Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Roborovski Hamster Years

By Catya
Catya is a judge with the California Hamster Association. She shares her experiences in hamster ownership from a high school student's perspective.

Click image to enlarge
Rufus the hamster and his siblings
Rufus and his siblings when they were “tweens” in hamster-years.
Hippolyta the hamster and her kin
Photos Courtesy of Catya
Hippolyta and her sister first coming home from the pet store.

Hi, everyone!

I don’t know about you, but I’m finally on summer break! Woohoo! Good luck to any of my readers who still have finals.

Last time, I wrote about “Old Man Rufus.” That got me thinking — have any of my other Roborovski hamsters lived that long? Fortunately, between the Family Tree maker software and the Excel spreadsheets I’ve been using for my research project, I was able to find all of the data.

It turns out Rufus is even more astonishing than I thought! I tally my hamsters’ ages in months. On Rufus’ third birthday, he will be a full 10 months older than the average life span for my male hamsters (26 months). He is already my second-longest-lived hamster, second only to Hippolyta. Unfortunately, because I got her from a pet store, I can never know for sure when she was born. But my current best guess puts her at a life span of 40 months. That’s incredible!

Even though it’s summer, I’m stuck in “lab report mode” looking for patterns in the data. I noticed that the average life span for males was slightly longer than for females — the males averaged 26 months, and the females averaged 24. But Hippolyta was my record “marathon hamster,” and she was a female! So it can go either way.

As I was looking at all this data, an idea suddenly occurred to me. I could do a few quick calculations and finally solve the age-old riddle: how long is a “hamster-year”? (or at least, what’s a Roborovski-year — it’s going to differ from species to species) If you ask on the Internet, you’ll get varied answers. I’ve heard that two weeks is one hamster year, that there are six hamster years in every human year, and that there are 25 hamster years in every year. That’s quite a range! What is the truth?

Looking at my data for the average life span of my hamsters, and the average life expectancy in the United States for 2005, I’m getting an answer I haven’t seen online yet. If the average life span for people is around 75 years, and the average life span for hamsters is 25 months, then that means that one month is three hamster-years. This makes one human year 36 hamster years (for Roborovskis). Wow!

So just for fun, I decided to see how old my long runners have been in Roborovski-years. If my calculations are correct, then Rufus is 105 Roborovski-years old! Hippolyta, if my theories about her birth date are right, was 120 Roborovski-years old!

Some dog owners like to figure out how many dog-years old they are, so I thought I would try it out. Right now, I’m 18.75 human years old. So if I were a hamster who was 18.75 hamster-years old, I would have been alive for 6 human months. But if I were a hamster who had been alive for 18.75 human years, I would be 675 hamster-years old! What is your age in “Hamster Years?”

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Roborovski Hamster Years

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Reader Comments
Well it was sad to hear that the Robo only lives for 24 months or so. That isn't very long! I just wanted to share something that I do with my Robo "Honey". When I clean out her tank I actually leave her in it, that way she takes a bath in the soapy water and she loves it. I use just a very little bit of a mild antibacterial dish soap and let her run around in the warm water briefly. THen I rinse it and it rinses her as well. She only gets her legs, tail and underside wet. So cute and she fluffs out and gets so clean. I think she looks forward to it. It is our routine. I have Chinchilla dust in there and she rolls in it after her bath to dry off. Her favorite food is frozen corn and lettuce. I just did a tank cleaning and she is fluffin out right now. After her bath she takes a nap.
Terry, Reedley, CA
Posted: 8/6/2012 4:29:47 PM
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