How Long Do Syrian Hamsters Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Up to 4 years

Syrian hamsters or golden hamsters are rodents found in geographical regions such as the arid regions of northern Syria and southern Turkey. They are vulnerable creatures as stated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They are globally loved as house pets because of their quirky habits and unique personalities.

Captive breeding programs of Syrian hamsters have been established to restore their numbers which have been declining with time. These mammals are small in size and are also preferred for scientific research experiments all over the world. A lot of variation has been observed in their breed because of selective breeding and other experiments.

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How Long Do Syrian Hamsters Live?

Syrian hamsters can live up to 4 years as house pets. In the wild, their lifespan is cut shorter to 1 to 3 years. Their life span is comparatively shorter than cats and dogs, but longer than a few other mammals of the same kind.

Syrian hamsters belong to the Cricetinae subfamily of hamsters. They have a body mass ranging from 100 to 225 grams and are about 15 cms in length. These hamsters have expandable cheek pouches that increase their survival rate in the wilderness.

The lifespan of house pet hamsters is longer because of good care, food, and hygienic conditions. The average lifespan of house pet Syrian hamsters is 2 to 3 years. In the wild, these rodents encounter several predator threats and other factors that reduce their average lifespan to 1 to 2 years.

Wild Hamster

Wild hamsters are native to the middle east region of the world and they can live up to 3.5 years highest. They have a comparatively shorter life expectancy largely due to external threats such as predators, extreme weather conditions, etc. Syrian hamsters have been declining in number and their average life expectancy is getting shorter with the passing of each day.

House pet Hamster

Pet hamsters live up to 4 years or more. These hamsters are mostly conceived in breeding programs because of which they inherit good genes from their parents and have better responses towards environmental factors. Pet hamsters also have a comparatively better lifestyle and access to medical help.

In summary:

Syrian HamsterAverage Lifespan
Wild1-2 years
Pet2-3 years

Why Do Syrian Hamsters Live So Long?

Syrian hamsters have a comparatively shorter life expectancy because they reach maturity at an early age. They can be called old at the age of 18 months. Hamsters become sexually mature at the age of 6 to 9 weeks.

As a Syrian hamster grows old, it slows down all its activities. Their eating habits change frequently and their weight fluctuates as a result. They start to lose a lot of hair and their vision and hearing get compromised.

In addition to aging, several other factors influence the life expectancy of a Syrian hamster. Some of the most important factors are:

  • Genes and genetic background
  • Environmental factors
  • Diseases and other health issues such as digestive problems
  • Lifestyle
  • Diet

The genes inherited from parents play a major role in determining Syrian hamsters’ life expectancy. The hamsters with dominant genes of desired characters such as resistance and tolerance to extreme weather, improved immunity, etc tend to have a longer life than others with recessive genes. Selective breeding programs make sure to breed hamsters with enhanced characters to obtain children with increased life expectancy.

Syrian hamsters survive longer in dry and warm climates. Extreme cold conditions are not considered favorable. Proper housing, good care, and medical influence can increase the life span of Syrian hamsters. Excellent lifestyle conditions automatically increase their survival rates.

A change in the hamster’s diet also affects its life expectancy. Syrian hamsters can be fed food containing high levels of fat and protein or low levels of fat and protein at an early age to increase their life span. Cardiovascular diseases also decrease in hamsters with increased intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fruits, grains, vegetables, etc.

Conclusion

Syrian hamsters are cute animals who live up to the age of 4 years. They are mostly found in Syria and some other countries. They survive longer in warmer regions with dry climates.

Several factors affect the life expectancy of Syrian hamsters. An improved lifestyle, diet, medical care, housing conditions can increase the average number of years they live. This is the reason why pet hamsters live longer than the ones found in wild.

References

  1. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2019.02329/full
  2. https://academic.oup.com/hmg/article-abstract/6/4/601/2901243
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