How long does a hamster live? What life expectancy?

Want to know how long a hamster lives? You may be considering adopting one and want to know how long you are committing to. This is one of the important criteria when welcoming a domestic animal! Here we give you the information that will help you make a decision.

The lifespan of the wild hamster with us

Did you know that the hamster is found in the wild in Western Europe?

It is mainly found in Alsace and Belgium. His name is European Hamster, from his learned name Cricetus cricetus. But you will also find it under the name of Greater hamster, Common hamster, Rye pig, Large hamster of Alsace and Cochon des blés.

Its coat is white, gray and red above and black below. An adult hamster weighs on average between 220 to 460 g, measures around 10 inches long, supplemented by 2 inches of tail.

The longevity record for a wild hamster is 10 years. But the average lifespan is lower, given the dangers that threaten the small rodent and affect young individuals a lot: predators such as raptors, snakes, carnivorous mammals, extreme cold, diseases and the destruction of burrows by machines agricultural.

The lifespan of the domestic hamster

For most domestic animals, there is a marked increase in their lifespan compared to that of wild individuals. However, for the hamster, this is not the case. A domestic hamster has an average lifespan of around 2-3 years.

However, if you take good care of it, you can significantly increase this time. Indeed, hamsters have special needs that are rarely met by their owners, often out of ignorance, resulting in an average lifespan close to that of wild individuals. But a good understanding of the animal opens the possibility of going beyond it, in particular by offering it a place of life and an adapted diet.

Does the lifespan of the domestic hamster vary depending on the species?

Under equivalent living conditions, the hamster indeed lives more or less long depending on its species:

  • The golden hamster, also called a Syrian hamster, can expect to live at least 3 years.
  • The Angora hamster, similar to the golden hamster but with a longer coat, has a similar life expectancy.
  • For the Roborovski hamster, the duration of 3 years corresponds more to a minimum duration than an average.
  • The Russian hamster, on the other hand, lives around 2 years, the Chinese hamster between 2 and 3 years.

The hamster is a fragile animal

The domestic hamster is an animal that quickly suffers from neglect to which it may be the object.

Proliferative ileitis is a very common disease, probably caused by several bacteria which develop in favor of bad conditions food and hygiene. Hamsters are sensitive to drafts, have mouth infections quite often, and can catch parasites.
The hamster is also a fragile animal with a weak bone constitution that easily dies from bad handling and falls.

The optimal living conditions of the hamster

The minimum area of the cage is an important element contributing to the well-being of the hamster. Surprisingly, the recommendations vary depending on the country: in France, the recommended minimum surface area is 0.4 m², in Germany, 0.5 m². The Swiss are the most generous, and therefore undoubtedly the most respectful of animals, with a minimum surface area of ​​1 m². Studies have indeed shown that below this, animals almost systematically develop behavioral disorders, the biting of bars being one of them. We insist on talking about the minimum: if you can offer more to your pet, do it without hesitation!

In addition, hamsters are solitary animals, you must place one animal per cage. As hamsters are very territorial, cohabitation would end with the death of one of the two inhabitants of the cage.

Thelitter thickness is another fundamental criterion for the development of the hamster. The hamster being a burrowing animal, its instinct pushes it to build galleries. A layer of 10 cm is quite insufficient. 20 cm are a minimum. You can easily go so far as to provide it with a thick layer of 50 cm and more. As the hamster is a very clean animal, only the toilet area of ​​the cage needs to be changed frequently, the entire litter can only be changed once a month.

The wheel is a necessary accessory. But do not believe that it could compensate for a small cage area. The diameter must be adapted to the size of the animal, the mark being that it must have a straight back when it runs inside the wheel. It must therefore evolve if you realize that your hamster is growing and that the original wheel is becoming too small. Another important feature of the wheel is that the running surface must be full to prevent the hamster from getting its tail caught.

Food must be balanced and adapted to its constitution. The diet of hamsters is composed of plants for three quarters and animal proteins for the remaining quarter. It is necessary to watch over his food stocks with him because he would risk eating spoiled food.

You now know the essential elements allowing you to ensure the best life for your hamster, and therefore logically the longest. Do not hesitate to accumulate knowledge about this adorable little rodent: the more you know about its needs, the more you will be able to ensure a good life expectancy.

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