A Hamster's Lifespan

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Compared to other pets such as dogs or cats, hamsters have a very short lifespan. This is one of the reasons why the female come into season so often--so that they have the best chance of passing on their genes in the short time they have to live. The general rule is the smaller the hamster, the shorter the lifespan.

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Longest

The most common pet hamster is the Syrian or golden hamster, which is also the largest type of pet hamster at four to seven inches long. They live an average of three to four years, but can occasionally live to six.

Considerations

According to Holly Nash, D.V.M., long-haired Syrian hamsters tend not to live as long at short-haired Syrians because they are more prone to the potentially fatal illness wet tail (regional enteritis).

Shortest

Two kinds of dwarf hamsters, the Campbell's (Russian dwarf) and the winter white, live one to two years on average.

Smallest

The smallest species is the Roborovski (or "Robos") that live for a little over three years on average. They grow to be only two inches long.

Hairless

Hairless hamsters (a mutation of the Syrian) live an average of one to two years. According to Hamster Central, hairless hamsters are prone to illness because they have to have high metabolisms in order to keep warm.

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