How Did This Happen?
Rated G, I promise
If your female hamster shares a cage with a male, it is almost certain that she will become pregnant. This is also true if she has been in a cage with a male within a month before you brought her home.
If you do not want baby hamsters, keep males and females in separate cages, and when purchasing or adopting a new female, make sure that she has not shared a cage with a male in the las 30 days if she is older than 4 to 6 weeks old. Hamsters are able to get pregnant as young as 4 weeks old. They have the babies about 30 days later. They can have up to 10 or more babies in one litter, so be ready.
What Kind of Cage Do I Need?
Generally speaking, hamsters are very versatile little critters. Whether it is a simple 10 gallon glass fish tank, a basic wire cage or an elaborate plastic cage with tubes to run, it can be turned into a comfortable home for a hamster. There are three things that require special attention when it comes to housing pregnant females: cage space, nesting material, and exercise. By meeting these three basic housing needs, you can help assure that your hamster is a successful mother.
Expectant mother hamsters need their own space. It is always best to provide her with her own cage—preferably in a quiet spot away from drafts and commotion. The cage needs to be large enough for you to offer her several spots to choose from for making her nest. Pregnant hamsters still like and need plenty of exercise, so she will need room to roam around in and a wheel for running.
You also need to take into consideration that her babies will need to move around and grow in for the first 4 weeks and then will need their own space. If the cage she is living in is large enough, it is best to let her stay in it. This prevents the stress of being in a new environment.
Some mothers will prefer a small house to make their nest in. There is a huge variety of these available at pet supply stores and online. You can also make them yourself out of things around the house.
It is important to make sure your hamster's bedding is fresh and clean. Keep in mind that you probably won't be able to change the bedding for a couple of weeks after the babies are born. In addition to the normal bedding in her cage, your soon to be momma will probably appreciate other things to chew and nest with. Toilet paper and paper towel tubes are always a hit. They use them to play and hide in and chew the ends to make nesting material. She may also like some toilet paper, small scraps of fabric, or bits of yarn. It is a good idea to offer several different things for her to choose from.
All hamsters like to dig and nest, but the pregnant female can at times be almost obsessive about it. They often make multiple nests throughout their cage and move from one to another before deciding where to actually have their babies. Even after the babies are born, she will continue to build her nest up more and may even move the babies a few times before she is satisfied.
Unlike many other animals, a pregnant female hamster seems more active towards the end of her pregnancy. It is not unusual to notice one of our females being exceptionally active the night before we find new babies in her cage.
Does She Need a Special Diet?
As with any hamster, food and water need to be readily available at all times. The normal hamster foods available at pet supply and discount stores will meet her nutritional needs. Treats of peanuts, small bits of fruits or vegetables can be given in moderation. She will enjoy these treats and hand feeding them to her will help build trust and friendship that will make handling her and her babies much easier.
Why Doesn't She Like Me Anymore?
Female hamsters can become very moody when they are pregnant and when they have babies with them. It is not unusual for them to not want to be handled, and they may even bite. Take care when you have to put your hand into the cage for feeding and watering. If your hamster shows you that she doesn't want handled, it is best to leave her be. Mother hamsters are very protective of their babies. She will probably return to her old self once the babies are weaned and moved out of her cage.
What Will the Babies Be Like?
Baby hamsters are born with their eyes still sealed shut and almost no hair. They will be very small (dwarf breeds will be around 1 inch long) and usually pink in color. Baby hamsters are very squirmy from day one. If you are able to look into the nest without disturbing momma or the babies you will probably see a wiggly pile of tiny pink babies that just barely resemble hamsters. They grow and develop very quickly. In only a week they will be crawling around their nest with their eyes open and covered in fur. By the time they are four weeks old they are ready to be separated from their mother.
Baby hamsters should not be handled until they are ten to fourteen days old at the least. When it is safe to handle them depends by a large part on the mother. Well-tamed and socialized females tend to be more accepting of their babies being handled. Take your cues from her and move slowly. If she shows you she is unhappy with what you are doing, back off and try again after a few days. The babies will probably act frightened and make squeak or even try to bite.
It is important that you keep the babies away from drafts. Those tiny little critters can move suddenly and quickly so be very cautious about making sure they can not jump or fall from your hand. Start slowly, only handle each baby for a few minutes at a time and not more than once a day. By three or four weeks of age they will be ready for more time and activity outside of the cage. A plastic hamster ball is an ideal way to interact with your hamsters and to allow them to explore the world outside their cage. This also provides an excellent opportunity for them to get some exercise.
At four to six weeks of age the babies should be weaned by removing them from their mothers cage. It is especially important to separate the males and females at this time to prevent breeding.
Why Did She Kill Her Babies?
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons mother hamsters will kill and even eat some or all of her babies. Usually this will happen with in the first week of the new babies lives. The most common reason for this happening is having her nest or babies messed with. Some mother hamsters just will not tolerate human contact during that first week. Some mother hamsters don't tolerate much contact until their babies are weaned. The good news is that most mommas go back to their normal social selves after the babies have been weaned and removed from her cage.
Keeping the cage in a quiet corner of the house away from noise and commotion greatly reduces the risk of this happening. You should not allow anyone to handle the mother or babies or to put their hands into the cage. Avoid changing the bedding for the first two weeks unless absolutely necessary. Allowing the new mom and her babies some peace and quiet for the first week and then take it slowly from there to almost eliminate this problem and ensure happy healthy babies and mom.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Calebbb on August 10, 2019:
What should I feed my Hamster?
Kylie zhang on September 25, 2018:
Hi my name is kylie. U said pregnt hampsters will be very active. How come mine is sooo lazy?? But i do think she is pregnet. Every time i clean out her cage she makes like 4 hampster nests ut of her bedding?? I think she is pregnet but I dont know what should i doo?? WHEN WILL SHE GIVE BIRTH!!
KJKIMPEL93 on May 14, 2018:
When do I move my male away from my pregnant female so he doesn't kill the babies?
:3 on February 24, 2018:
My hamster just had babies and we got rid of them last week, now I think she’s pregnant again from one of her babies
Fanny on July 07, 2017:
I have a female syrian hamster that i thought was pregnant, she is showing the usual signs like making a large nest and storing food in odd places but she is still her normal friendly self. I can also see her tummy has gotten bigger as she is 7 days pregnant. Does this mean she is not pregnant? But because her tummy is big at this early stage does it mean I will have an excessively large litter?
izzy on April 01, 2017:
what a weird name for a hamster
www.vet.com on June 02, 2016:
Hello. I own the Petco in Albuquerque New Mexico and I own the vet in Albuquerque New Mexico. It is called the Union of Animals. I was curious to see that many people are worried for their animals especially for there hampsters. There are many different types of hamster. There is the dwarf hamster the teddy bear hamster and the syren hamster. There is many many more. The best hamster to have is the teddy bear hamster. They are very playful and cuddly and never get tired of playing with you. when a mother hamster has her pups, it is very important to not toach them until 2 weeks of birth. But you can also toach them when there eyes are open. They will start to croll around when there eyes are open. And you can seperate them from there mother when they are about 1 mounth old. It is best to seperate them males and females or find homes for them.Thank you. I hope this helps!
km on January 01, 2015:
I got two darf hamster's on 12-12-2014.. (Male and Female) They where both six weeks old. My female hamster is acting unusual... She keeps running around the cage and tearing up the toilet paper and cant seem to stay out of the wheel, she's also very hateful she wants to bite me every time I try to pick her up... Is these signs of her being pregnant?
Joe on April 07, 2014:
I got my female hamsters a week ago and one of them seems to be pregnant and is fighting with the other one I separated them but I'm worried about the pregnant one if she is actually pregnant she runs on her hamster wheel all night and is stashing food in her igloo
Kaitlyn on December 30, 2013:
I recently bought two hamsters (both girls) from a Pet store, and came home to find that one was growing increasingly in her belly. She also started hoarding food and bedding in her hamster ball, which I found suspicious, so I did some research. I've come to the conclusion that she is pregnant, due to all of the signs I'm finding (belly, nest, swollen teets, etc.). I have also read that separation of the two hamsters is an absolute MUST because the other one could harm the babies when they are born. I went out and bought another cage, so that the momma could have a flat environment with no extra levels, which the previous home had. Apparently, if the babies are born in the extra levels which is where the ball was in the second level, the babies could fall and get hurt. Once moving her into the new home, she seemed really confused and scared. I couldn't figure out the problem other than that she wasn't used to the environment. So I took the ball out from one cage, and moved it to the new one, and sure enough right away she started building up her nest again.
I've watched videos and read articles and I was under the assumption that moving her to a safer cage would be okay for her. I guess I'm just trying to see if you have any suggestions for me, being that I'm a brand new owner of small animals and I'm pretty lost and scared myself. I want her to be safe and stress free, and I'm not sure I'm doing everything right.
Anyway, any suggestions or guidance would be greatly appreciated, especially since I'm not entirely sure how far along she is. I went to the Pet store for more information, but unfortunately, most of them are pretty clueless and no one knows for certain the correct information. I'm going based on research and instinct here, so it would be great to have another opinion.
Thank you so much!!!
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on November 29, 2013:
Give them a little more time. Especially if this the first time that either of them has mated, it may just take them a little bit of time to get it all figured out. Also keep in mind that sometimes with dwarf hamsters like your Syrians the signs of pregnancy may be very subtle and hard to recognize at first even for an experienced breeder.
Make sure that they are receiving a proper diet and that the cage is well set up for them to start nesting.
If you don't see anything happening for another week or two feel free to write me again and we can look into what the problem may be.
Coqo on November 29, 2013:
I have a couple of a Syrian Hamsters , 14 days ago , their have been mating , but now the there are nothing happen at the female belly ?
what should I do ?
djrock on July 04, 2013:
my hamster already had her babies but they have fur can you please answer my questions 1. can i let the male back in.2. can she eat them and can the male eat them even if it as fur.3. can i pick them up there about to be 3 weeks old.4. can i seprate them with girls with the mother and the boy with the father
darlene on September 08, 2012:
i have a question i have a syrian hamster she had babies 4 days ago her little tv she had them in is breaking im not sure what to do? also does she need her wheel to play on ? we took it out
jodie on June 21, 2012:
hiya what shud i do my hamster have been together over night will my girl be pregenant ? they are femail and mail syrian hamsters xx
Mandie Thomson on June 12, 2012:
Hi. I was wondering if you could help me. I have 2 syrian hamsters, male & female. My daughter & her friend took both into her bedroom & said mum....Bod & Priscilla like each other, they kissed.
Tonight I noticed that Priscilla looks as though she has eaten all the pies! Since Sunday she has gone through 2 bowls of food.
I tried to quizz my daughter about what actually happened, but as she is only 9 (& probably scared of getting in trouble as I have always said she must not put them together) I didn't like to ask if Bob climbed on Priscillas back etc etc.
Priscilla is such an anti social hamster & is quite nervous & to be honest I am scared of her biting me as she has done in the past so I can't actually hold her to see if she has nipoles etc etc.
Jipjap on June 07, 2012:
Thanks for the advice I helped alot
amanda on June 05, 2012:
will the male hamster help the female hamster to build a nest?? my male hamster actually did that. both of them fight often and the female hamster is very jumpy. i think she is pregnant but i cant see her nipples turning swollen.
samm on May 15, 2012:
My teddy bear hamster just had 13 pups, and I was wondering if it was okay for her to have her wheel or not. Without it she goes crazy, but I'm afraid that she won't take care of her babies because she's always on her wheel.
Yana on May 14, 2012:
Hi, i have two robos, one female n one male. The female is pregnant right now, shd i separate the male before she give birth or after she give birth?
She had babies once but all died after i separate the male hamster, like it seems she didn't want to feed her babies. Help! I don't want the babies to die again!
Emily on May 11, 2012:
So.. my hamster just had 10 babies and she has a normal size cage but i don't know what to do? when they get older i can't afford to buy them a huge fish tank or something expensive is their anything i can make from stuff i have at home?please be as descriptive as possible. thankyou!
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on May 01, 2012:
If she has put on a lot of weight, her teats are swollen, and has been exposed to a male she may be pregnant. It is hard for me to say for sure without actually seeing her, but generally we treat a female as if she is pregnant unless we can be sure she is not. It's perfectly normal for hamsters to be very active even when pregnant, and since they are nocturnal they tend to be more active at night.
If your hamster is in a cage alone then you will know for sure within 30 days from the last time she was with a male, because she will have had her babies by then. Provide her with plenty of food, water, and nesting material and watch her over the next few weeks.
If you have any more questions be sure to ask and I will do my best to answer.
Cyruz on April 29, 2012:
I don't know if my hamster is pregnant...but it looks like its pregnant.....how would i know if she is pregnant? She is big,fat,and active evem if tis night!....PLEASE HELP ME!
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on April 26, 2012:
First let me say that the best way to handle unwanted babies is to prevent them by keeping males and females separate at all times. That said, this does happen to the best of us now and then. A female may be pregnant when you purchase her or you may unknowingly put a male and female together if you are not experienced in sexing hamsters or they are very young.
The babies will need to stay with their mother for at least 4-6 weeks before you can send them to new homes.
Many animal shelters will take hamsters and other small animals. You can check with your local pet store, while many only take animals from professional breeders they may at least allow you to post a flyer.
Jris on April 26, 2012:
I am having babies. I don't want them. Where should I take them?
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on April 25, 2012:
This happens even to the best of us. If you can easily replace the wheel without disturbing them too much then go ahead and put it back. If not you can put it in a different location in the cage (she may move the nest to the new location or leave it where it is). It's not really necessary to keep the cage in a secluded place (unless your momma has a very shy personality normally), but if you do wish to keep them in there they do need a normal amount of light everyday. I generally keep our cages out in their normal locations so that momma and babies stay used to noise and people. This helps a lot when it comes time to start holding and socializing the little ones. Good Luck with your new little family.
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on April 25, 2012:
No, in fact with dwarfs like we raise there are certain combinations of parents that will yield babies that are completely different from either parent. We started with Agouti (similar to the color of a wild rabbit) colored hamsters and had many black and even Opal (a silvery color). I will try to get a Hub up soon about breeding for specific colors. Thanks for the great question!
Ellen on April 24, 2012:
My hamster gave birth recently and up until today I thought she was a boy! I was starting to clean the cage today and picked up some bedding that apparently was her nest because a couple tumbled out of the nest. I think the wheel that I had taken out of the cage to clean was over her nest, should I put it back in or just leave them alone? I also moved the cage into my closet, is that okay or will they need some light at some point?
Beth on April 19, 2012:
Will a baby hamster olny be the color of its mom or dad?
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on April 18, 2012:
These behaviors may or may not be from being pregnant. All hamsters (including boys) tend to make nests to sleep in. The cage chewing is probably being caused by not having access to the tubes. Especially if she doesn't have a wheel or doesn't use it. Hamsters need a lot of exercise and if they don't get it they will exhibit such "nervous" behaviors. Another thing that causes inappropriate chewing is lack of appropriate media to chew on. Be sure to provide plenty of things to chew on. There are many options here including chew toys and treats made for hamsters (available at most stores that sell pet supplies. Offer unsalted peanuts (occasionally) in the shell or small pieces of carrot as treats to help satisfy the need to chew. Paper towel and toilet paper tubes are always a favorite of our hamsters, they chew on them, play with them, and even sleep inside them.
Something that might help with the stuffing the tubes with bedding would be to provide a small room off of the tubes (often referred to as hide-a-ways or something similar and available at any store that sells that type of cage). Whenever purchasing any add-on always make sure that it is compatible with your current cage.
I hope this helps. If you have more questions ask away. If I don't know the answer I will do my best to find it. Good luck!
anna on April 16, 2012:
i think my hamster is pregnant my cousin gave them to me.. and at first she take a lot of pet bedding in one of her tube up to look out but we had to take her out of there cuz she got so bedding stuck in the tubes and then she did the same to the other tubes so my husband sealed them off and now she is mad keeps chewing at her cage.. and i don't want her to escape so what should i do to calm her?
Aurora on April 06, 2012:
I just got 2 dwarf hamsters and 1s a boy and the others a girl and shes acting skittish when I try to grab her and she look like shes getting fat shes already bigger then the male and I think shes pregnant, but I still have the dad in there too, should I take the dad out right away before she has the babies or do you think hes okay for now? Both my hamsters came from the same litter I think and they're 4 weeks old, I didn't know they're gender when I got them and I didn't want this to happen but it is! What can I do to help? I want the babies to be healthy and do okay, but will the mom die or the babies die since shes so young?
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on April 01, 2012:
Hamsters can start having babies as early as 4 months old. She should be fine. The best way to tell that everything is ok with her is simply to watch her. If she is behaving relatively normal, eating about the same or a little more, drinking about the same amount of water, and her droppings appear normal then she is probably fine. It is normal for her to become less social and more aloof especially as she gets closer to delivering. Most hamsters are pretty good moms and handle pregnancy well. Good Luck!
James on March 31, 2012:
My mom is 11 months old will she live? also what should i do to make sure she is ok through everything? she is a SYRIANS hamster
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on March 22, 2012:
This can be a tough one. We have left the males in the cage with the mommas and had no problems, but that is not always the case especially with the larger breeds (I raise mostly dwarf hamsters). If they are getting along okay and not fighting you may be ok leaving them together, but watch them closely especially once the babies are born. If they you see them fussing or fighting it will be necessary to keep them apart.
Another solution if you have the type of cages that have the tubes, is to set up two separate cages but allow them to be able to "meet" with a guard between them such as the bubble ends for the tubes. There are lots of ways to set many of these cage systems up so that two or more hamsters can co-habitat without any worries about them fighting or harming each other or babies.
Max on March 22, 2012:
My hamster is pregnant so I sperate the boy from the girl but they keep fighting to get back each other what do I do?
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on March 15, 2012:
Since you can not be sure which hamster is the actual mother of the babies I would leave both females in the cage at this point. It sounds like they are all doing fine so far. Dwarf hamsters seem to co-parent when there is more than one adult in a cage. I have frequently seen males that were left in the cage assist in caring for babies. Good Luck!
april orgill on March 14, 2012:
Hello, We got 2 female dwarf hamsters from the pet store and 2 days after we bought them one had 3 babies! I didn't realize until they had been in there for a day and then i put some tissue paper in there and both of the females made the nest and have been taking care of the babies. Im pretty sure they are still fine and alive in there because i can here them. they seem to be getting along fine and both females spend most of the day in the nest. Should i be worried that the other female will cause problems and should i separate them? or would that make the other female upset if i change things up?
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on February 25, 2012:
The way I am understanding your post, Your mamma hamster is escaping her cage. First, try to sure up the cage so she cannot get out (I know that this can be difficult, if you let me know what kind of cage you are using I may be able to give more specific suggestions on how you may be able to do this.) Next, If your hamster is consistently trying to escape the cage there is something she is probably looking for that is not currently available in her cage. Somethings that may help are a wheel for exercise, chew toys (available at any pet supply store), and things she can chew up to make additional nesting material such as toilet paper tubes (a favorite of my hamsters), plain paper or cardboard without any print, or even very small fabric pieces and yarn. If you have a cage that allows adding tubes and expansions you may consider adding some and perhaps a small compartment to allow her to "escape" the babies for small periods of time.
Keep in mind that as the babies get older and more independent she will spend less and less time in the nest and encourage them to eat regular food and drink water as they are being weaned. Most babies are weaned and ready for their own cage by 4 to 6 weeks. It is important to at least separate the males from the females at that point and to give mamma back her own space.
The good news is that since the babies sound as if they are developing well and from your description are on track with their growth, so mamma must be doing something right. Try not to worry too much, hamsters are funny little critters with sometimes odd behavior, but generally mammas do a good job of taking care of their babies. Keep me posted and Good Luck!
Teresa Gourdier on February 22, 2012:
I bought about a hamster 3 weeks ago and about 11 days ago she had babies, she managed to leave her cave and found a hole in the wall and was trapped in the wall for an hour. I took the babies out for a sec, with my hands and she has been running around so much and doesn't want to stay in her home, steps over the babies to climb out the home.The babies are 11 days old (4babies), they have fur and crawl around. What can I do?? Thank you.
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on February 13, 2012:
Female hamsters can be funny like that. She may not decide where she wants her nest until right when she is ready to deliver. You may try offering her a variety or nesting materials such as toilet paper (no paper with any kind of ink.) yarn or cloth (little pieces of an old towel are often appreciated. If she does not already have one in her cage you may want to offer a small "house" (I like to use a small butter container turned upside down with a small hole cut for a door). This will provide privacy that she may be wanting right now. Hope this helped. Good Luck!
silva101 on February 12, 2012:
i bought my hamster about two weeks ago and i belived she was pregnan. because i could see her bobs better that the female i already have and she was fat and her tummy was lummpy but ive had her for about 16 day and she has not nested is that normal
nikola on February 11, 2012:
thanks for the advice
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on February 01, 2012:
The only way to keep hamsters from getting pregnant is to keep them separate. Good Luck!
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on February 01, 2012:
Katherine, Don't panic, this really isn't that unusual and she will probably spend some time in each nest. As the babies eyes open and they start to move around they will move between the two nests. I have never understood why females sometimes split a litter into two nests, but I have seen it happen many times and the babies usually do fine. Good luck!
Katherine on February 01, 2012:
My hamster gave birth to 9 babies about 3 days ago. 3 have died(natural I guess) leaving 6. The thing I don't understand is that she now has 2 nests. Both with 3 babies. Can you please explain to me why this is? It worrys me that she may be neglecting one nest.
enilorac on January 07, 2012:
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on August 30, 2011:
Alonzo, this is a simple problem to fix...Keep her in a separate cage. It is very important that males and females be kept separately unless you are purposely breeding. It's also important to have either new homes or cages for up to 10 or more babies before you breed. Two hamsters can become an unmanageable number very very quickly.
Alonzo on August 29, 2011:
In deep need of help ...my hamster is a hoe!
tamitami01 (author) from Rippey, IA on November 01, 2010:
The first thing you might notice is weight gain. Another thing you might see is her teats swollen (closer to due date. There have been plenty of times that we diagnosed pregnancy based of the pile of little pink babies in a females nest. It's not very easy to tell for sure sometimes, especially if your hamster is already overweight. I generally treat any female that has been exposed to a male as if she were pregnant and provide her with extra nesting material and keep an eye on her.
Hope that is helpful. Thanks for the great question!
milliex on October 30, 2010:
hey what were the symtoms of your hamsters pregnancy .