You’ve probably heard that hamsters eat their babies, but what if I told you it was true? No, not all of them – but some of them, yes!
It’s essential to understand why this happens so you can make sure your pet hamster never does this, or at least avoid the situation where it might be a possibility. And the best way to avoid this terrible situation is to know the reasons behind it in the first place! So let’s go ahead and find out how and why hamsters eat their babies.
What makes them dangerous
Dormice can be dangerous when they decide to attack; they’re known for their nasty bites. When dormice are frightened, stressed, or attempting to protect their young, bite attacks are most likely. It’s also important to note that humans aren’t high on a dormouse’s list of predators, so attacking humans doesn’t come as naturally as it would with something like a dog or cat.
However, if you get bitten by a baby hamster and aren’t careful around them in general, you could wind up with an even more vicious encounter. So if you plan on keeping these cute creatures as pets, make sure you know how to handle them and don’t end up hurting yourself in an attempt to defend your pet!
What they look like
While hamster reproduction looks like that of mice, their breeding practices are much more horrifying: Male hamsters have been known to eat their young if they are hungry.
Now, let’s be clear here—this isn’t cannibalism. Baby hamsters look very similar to large rice grains and sometimes slip into a male hamster’s mouth while eating. If they get stuck in his throat and can’t pass through to his stomach, he will try to cough them up by swallowing them—only sometimes he fails and swallows them down anyway.
Where they come from
The answer is simple, as long as you realize it’s two different questions: why do female hamsters eat their young, and why do male hamsters eat their young? First, let’s tackle girls.
In several species that live in underground burrows, including prairie dogs and mole rats, pregnant females eat some of their babies to protect others from predators.
They can also carry more than one litter of pups at once (like humans), which means there could be little runts that never even get a chance to fight for survival. If you’re wondering whether mice exhibit similar behaviors—they don’t! They seem to have evolved beyond eating their young to pass on their genes.
How to Care for Them
Suppose you’re thinking about adopting a pet hamster, congratulations! They are beautiful additions to any home. There are a few essential things to keep in mind, however. Feeding your hamster correctly is, of course, key, but it’s just as important to take care of them in other ways.
Remember: hamsters eat their babies. It might seem crazy that we’re telling you to remember that they can do something so heinous, but hear us out. Knowing how sensitive and delicate they are will help make sure you have a happy, healthy hamster for years to come! Here’s what you need to know
Why They Eat Their Babies
Believe it or not, hamster moms eat their own young for a reason. Read on to learn more about why they do it—and what you can do to help prevent baby-eating.
Why They Do It: According to Schilder and his co-workers, there are two main reasons hamster mothers eat their babies. First, baby hamsters give off a musky odor that alerts predators of their presence—as if they weren’t already super cute and easy to catch! This is a big issue in nests where there aren’t many adults around to protect them from predators like snakes and birds of prey.
Second, sometimes pregnant female hamsters are exposed to high levels of stress hormones known as glucocorticoids, which causes reproductive problems for both her and their offspring.
How do I stop my hamster from eating her babies?
Like many rodents, female hamsters can become pregnant when in heat. And, like any mama, she’s going to do her best to protect her babies from threats – even if that means consuming them. The most common cause of cannibalism is maternal instincts: Once a mother feels her pups are in danger, she immediately becomes very protective and may choose to devour them.
It might sound cruel (significantly if you’ve invested time and money into raising them), but baby hamster cannibalism is entirely normal – and it isn’t hurting your furry friend’s feelings. That said, there are ways you can deter her from eating her litter—namely, by making sure she has a safe place for her babies and plenty of food to eat herself.
Do hamster moms eat their babies if you touch them?
You might think that after all your work of taming and feeding a hamster, it would be grateful to you. Not so. Mommas hamsters aren’t used to people and don’t know what humans are, so if you touch her babies, she may eat them! That’s right: Beware of momma hamster! It may seem like an odd thing for a mother to do.
Still, there are reasons why: Hamster moms are on high alert as soon as they give birth, says Leslie Lyons, Ph.D. professor of biology at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan.
Why do baby hamsters eat each other?
When you get a hamster as a pet, you probably won’t be prepared for what happens if it gives birth to more than one baby.
As it turns out, hamsters aren’t so many mommas as they are survivalists. Unlike human babies, which can take up to 5 years before they’re considered adults, baby hamsters need to fend for themselves immediately after being born—which means killing their littermates if there is more than one. Yikes! But why?
Should I remove the dead baby hamster?
Many people wonder if they should remove dead baby hamsters. The answer is no: they have to eat them to survive. First, a mother hamster (also known as a hamster or Syrian hamster) will kill her babies, usually by biting their heads off and then eating them.
I would say within five minutes, she had eaten one of them, and then I went out for a bit, and when I came back,k she had eaten another one, Mr. Badger said.
I saw that there was only one left, so I put it back in with her. The remaining baby hamster was eaten about two hours later. Sadly, you can’t prevent your pet from killing its young – it’s part of its instincts.
When can I touch baby hamsters?
Baby hamsters are cute, but they’re also a lot more fragile than you may think. Given their small size and high energy levels, it can be challenging to know when to approach a hamster and leave them alone. Fortunately, there is a right and wrong way to touch baby hamsters.
With some helpful tips, you can ensure that your interactions with baby hamsters are always safe and fun! When Can I Touch Baby Hamsters? When interacting with baby hamsters, the first rule of thumb is to remember that they aren’t toys even if they seem to like them!
Why are hamsters, bad parents?
Bad parenting is something we don’t talk about enough. If a mother cannot take care of her young, who do you think will step in? Fathers, right? Wrong. Male hamsters are hardly ever-present during their babies’ formative months and, even if they are around, are not biologically equipped to care for them.
So what happens when mom can’t handle parenting duties on her own? She eats them! It may sound crazy—and it makes your stomach turn—but it turns out cannibalism is quite common among rodents, including both mice and rats. Most of us think of these small mammals as vermin, but many female species go through pregnancy and childbirth just like humans do.
What do newborn hamsters eat?
Most people have witnessed a mother hamster eating her young. This is normal and necessary if you want your pet to survive. When hamsters give birth, they do so without any nesting materials. When her babies are born, the first thing she will do is clean them and then eat them.
This sounds quite terrifying when you say it like that, but there is no reason to be alarmed: once she has eaten them, she will then lick them dry and place them into her fur where they can suckle on one of their nipples for warmth until they are big enough to venture out and find food for themselves.
How many baby hamsters can a hamster have?
Surprisingly, there is no official answer to that question. It all depends on how you define baby hamsters: If we’re talking babies in terms of live births, then yes, a mother hamster can have as many as 12 baby hamsters at once.
But if we’re talking about babies in terms of offspring—meaning cubs who are still nursing—then a mother will only allow two or three to remain with her. And yes, you read that correctly: a mother will make sure only two or three of her litters survive. How? By eating them!
Can a hamster eat itself?
Hamsters are notorious for eating their young. In fact, according to some hamster care books, as many as 30 percent of baby hamsters will die from cannibalism by their mothers or other female cage mates.
When faced with two babies in a litter, it’s common for a mother hamster to eat one and let one live. Why? Hamster moms will usually consume an offspring if something is wrong with it, said Rick Hutchinson, director of education at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (HDZA) in Nebraska.
How can you tell a female hamster from a male?
Have you ever wondered if you have a male or female hamster? And what’s it mean when you find a baby in your hamster cage?
Here is a quick and easy way to tell. Once your hamster has been with you for some time, there will be times when you will want to know whether he or she is male or female. If you are trying to breed them, both sexes must be known to avoid unnecessary confusion.
Male hamsters can easily be identified by their long tail. They also tend to be much bigger than females, and although they can vary slightly in appearance, males tend to have thicker bodies than females.
Do hamsters nurse their babies?
It may be hard to watch, but hamster mothers nurse their babies until they’re five days old. After that, they begin eating them. But why? This is where things get weird: Researchers have found that adult female hamsters eat their young as a way of coping with stress.
It’s how mother and baby communicate when everything else has gone wrong. In those situations, nursing is a way for mom to tell her offspring This sucks, and I love you! One researcher told National Geographic that they eat their young because mom says it’s not going to work out—life is too scary. Does that make you feel better or worse about life in general?