout spot.

General Care and Stress

Hamsters have some additional care requirements that define their comfort and influence their lifespan. The temperature in your home or room must be maintained at a certain range. The hamster cage must be kept away from direct sunlight or any drafts. Moreover, you will also need to learn how to hold and handle your hamster as not all of them are cuddly.

Pairing Your Hamster

You may have seen hamsters kept together. Even though this isn’t unusual, most time, keeping hamsters together isn’t the best idea. Hamsters are generally very territorial animals that prefer to live alone. When kept in pairs, they often get quite stressed, and one of them will start bullying the other. This has an impact on their overall wellbeing and lifespan.

The Bottom Line

Hamsters are adorable pets that look super cute on the running wheel in their cages. Just looking at these fluff balls makes your heart jump with joy. Although these creatures don’t have a very long lifespan, they still make great companions for as long as they are there!