The life expectancy of a hamster can vary depending on its health and quality of care. On average, a hamster will live between two and three years.
An unusually healthy hamster may survive to twice the average life expectancy: five to six years.
Some domestic hamster strains, including popular breeds like the "teddy bear" variety, are inbred and more susceptible to disease, so they live shorter lifespans.
To maximise a hamster's life expectancy, it should be kept away from strong fumes and other irritants, and its cage should be cleaned very regularly to minimise exposure to ammonia and waste.
Wet bottom, a form of stress-induced diarrhoea, is a common cause of death in hamsters. Excessive handling and loud noises can contribute to this deadly complication.
Injury and infection are common problems in hamsters, and should be treated promptly if they occur. Most small-animal veterinarians treat rodents.
- "Hamsters A to Z"; Lorraine Hill; 2001