How Can I Tell How Old My Hamster Is?

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If the question on your mind today is ‘How can I tell how old my hamster is?’, then you’re at the right place.

We understand how important it is (and tricky!) to judge the age of your rodent-pet, especially when hamsters tend to live for only a couple of years on average.

Some basic ways to roughly determine the age of your hamster include checking its eyes and nose, monitoring its habits, and keeping track of the thickness of its fur. Sexual maturity can also be a good indicator of your hamster’s age.

Eyes, Ears And Weeks Of Age

Different kinds of hamsters tend to age in similar ways, even though their life span varies depending on their breed. Examining its ears and eyes can give you a relatively good estimate of how old your hamster is.

The ears of a hamster usually remain shut until about one week after birth. So, if you see shut ears you can guess that it is not more than 7-10 days old. Furthermore, shut eyes indicate that your hamster is about two weeks of age.

Fur Thickness Indicates Stage Of Lifecycle

A hamster is born without fur which only starts to grow after approximately five days of age. As hamsters age, like many other furry little pets, they start to shed their fur. Thinning of the fur is a sign of reaching old age in hamsters, so monitoring the fur can give you a good idea of the age of your pet.

If the fur is thick and remains so over a considerable time, the rodent is likely to be in the prime of its life. If you see the fur thinning and shedding, you know it is time to cherish the remaining moments with your favorite pet.

Ingestion Patterns In Young Hamsters

A young hamster, like a young human baby, spends most of its time with its mother and depends on her for suckling and food. A suckling hamster is usually no more than a month old.

Hamsters also do not tend to ingest solid food until after they are at least one week of age.  Monitoring this ingestion pattern in young hamsters can be helpful in determining their weeks of age.

Habits Change With Age

Like us, hamsters get lazier and slower as they reach old age. If you notice your hamster losing interest in activities it used to enjoy, you can take this as a sign that your pet is reaching old age.

‘Old’ indicates different age for different breeds of hamsters. For example, for a Syrian hamster this indicates that it is over 2 years of age while for a Roborovski hamster, also known as the dwarf hamster, this means about 3 years.

Male Hamsters Live Longer

Studies have shown that male and female hamsters have different life spans as females tend to reach old age quicker than their male counterparts.

The average lifetime of a Syrian male hamster is 96 weeks while a female hamster lives 82 weeks on average. So, if you have a male hamster, you can expect to spend more time with it.

Adolescence And Weeks Of Age

A hamster can become sexually mature between about 4 to 6 weeks of age, with male hamsters maturing quicker than female hamsters. After this, you will probably see a female hamster giving birth to as much as twenty babies at a time.

In its prime, a female hamster can become pregnant again after 24 hours of giving birth. However, as they grow older, hamsters become infertile. This can happen after 48 to 50 weeks of age and is a good indicator that your pet is past middle age.

Nails Grow Rapidly With Age

Overgrown nails in hamsters mean old age because, as they grow, old hamsters’ nails grow rather rapidly. Coupled with loss of activity that comes with aging, old hamsters will have overgrown and unfiled nails.

If your hamster has had long nails lately, you can be sure that it is reaching the last stages of its lifecycle.

Disease Comes With Old Age

Cataracts can develop in old hamsters and may need proper treatment. Checking for cataracts includes examining your pet’s eyes. If your hamster has milky eyes, it is likely that it is developing eye disease and thus, approaching old age, which is typically equivalent to 80 years of human age.

Your hamster is a lovable companion, and with its energy and playful activities, can lighten your mood in minutes. Knowing your pet’s age, can help you savor whatever time you have left with your little hammie, and be prepared for symptoms of old age when they arrive.


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Tom Derbyshire

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