Syrian Hamster Lifespan: How Long Do Syrian Hamsters Live?

Written by Volia Nikaci
Published: March 25, 2022
Image Credit stock_shot/Shutterstock.com
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Hamsters are one of the cutest rodents that many of us are happy to keep as a pet. The Syrian hamster, in particular, happens to be the most popular choice for pet owners. Since it is pretty gentle and enjoys being held, it is sometimes called teddy bear. In truth, the earliest hamsters originated in Syria, hence the name, but they have since spread to Greece, Belgium, and northern China.

The Syrian hamster is not only adorable but is also quite smart as well. It’s no wonder that this furry little rodent continues to be such a popular pet choice. Here are some interesting facts, such as the average Syrian hamster lifespan, that may help you better bond with your pet hamster and learn more about their habits. 

How Long Do Syrian Hamsters Live?

Syrian Hamster close-up
The Syrian hamster averagely lives between 2-3 years.

stock_shot/Shutterstock.com

In the wild, the average Syrian hamster lifespan is between 2-3 years. However, in captivity, they have been known to live longer, up to 3-4 years. The average lifespan of each hamster breed varies, however. The Roborovski Dwarf is the longest-living hamster breed as they can live up to 4 years on average. Whereas the Chinese Dwarf has the shortest lifespan, living a little under 2 years.

Neurobiology of Aging published a study that examined ways to prolong mammals’ lives. The study found that chronic treatment of Syrian hamsters with low-dose selegiline extends the lives of female hamsters but not males. Selegiline is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. For the first time, it has been shown to extend animals’ average and maximum lifespans in a reproducible way.

With all of this incredible knowledge about the Syrian hamster lifespan, let’s get a better idea of how they develop from tiny babies to fully grown adults.

The Average Syrian Hamster Life Cycle

A hamster’s life cycle is normally completed by the time this adorable, furry rodent gets to about three years old. If you’re curious how your baby hamster will continue to grow, stay tuned! 

Birth 

A Syrian hamster’s gestation period is 15 to 18 days. A Syrian hamster can have anywhere from 5 to 10 babies. A baby hamster is called a “pup.” It is pink, with no fur, and blind at birth. A puppy is vulnerable and utterly dependent on the mother. It starts to grow hair and teeth in about a week.

After two weeks, the hamster will begin to be able to see, can walk on its own, and has a fully formed coat. At two weeks, hamster babies may be weaned, and this is an excellent time to begin handling puppies destined for a life as a companion. Puppies should be taken from the cage at 4 to 5 weeks, or their mothers will turn against them.

Adolescence 

Adolescence arrives quickly in hamsters since they only live a few years. Male hamsters develop quicker than females and attain sexual maturity between 4 and 6 weeks. Female hamsters can reproduce between the ages of 8 and 10 weeks when they weigh an average of 90 to 100 grams. Females younger than 10 weeks should not be bred. They have a greater risk of stillbirth.

Adulthood

When a Syrian hamster reaches the age of 12 weeks (3 months old), it is considered fully mature. This indicates that the hamster is sexually mature as well as having achieved or is very near to reaching its full length. Syrian hamsters are the biggest of all hamster species, and there will be significant size changes between the newborn hamster you got from the pet store and the adult hamster in your cage.

What Factors Impact The Syrian Hamsters Lifespan?

A brown and white Syrian hamster on the sand.
Syrian hamsters may reach a length of 6 inches.

Alexruss/Shutterstock.com

A hamster’s typical lifespan will be influenced by a variety of circumstances. The following are some of the factors you should be aware of:

  • Digestive issues: Among the causes of digestive disorders in hamsters include bacterial infections, stress, and nutritional concerns. Diarrhea is one of the most prevalent digestive system diseases in hamsters and can be caused by a variety of conditions. Diarrhea in hamsters is commonly referred to as a “wet tail.” Another typical digestive issue in hamsters is constipation.
  • Teeth problems: If hamsters are not properly cared for, they can develop dental issues. Or if they do not have access to chewing material. Hamsters have teeth that grow throughout their lives. They must grind them down by gnawing. If this does not occur, the teeth may get overly long, resulting in abscesses.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes is another major health issue in hamsters. Diabetes develops when the body either does not create enough insulin or is unable to utilize it effectively. Excessive thirst and urination are common symptoms of diabetes in Syrian hamsters. 

How To Extend The Life Of Your Syrian Hamster 

Syrian hamster on a white background
Hamsters are solitary creatures that should be housed alone in their environment.

Happy monkey/Shutterstock.com

As mentioned, the Syrian hamster lifespan is around 2-3 years. However, there have been instances where these little furballs make it past the average estimates. There is no foolproof method for extending a hamster’s life. You may, however, take certain precautions to ensure that you are providing your hamster with the best possible life.

Some of these measures include: 

  • Feed your hamster a well-balanced diet: To flourish, hamsters require a specialized diet. Feed your hamster a mix of table food and hamster pellets to ensure he gets enough nutrition. This will enable your hamster to enjoy a long and healthy life. Pellets should be a significant part of your hamster’s diet. In addition to pellets, you should supplement your hamster’s diet with fresh food. Alfalfa sprouts, apples, bananas, green beans, zucchini, sunflower seeds, and other grains and vegetables are all great options. 
  • Make sure your hamster gets enough exercise: Obesity and inactivity can also lead to health issues in hamsters.  To ensure that your hamster has a long life, make sure he gets enough activity. Make certain that your hamster’s surroundings promote physical exercise. Running wheels and climbing ladders are excellent methods to ensure that your hamster gets a good workout every day.
  • Regularly clean their cage: Hamsters may become ill if forced to walk through their own droppings. If you want your hamster to have a long and happy life, you must clean the cage at least once a week.

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About the Author

Volia Nikaci is a copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in SEO content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College.