Mother hamsters sometimes eat their babies, which of course is not at all good to watch for the little babies.
The reasons for this behavior of the hamster mother can be many, so today in the article we will look at them in more detail.
The main reasons why mother hamsters eat their babies are stress, hunger, small cage, randomness, and when they think there are predators near them.
You will also learn how to prevent a mother hamster from eating her babies.
What are the reasons why a mother hamster eats her babies?
Unfortunately, it happens that the mother hamster eats her babies for several reasons, here are some of them:
- when stressed – then the mother hamster becomes nervous and eats her babies.
- the cage is too small and the mother hamster doesn’t have her own space – because again she gets nervous and can’t get comfortable and calm.
- when it thinks there is danger from predators – then it eats its babies so that they are not eaten by predators.
- when she is very hungry after giving birth – the lack of food will make her eat her babies just to survive.
- accidentally when he carries them in his cheeks – due to carelessness he can eat the babies, or when he forgets about them and thinks there is food in his cheeks.
- biting too hard when moving the babies from one place to another – because the mother hamster cannot always control the grip of her babies’ biting.
- when they have a different smell – because then she thinks they are not her babies and will usually eat most of the babies.
How to save baby hamsters from being eaten by their mother?
A mother hamster can be prevented from eating her babies if you carefully watch what is happening in the cage and when you take certain steps in that direction in time.
Here are some things that will help and save a baby hamster’s life.
A mother hamster should not be stressed
The main reason why a mother hamster eats her babies is because of the stress she has after giving birth.
To prevent this from happening, you need to give her more food and put more bedding so she can relax after giving birth.
When there is more bedding in the cage, it will be more comfortable for the mother to give birth and there will be less stress.
After she gives birth, you should not disturb her and not approach her cage so that she can be with her babies without being stressed.
Protein is needed for the mother hamster
Once the mother hamster gives birth, she will need protein in order to recover faster from the birth.
With the help of proteins, the mother hamster will regain her strength, so you can give her chicken or egg white.
You can also give her proteins before giving birth, but still, there is danger so that the smells do not get mixed up and she gets confused about which is the baby and which is the chicken meat and eats the babies by mistake.
Feeding the mother hamster this way will help her not need to eat her babies, or at least reduce the chances of this happening.
A bigger cage
In order not to eat her babies, the mother hamster needs more space after giving birth.
If she doesn’t have enough space she will get upset and may start eating her babies. Or provide a larger cage or space when the moment before birth comes.
The smallest hamster cage should not be under 24 x 12 inches, and 12 inches high, of course, an even larger cage will be welcome for the mother hamster.
Do not disturb the mother hamster
In the first 15 days after giving birth, you should not disturb the mother hamster, it is best to leave her alone and rest, which reduces the chances of her eating the babies.
Just put water and food and leave her alone with her babies, that’s the best advice for when she gives birth.
Do not touch baby hamsters
Never touch baby hamsters for 20 days after the mother hamster gives birth.
During this period they should only be cared for by their mother and should not be touched, because you may change their smell and then they may be eaten by their mother.
The moment you notice that the mother hamster no longer wants to nurse the babies, that’s the time to separate them from their mother.
In the first 20 days, it is very important to have enough food for both the mother and her babies, it will help in their development, and at the same time, the mother will not be hungry and will not need to eat her babies.
Male and female hamsters should be kept separate
After giving birth, the father and mother hamsters should be separated from each other.
This is recommended because the father hamster will want to mate with the mother hamster again, but in doing so he may injure the little babies or even eat them.
The father hamster does not care for the babies as well as their mother, so it is best to remove them from the cage within the first 20 days after the mother gives birth.
Biting from the mother hamster too hard
The mother hamster sometimes, no matter how much you do to make her comfortable, and when she has all the conditions after giving birth, can eat the baby hamster again.
This can happen if she bites her babies too hard, carelessly of course.
This happens when he wants to pick them up or move them to another place in the cage, or if he forgets that he is carrying his baby on his cheeks.
Sometimes a mother hamster may eat the babies if she thinks they are sick or something is wrong with them.
What does hamster reproduction look like?
Hamsters can become pregnant very quickly as they become ready to reproduce after a few weeks of their life.
Here’s what age they become reproductively mature according to their breed:
- Syrian and Russian hamsters can become pregnant when they are 4-5 weeks old.
- Chinese hamsters when they are 2-3 months old.
- Roborovski hamsters can become pregnant after 3-4 months.
All hamsters have a pregnancy period that lasts about 3 weeks, and they give birth from one to nine babies, for example, Syrian female hamsters give birth to about 7 babies, while other breeds have less.
Female hamsters can become pregnant every 4 days and can conceive once a month. The total life span when female hamsters can give birth to babies is about 18 months of their life.
What are the signs of pregnancy in hamsters?
To reduce the risk of the mother hamsters eating the babies, it is best to know in time that they are pregnant.
Here are the signs of pregnancy in hamsters:
- increased appetite for food and water
- They exercise much less than the usual pace
- An increase in the abdomen is observed
- a change in their behavior
- They make a hidden nest in the cage to give birth to the babies
How do you know hamsters are getting ready to give birth?
When female hamsters are getting ready to give birth, they usually look for a quiet place in the cage that is slightly hidden for more security.
They then eat a lot more because they need more food to be able to feed their babies by producing more milk.
After about twenty days of their pregnancy, they will give birth and start caring for their babies.
Mother hamsters eat their babies for various reasons such as stress, when they are hungry, when they have a small cage, and other reasons.
If you manage to help mother hamsters have an easier pregnancy and provide them with better conditions during pregnancy, then the chances of them eating their babies are reduced.
However, no matter how much you want it, mother hamsters can always eat a few babies, that’s their way of behavior that we have to accept.