How Long Do Teddy Bear Hamsters Live?

Teddy bear hamsters cute, cuddly, friendly, and for the most part, very simple to care for. These are some of the biggest reasons they make such fantastic pets. However, when it comes to their lifespan, how long do teddy bear hamsters typically live? 

Teddy bear hamsters can live anywhere from 2-5 years, but they most commonly live between 2 and 3. The biggest factor that extends their lifespan is the care that they are given when kept as a pet. If inadequate care is provided to the teddy bear hamster, they can die well before 2 years. 

Teddy bear hamsters are a great pet for those who want an animal that will bring a little life into their home, but does not require constant interaction and extensive care in order to live well. Even more, they are great for individuals who love pets, but are not in a position to make a lifetime commitment. Continue reading to find out what the typical lifespan of a teddy bear hamster is and what matters the most when it comes to making sure they live a long life. 

© Melbelle on Commons Wikimedia

What is the Typical Lifespan of a Teddy Bear Hamster?

Teddy bear hamsters are classified as a rodent, but they are a far cry from the kind of rodent people simply abhor when they find them scampering through the trash or wondering about in the dark. These little hamsters are petite, they are round, they are soft to the touch, full of tufted fur, and have faces that could nearly melt glaciers. Even more, teddy bear hamsters make wonderful pets and are incredibly well behaved, but how long do they live? 

Teddy bear hamsters are not the kind of pet that is able to stick with you or your family for a decade or longer. On average, teddy bear hamsters typically live anywhere between two and five years, with five years considered an abnormally long lifespan. More often, these hamsters usually live between two and three years. They do have a relatively short lifespan, but this can also be one of the reasons many people are drawn to care for them. 

Because of their average lifespan of two to three years, many individuals are drawn to teddy bear hamsters due to the ability to have a pet without having to make a long-term commitment to care. However, it is possible that these hamsters will not make it to that two-year mark. The life of a teddy bear hamster in captivity is, for the most part, dictated by the care that it receives from its owner. 

If the owner does not properly care for their teddy bear hamster, this can be the biggest reason that their lives are cut short. However, if the hamster receives proper care from its owner, it is much more likely that they will make it past two years and their chances of surviving the past three are much higher. Proper care of a teddy bear hamster is essential to its survival, so let’s discuss the different aspects of care that are most important. 

© Keren Tan on Flickr

What Should a Teddy Bear Hamsters Housing Entail?

Although teddy bear hamsters are small, they are very active little creatures and thus require plenty of space to expend their energy. At the very least, a teddy bear hamster needs a 10-gallon cage or one that measures 24 inches by 12 inches and is at least 12 inches tall. This size is appropriate, but for teddy bear hamsters, the more room the better. If you can fit a larger cage in the area, it is always better to give them as much room as possible. 

After getting the proper sized cage for your teddy bear hamster, you need to pay close attention to the ventilation that different cages offer. Some owners use aquariums and modular cages (those with various tubes and compartments running through them), but these are not conducive to ample airflow. Wire cages are great options when it comes to ventilation, simply avoid keeping the cage next to any direct airflow such as under or above vents. 

You also need to think about how easy the cage is to clean. It is imperative that your teddy bear hamster lives within a clean environment and this means daily spot cleaning as well as a more thorough cleaning every two weeks. Wire cages offer plastic trays at the bottom that you can simply pull out and clean. Modular cages that are full of plastic tubes can be difficult to clean as the compartments are small and make cleaning more of a chore. 

Lastly, you need to consider the safety of the cage. Teddy bear hamsters are very curious and will find any way to escape if they see that the possibility is there. Make sure that the bars of the cage are spaced closely together and check all doors to ensure that they are not easily popped open. Also make sure that, if your cage has multiple levels, there is no area where your hamster could fall and it is too far of a drop, which could lead to injury.

What Goes Inside a Teddy Bear Hamsters Cage?

The size, ventilation, ease of cleaning, and safety of your teddy bear hamsters are all essential components to ensuring that they are living in the healthiest environment possible. Once you have the perfect cage selected for your pet, you need to move on to what needs to go inside the cage of your teddy bear hamster so that they have plenty of options for activity, a comfortable substrate beneath them, and a setup that is conducive to activity. 

First and foremost, your teddy bear hamster needs a substrate that is plenty deep enough. The substrate is the area at the bottom of the cage that is covered in either recycled paper products or is made up of aspen shavings. Avoid cedar shavings as they are toxic. This layer should be deep enough for the hamster to be able to burrow, as this is something that teddy bear hamsters are incredibly fond of. Space to hide and play is their top priority. 

There are many hamster toys out there that your teddy bear hamster may or may not appreciate depending on their personality, but all teddy bear hamsters need and love a wheel. Many cages that come with wheels do not supply one that is big enough for teddy bear hamsters, so make sure that the wheel has plenty of space for them to be able to get a good running start and continue for a good amount of time. 

Exercise is key to the health of your teddy bear hamster and so is the health of their teeth. Teddy bear hamsters rely on sharp teeth to get through their food and they can, at a time, get dull. If you want to provide your hamster with a little toy that will also keep their teeth nice and sharp, you can offer them store-bought wooden toys that are designed for chewing, give them calcium blocks, or even offer them hard biscuits. 

© _Alicja_ via Pixabay 

What Should a Teddy Bear Hamster Eat?

Teddy bear hamsters love to scamper and play within their cages, but even more, they love to eat. Teddy bear hamsters are omnivores which means they do great with different grains, fruits, vegetables, and even proteins. This can be a point of fun exploration for you and your hamster, but is also an area that will tremendously affect their overall health which thus, affects how long or short your teddy bear hamster will live. 

Teddy bear hamsters should have a staple diet and then a supplementary diet to round everything else out. The staple diet should include a commercial hamster mix which will make up the majority of their food intake. These foods meet the basic nutritional needs of hamsters and should be offered every single day within a bowl in their cage along with fresh water. Never let the bowl fall empty as they need this constant nutrition to remain active and alert. 

The supplementary diet of a teddy bear hamster is a bit more fun than their staple diet. This diet should include various fruits and vegetables and should be given on a daily basis as well. They love apples, grapes, spinach, carrots, and even lettuce, but experiment with your hamster to see what they prefer – each will be different. You can also give them timothy hay as this is a crowd favorite among many and should be offered as a very special treat. 

How Does Interaction Affect a Teddy Bear Hamster?

If you get a juvenile teddy bear hamster that’s first experience with humans is you, be prepared to have to do a little training before they are acclimated to their new environment and owner. Teddy bear hamsters are not initially very social, but with time, they become very friendly little creatures that love to be held and played with on a regular basis. Training to get them familiar is simple, but may take a few weeks to take full effect. 

Briefly, training is the process to help rid your teddy bear hamster of their natural instinct to nip or bite and also helps to let them know that you are a friend rather than a foe. Let them get comfortable with your offering them treats from the cage, from your hand, and then from outside of the cage as you hold them. Always be as gentle as possible and refrain from grabbing them if they are clearly trying to run away from your grasp.

Once your teddy bear hamster has been trained, they tend to be very comfortable being handled and even sometimes beg for the opportunity to get out of their cage. This is so important to the health of your hamster and the social interaction helps to fulfill their social needs, but also is another form of exercise that changes up their normal everyday routines. This interaction will also reveal your hamster’s personality, which is always fun for owners.

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