How Long Can A Hamster Go Without Food and Water?

How Long Can A Hamster Go Without Food and Water

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Hamsters are not any more capable of going without food and water than your average animal, contrary to popular belief.

They can only go 1-3 days total. When forced to go without, they will quickly become distressed, and then sick.

Actually, hamsters are fairly active and need plenty of sustenance, and water, as fuel. Deprived of this, they will suffer. They may not even survive!

To keep your hamster plump, healthy, and happy, always keep their food and water in stock.

How Long Can A Hamster Go Without Food and Water

The History of The Hamster

The hamster has a distinctive appearance, with a round body and thick, silky fur. Their ears are also round and fuzzy, and even their feet are covered in fur. 

Hamsters have short, bunny-like tails, and their bellies are plush. They have bright eyes and whiskers that are constantly a-quiver. The result? A truly adorable animal. 

Nowadays, Syrian hamsters can be black, grey, honey, yellow, red, honey, or even a mix. 

The first Syrian hamsters, however, were golden in tone. They were discovered by George Rober Waterhouse, a well-known zoologist at that time. In his exploration, he unearthed a litter of beautiful golden hamsters in a burrow. 

Finding the creatures extraordinary, Waterhouse decided to take them to a laboratory in Jerusalem.

He dubbed the hamster breed Mesocricetus Auratus, which translates to golden hair. This is how the popular breed earned its impressive nickname. 

Indeed, the Syrian hamsters that we know now have a respectable pedigree, tracing back to the original, golden Eve.

Once at the laboratory with Waterhouse, the hamsters underwent behavioral tests and the like. Lab workers found them to friendly, affectionate, bright, and completely charming… so, some were taken home! 

The hamsters eventually made their way to other labs, and more homes, becoming the beloved pets we know now.

How Long Can A Hamster Go Without Food and Water

The Hamster Is a Desert Animal 

Did you know that hamsters come from the desert? They prefer an environment that is warm and dry, and they inhabit steppes, sand dunes, and the like.

Food in this kind of territory is a bit scarce, as you can imagine. So, sometimes hamsters are accustomed to going without food or water, for a short amount of time. 

This being said, they will not usually last longer than a day or two without the proper sustenance. They are not like the kangaroo rat, which can go without water for days, weeks, months, even years, requiring very little to drink. 

Hamsters prefer to have water each day. This keeps them feeling their best, and helps to stave off dehydration-related health issues, such as heatstroke. 

In the desert, hamsters spend a great deal of time in their burrow. These are underground nest and tunnel systems that they make.

There is a steep entrance, a nesting and hoarding chamber, and a waste chamber in your typical burrow. 

A water or food source nearby is also sought-after, and ideal. Even in the dry, sparse desert, hamsters work hard to get enough to eat and drink.

Hamsters stay in their burrows during the day, in order to avoid desert lizards, snakes, foxes, hawks, and more. For hamsters, life in the wild is full of risk!

old hamster eating bananas

What Wild Hamsters Eat And Drink

It is true that, in the wild, hamsters will sometimes have to go without in order to survive. However, this is not a pleasant experience for them! 

Hamsters eat nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and even some bugs (like the mealworm). When a food source is readily available, these practical little guys will stuff mouth and use their flexible cheeks to carry it back to the burrow.

When food becomes short, they can eat from this store. Without this precious sustenance, hamsters take only a couple of days to starve.

Provide Your Hamster With Ample Food And Water Before You Leave Anywhere

This in mind, if you are leaving on a trip or the like, you will want to ensure that your hamster is well looked-after.

Leave them enough food, and then some (roughly 1 and ½ tsp per day). Make sure that their water bottle is full and that the ball in the spout is not stuck.

Should you be gone for more than a few days, you will definitely want someone to check in. There is always a possibility that your hamster will have soiled their food, or that the ball in the bottle spout has indeed managed to become stuck.

Hamster bedding also needs to be changed at least a couple of times a week. 

can hamsters swim

Your Hamster Should Have Plenty of Food and Water Every Day

Any pet needs proper attention and care. This includes the right food and drink!  Allowing any animal to go without will leave them dehydrated and unhappy, and the hamster is no exception to this rule.

Hamsters are not able to go without food or water for an extraordinary amount of time, contrary to popular belief.

Fortunately, hamsters do not eat much, and it is nice and easy to keep them in stock. All that they require is a teaspoon or two of a dry food mix each day.

You can also give them a hamster-safe fruit or veggie for a snack, once every 3-4 days, to once a week.

Hamsters will also need constant access to fresh, clean water. You can provide this with a water bottle or the like.

Freshen this up once a day, or at least a few times a week. Check occasionally to make sure that the ball in the bottle spout has not become stuck.

Conclusion: How Long Can A Hamster Go Without Food and Water?

So, the Syrian hamsters may be desert-bred survivors, but they burn a lot of energy, and they still need plenty of food and water to consume.

Give your hamster has 1-2 tsp a day, to keep them hydrated and nourished properly! Before leaving on a trip, make sure their food and water are generously in-stock.

Hamsters may have to rough it in the wild, but there is no reason they should have to in your home. 

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