The species-appropriate and loving care and keeping of pets not only determines their well-being, but also their health and thus their lifespan. But what about the life expectancy of hamsters?
Hamster: Unfortunately only a short life expectancy
Hamsters have an average life expectancy of two to three years, although in exceptional cases some can also become less old or older. It is crucial, for example, whether there is an underlying disease that increases the risk of getting off the ground. Due to overbreeding, some hamsters unfortunately have genetic defects. For this reason, you should only ever buy from a reputable breeder who can assure you that the animals are healthy. As a keeper, you can recognize hamsters when the little ones are getting old.
Recognize signs of aging in hamsters
Hamsters visibly slow down in old age, usually after just one year. They can then orientate themselves less, also because they may not be able to see so well anymore, and take it easy for safety. You can also tell from the fur that a hamster is getting older - this usually becomes more shaggy and thinner overall, especially in the head area. The coat color can also change and become lighter, for example. Other signs of high hamster age include an increased need for sleep, changed eating habits and weight fluctuations, which could also be symptoms of various diseases - if in doubt, consult the veterinarian.
Golden hamster: cute and fluffy animals
Adapt the hamster cage for older rodents
Talk to your veterinarian about what measures are especially useful for your senior hamster. Often things have to be changed about the hamster cage. For example, injury risks should be minimized: Higher platforms are dangerous because older hamsters can fluctuate a lot and then fall down. Lattice bars that are too narrow are also not ideal, since a senior rodent could get tangled in them. The grid spacing should not overwrite one centimeter for golden hamsters and 0.8 centimeters for dwarf hamsters. Also make sure that your fur friend can still easily get food and water - is the water dispenser possibly too high for the old bones? If you have a cage with several floors, move all the important items downwards, as old hamsters often only rummage around on the ground floor.
Increase life expectancy through proper senior food
Older hamsters are happy about an adapted feed composition. For example, you need a higher proportion of raw fiber in your food, while protein and fat become less important. You may need to add a few vitamin supplements to your drinking water if your senior hamster doesn't want to eat fruit and vegetables anymore. Also consult with your veterinarian about hamster food.