Posted: March 26, 2012, 6:55 p.m. EDT
At the age of 2, your hamster is reaching the end of its life span and can be called a senior. By this time dietary needs and behavior may have changed. Older hamsters obviously are not as active as they once were. They sleep more and do not respond as quickly to being called. Older hamsters still enjoy outings in a playbox but move more slowly.
Many old hamsters put hard food from their dry hamster mix into their milky porridge or soft food to soften it. Soft foods such as porridge provide hamsters with easily digestible gluten from the oats. Your senior hamster will enjoy unseasoned, cooked foods such as boiled rice, boiled potato or pasta because they’re soft and easier to digest.
Another side effect of a hamster turning 2 years old is that its fur may begin to thin. Longhaired Syrian males might need to have their hair trimmed, especially if they lose interest in grooming themselves. You might say the hamsters have become lazy!
Older hamsters benefit from having extra bedding in their cages to act as insulation, especially if their fur is thinning or if bald patches are developing. If a hamster’s eyes do not open readily or appear “gummed up,” they can be eased by gentle bathing with warm water.
The life expectancy of a hamster is around 2 years. As with their human counterparts, some will live to a ripe old age while others will die before their time.
Excerpt from the Popular Critters Series magabook Hamsters with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Hamsters here.