Hamsters are small rodents. They are different in size, coat, and color. Some hamsters are kept in large cages, some are kept in a small ones. These rodents often eat dried food. This includes fruit, vegetables and cereals. However, how can this answer “how long do hamsters live”? We will explore many factors that have impact on hamster’s aging.

How long does a hamster live?

On average, hamsters live from 2 to 3 years. However, this can be different for each hamster. Some hamsters may live up to only one year. Therefore, there is no a correct answer.

However, there is a more “precise” answer. Hamster’s lifespan can depend on it’s breed.

Spring in the hamster

How long do Syrian hamsters live?

Adult Syrian hamsters can live up to 2-3 years. However, some may live up to five years. This applies both for wild hamsters and hamsters in captivity.

This hamster is also known as golden hamster or teddy bear hamster. They belong to Cricetinae hamster subfamily. Syrian hamsters can be seen in the nature of northern Syria and southern Turkey. Number of these hamsters in the wild is decreasing. They are losing habitat because of human agriculture.

Chinese dwarf hamster sitting on white bedding

How long do Chinese dwarf hamsters live?

Such hamsters live 3 years on average. If kept properly, they may live a little bit longer.

They have originated in the deserts of northern China and Mongolia. Chinese dwarf hamsters are distinguished from other hamsters by their long tail. Most hamsters do not have such a long tail.

Winter White Dwarf Hamster eating seeds

How long do Russian dwarf hamsters live?

In the wild, these hamsters can live up to 12 months.

This hamster is also known by these names:

  • Winter white
  • Djungarian
  • Striped
  • Siberian

It belongs to hamster species in the genus Phodopus. They are very fast and small in size. Winter white hamsters are recognized by stripe on their back and furry feet. They have multiple origins: wheat fields of Kazakhstan, the meadows of Mongolia, Siberia, and the birch stands of Manchuria.

The average lifespan of a hamster

On average, hamsters live from 2 to 3 years. Some breeds may live longer than others.

There are many factors that determine their age. One of them is the way they are being taken care of. If you take care of your hamster, it will probably live longer. Hamsters that live in dirty environment can have a shorten lifespan. Make sure to always clean your hamster’s cage. By doing so, it will be happier.

Gray baby hamsters held in a hand

What determines a hamster’s age?

Besides hamster species, there are other factors that determine their lifespan. Most of these factors can be controlled. Therefore, you can prolong your hamster’s life.


Unfortunately, you cannot control hamster’s genetics. If its parents were kept unhealthy, your hamster may have a higher chance of being ill. Getting a hamster from a good breeder can make it live longer. Sadly, many breeders multiply hamsters for sale. By doing so, they do not pay attention to their health. If you are planning to get a hamster, make sure to get the one whose parents were taken care of.


Along with its genetics, hamster may live shorter or longer depending on its breed. This was covered at the beginning of this post. There, you can see which breeds live the longest and more information.


Hamsters should eat healthy. That way, they will remain strong. Their immune system will be strong too! As a result, they have less chances of having an illness.

Most pet shops offer high-quality hamster food. It’s usually a mix of dried fruits, vegetables and cereals. This is very healthy for your hamster. However, it’s also mostly dry. Therefore, you should give your hamsters fresh food. Some examples are lettuce, carrots and apples. This way, you are giving them both dry and wet food.

Make sure to give your hamster fresh water as well. Change its water often. Some suggest adding supplements to their water. I believe it’s better not to do so. This is because they may drink less water because of its taste. If you are giving them nutrient-rich food, there is no need for supplements.


Your hamsters should be active. Common toys like tunnels and balls are perfect. You can also include running wheel. These rodents love exploring their cage. If it’s a bigger one, make sure to put enough toys.

Hanging fruit as a “snack” is also a good idea. It makes hamsters try harder to get the food. Just do not make it too hard, but rewarding. Food in a ball is also a great example to increase hamster’s activity. You should also play with it from time to time.


Always clean your hamster’s cage. This is important to prevent illnesses. It will also make your hamster happier and more energetic. Its bedding should always remain dry. Maintaining clean environment will surely help prolong hamster’s lifespan.


If you recognize some signs of an unhappy hamster, take it to a veterinarian immediately. Hamsters are very sensitive animals. Strong perfume is enough to make their breathing harder. Warm, silent environment is the best. Remember, it’s better to prevent sickness rather than to heal it.


Keeping your hamster happy also affects its lifespan. A happy hamster will be more curious, excited and energetic. This will make it stronger. Play with your hamster often. You can also move him somewhere new from time to time. They will enjoy exploring new spaces. Open space, like a big room may make hamster a little bit nervous. Therefore, you can bring some toys too!


Hamsters live from 2 to 3 years on average. Their lifespan depends on their species, health, diet and quality of environment. Clean your hamster’s cage when it’s needed and play with it often. This will surely make it happier and may prolong its life.

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