Size matters when it comes to hamster lifespan with larger species often living longer. Therefore, as the largest adoptable hamster, you’d expect Syrian hamsters to provide you with more years of companionship.
But what exactly is the Syrian hamster lifespan? The average life expectancy of a Golden Syrian hamster in captivity is 2-3 years. This average is a bit shorter in the wild, typically 1-2 years. Interestingly, males have a longer average lifespan than females.
Learn more as we delve deeper into the lifespan of your Syrian hamster, detailing the different stages of its life. We’ll let you know potential health risks to be wary of and provide helpful tips on how to improve your hamster’s lifespan.
Syrian Hamster Lifespan In Captivity
The Syrian hamster’s lifespan as a pet is 2-3 years. But remember, this is just the average. Your Golden hamster may live less than 2 years or more than 3 years, depending on the quality of habitat, diet, and care. These numbers also apply to the teddy bear hamster’s lifespan.
According to research on longevity in Syrian hamsters, males tend to outlive females. Male specimens averaged 96.9 weeks, while females had an average lifespan of 82 weeks.
It’s uncertain what exactly causes the difference in longevity between male and female Syrian hamsters. Nevertheless, it’s possible that genetic and environmental factors could be the cause.
Another study indicates that low-dose selegiline increases lifespan in female Syrian hamsters. So, it may be possible to extend the lifespan of your female hamster with this chronic treatment.
There are multiple claims regarding the oldest Syrian hamster. Some reports claim the oldest recorded teddy bear hamster, a long-haired Syrian hamster, lived for 8 years. Still, there isn’t enough evidence to support that. After all, the Guinness world record puts the longest-living hamster at 4.5 years.
Syrian Hamster Life Cycle
It’s worth taking time to examine the several stages that Golden hamsters go through in their life. By understanding the different stages, you’ll be able to provide them with the best care possible to improve their lifespan.
Note that while the females are ready to mate in 4-6 weeks, don’t breed them until they’re at least 10 weeks old to prevent stillbirths. In fact, we recommend mating females who are 4-6 months old as standard practice.
Female Golden hamsters will be pregnant for 16-17 days and have an average litter size of 7-8 pups. Nevertheless, a litter size of up to 12 pups is quite common. Just before weaning, ensure the mother is on a healthy diet and in a stress-free environment to keep her from killing her pups.
How Does Old Age Look Like In Syrian Hamsters?
Knowing the signs of old age will help you best support your Syrian hamster through its golden years. These signs include both physical and behavioral changes.
- Aging Golden hamsters will have thinner, duller fur.
- Also, your hamster will be less active, often spending most of the time sleeping.
- Other signs include cognitive decline and difficulties in maintaining a healthy body weight.
During this stage, you should offer softer foods and extra bedding for comfort. Also, be more frequent with vet checkups so you can give your hamster the best quality of life possible.
Health Conditions That Impact Syrian Hamster Lifespan
The disease is a major concern in Syrian hamsters. In fact, results from a study of disorders and mortality of pet hamsters show that Golden hamsters are more vulnerable to diseases than dwarf hamsters.
- According to this study, wet tail disease recorded the most deaths.
- Atrial thrombosis, a heart and blood vessel disorder, is another prevalent disease in old Syrian hamsters. It affects up to 70% of adult hamsters, causing congestive heart failure that typically leads to death a week after the onset of the first clinical signs.
- Other generic illnesses that may affect the lifespan of Syrian hamsters are skin infections, dental problems, and obesity.
- Older hamsters are especially prone to obesity due to their less active lifestyle.
Improving The Golden Hamster Lifespan
While you can’t extend the lifespan of your Syrian hamster beyond the natural limit, there are certainly ways you can improve it. The things you can control to improve life expectancy are diet, living conditions, medical care, and activity level. Also, consider genetics as it can influence how long your Golden hamster lives.
Buy a healthy hamster
- Avoid genetic issues by buying your hamster from reputable and trustworthy breeders. That way, your hamster will have a higher chance of having healthy offspring with fewer health issues.
- Of course, Syrian hamster prices will be higher if you buy from reputable breeders. However, it will save you more vet costs in the long run.
It’s easy to mistake Golden hamsters for herbivores. After all, grain, grasses, and seeds are the staple hamster diet in the wild. However, it may interest you to know that these rodents are actually omnivores.
- That’s right; they need a healthy meal plan of proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins.
- Generally, we’re looking at grains, leafy greens, vegetables, fresh fruits, and protein-rich treats like mealworms.
- Commercial hamster food is an option for those that can’t figure out a good meal plan. Whichever meal plan you deem fit for your hamster, ensure to avoid high-sugar or fatty foods.
Clean and stress-free living conditions
You want to maintain proper hygiene, from the cage to the accessories.
- Make it a routine to clean the cage and change your hamster’s bedding once a week.
- While at it, locate and remove any hidden or leftover foods.
- Stress is another thing you don’t want to wish for your hamster. So, you want to cut out sources of stress like loud noise and extreme temperatures.
- Talking about temperature, ensure to keep your hamster’s environment at 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hamsters hate living a life of boredom. Instead, they want to make the most out of their short lives by showcasing high activity levels. And it will only be good if you accommodate such a lifestyle.
- That said, your hamster needs plenty of exercise. It’s not just for keeping them active. As it turns out, it also reduces stress and allows your hamster to maintain a healthy body weight.
- So furnish them with running wheels, chew toys, tunnels, and climbing ladders.
Proper medical care
We often tend to overlook medical checkups. Little do we know that there’s a lot to benefit from these vet checkups. Other than treating the obvious illnesses, your vet will also uncover hidden ones. And the best part is that he will provide a better nutrition plan for your Golden hamster alongside giving advice on proper pet care.If you’re interested in the lifespan of Syrian hamsters, you might also find our articles on Roborovski dwarf hamster lifespan and Chinese dwarf hamster lifespan helpful. Our article on Roborovski dwarf hamster lifespan provides insights into the average lifespan of Roborovski dwarf hamsters and factors that can influence it. Additionally, if you’re curious about the lifespan of Chinese dwarf hamsters, our article on Chinese dwarf hamster lifespan offers information on their average lifespan and care considerations. By exploring these articles, you’ll gain a better understanding of the lifespan variations among different dwarf hamster species, including Roborovski dwarf hamsters and Chinese dwarf hamsters.
Let’s take a moment to explore common questions from people interested in adopting Syrian hamsters, including the answers.
Q: Is a 2-year-old Syrian hamster considered old?
Yes. Any hamster, whichever the species, is considered old once it hits its second birthday. In fact, a Golden hamster at 12-18 months is already in its senior years.
Q: What’s the oldest Syrian hamster?
The oldest hamster on record was 4.5 years. However, this is only the official record. Other undocumented reports suggest that these rodents can live longer.
Q: How long do hamsters live in the wild?
Given no predators, wild hamsters will typically live longer than those at home. The Golden hamster, for instance, will mostly live a maximum of 2-3 years in the wild due to predation. However, these numbers can be more in captivity.
So, you have it. Your Syrian hamster will likely live 2-3 years on average. But it’s not a guarantee it will hit that mark. How long your Syrian hamster lives largely depends on its diet, genetics, and breeding history
That said, you’ll only attain this average, or even more, with proper care, nutrition, and excellent living conditions. Also, ensure you buy a healthy Syrian with no genetic issues to avoid surprises along the way.