Whitney is a hamster parent. She hates to see her furry friends suffer and enjoys educating others of best husbandry practices.
You just got a new female hamster, but don't be surprised if she has babies right away. This is especially common in places that have community hamster enclosures. Having a littler of hamster babies just isn't ideal for most people, especially when it comes to, "What do I do with all these mini hamsters!?"
If your hamster is pregnant, you can try to return the babies to the pet store that you purchased the hamster from, you can give them away to friends, or keep them yourself. What you do with the babies is up to you. What's important is preventing a litter if you can help it, which is why it's important to house same-sex pairs or keep hamsters individually housed (best case scenario, especially for Syrian hamsters).
When Can My Hamster Get Pregnant?
Female hamsters have a 12-hour period in which she can get pregnant, but that 12-hour window occurs every four days.
How old does a hamster have to be to become pregnant?
Females hamsters are sexually mature as early as 4 to 5 weeks old, which means at that time they can become pregnant.
Do I leave the male in with the female?
The species of hamster will determine if the male should remain with the female or not. Winter White hamsters will block a pregnancy if the male is removed, whereas the other hamster species may experience aggression.
Syrian hamsters are always best when housed by themselves, so removing the male won't hurt a thing. Female Chinese hamsters will become very aggressive, so she will need to be removed after a few hours of being with the male. Campbell's hamsters will be fine living together, and Winter Whites must be left together in order to have a valid pregnancy, if that's what you're looking for.
Is She Really Pregnant?
The female hamster will get fatter, especially 10 to 18 days after mating with a male. Some species, like the Syrian hamster, may spend less time exercising on the wheel and more time making a nesting area. Pregnant females will generally stay on the ground level of the cage.
When Will She Have the Babies?
It takes an average of 15 to 21 days after mating for the female to have her babies, depending on the species of hamster. (See the chart below.)
What Can I Do To Help Her?
Leave the hamster alone as much as you can. Make sure that she has fresh food and water. Try to offer fresh vegetables like broccoli and carrots so that the female hamster can boost her nutrition and keep a balanced diet for the babies growing inside her.
Why Did the Hamster Eat Her Babies?
Female hamsters will eat their young if they feel they are threatened. If the mother is sick, she may eat the young. Stress seems to be the most common cause of a mother hamster eating her young.
Female hamsters will eat their babies any time from the day they are born up until about 14 days, although the odds are higher that within the first few days she will eat the young versus a few weeks old.
How Do I Prevent a Hamster from Eating Her Babies?
The best thing that you can do to attempt to prevent the mother hamster from eating her babies is to leave her alone. Do not gawk at the babies, try to remove them or the mother, or fiddle with the cage.
Leave the cage alone, put food in the cage and check water, and try to reduce the amount of stress on the mother as much as you can. Ensure that the cage is in a quiet room where no other pets can harass her, and try to ensure that the temperatures are not too hot or cold.
|Species||Gestation||Litter Size||Weaning Age|
Read More From Pethelpful
- Day 1: Baby hamsters can't see but they can communicate with their mother and other hamsters. They will drink from their mother. Do not bother them.
- Day 2-3: Baby hamsters that will have darker fur coloring will start to develop pigment on their skin. Continue to leave them alone.
- Day 4-5: The ear canals have opened and the babies can hear much better. A faint sheen of fur will start to grow.
- Day 6-7: The ears will bear a little bit of fur, and the body will have short fur all over it. The baby hamsters will start to nibble on solid food, even though their eyes aren't open yet. They will also start moving about the cage.
- Day 10-15: The fur will be more identifiable. The eyes will start to open, and will be fully opened by day 14-16. The babies will be more comfortable wandering around at this point.
- Day 16-21: The baby hamsters will have fully erupted teeth and they will be able to eat, and will do so with full enthusiasm. They will start to grow a good bit more at this point.
- Day 21-28: You will notice that the baby hamsters are now more like small adult hamsters versus alien babies. At this point, the mother is able to get pregnant again, and the current babies are fully weaned.
- Day 28-35: The young hamsters are now sexually mature, and should be separated from the mother and into cages separating the males and females. (See picture below.) This is generally the best time to go ahead and find homes for your hamsters and start placing them. They are still small and growing, but they look like adult hamsters and are able to thrive on their own without mom.
How To Sex Baby Hamsters
It is easier to tell the gender on hamsters when they are a little older, as the males will have very large and pronounced testicles. Plus, the anogenital distance (distance between anus and penis) will be greater on males than with females.
If you are trying to sex baby hamsters, it can be a little trickier, but typically males will start to have noticeable testicles at about 4 weeks old. Dwarf hamsters may be a little harder to sex, as their testicles are not as noticeable at that age, but they will have a scent gland near the belly button that you may be able to spot. Females will have noticeable nipples if the hair is short enough.
The most reliable way to tell the gender of baby hamsters is by the space between the butt and the penis in males and the butt and vaginal opening in females. The closer to two are, the more likely the hamster is a female, and the further the distance, the more likely the hamster is a male.
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.
Kaelyn on July 23, 2018:
I have no idea my hamster is pregnant because it was it was never with a boy but it still acts like it's pregnant because he drinks a lot of water it doesn't really exercise in its wheel like it likes hiding and putting it head out of the beding and when she hides please tell me if she's pregnant or not
Jada on February 09, 2016:
It's been 35 days since my hamster Mated and still didn't have her babies is she pregnant or not? Is she sick? In destress ? Please tell me if you know
Sophia on August 13, 2013:
I need help I got a new syrian hamster the other day and I think she is pregnant cause her nipples are red only the bottom ones and she is making a nest... Is she pregnant?
loliloil on February 22, 2013:
my hamster had 18 babies!!!!!!!!!!
Guest 1 on May 14, 2012:
My hamster (dwarf) had babies last night!!! We didn't even know she was preg. Because we were told the pet store only sold makes. Obviously that was not true. What can I feed her or let her drink to help her make food for her pups
hey on April 05, 2012:
Okay fist off if u put a male and female hampster together she is gonna be pregnant. Secondly breeding hampsters is irresponsible unless you are fully aware of the commitment and it seems none of you are
charly on February 16, 2012:
i need 2 know if my syrian is preg.. coz she is always nesting and spending more time in bed. my male keeps on chasing her, sniffing her, and biting her then leaving deep wounds in her.she is sorta fat but not sure my mum does not know as the hamsters are mine but i just need help with her. i would LOVE her to have babies though, im not sure if the male has mated with her at all. nether the less, she could of mated with any boys at the pet shop, since i only got her 2 days ago.if i carfully wake her she will either eat a couple of nuts or go straight back 2 bed.
michelle on August 16, 2011:
can a hamster get pregnat without a male hamster
tectonic from Singapore on February 19, 2011:
Great information you’ve got.
Somebody get’em a beer!
larrisa on February 06, 2011:
I'm playing on buying a female hamster for my male hamster and if she gets pregnant. what do i do to so she has healthy baby's? (there both robo hamster)
marian on January 04, 2011:
i really do not know if my hamster is pregie.. she was with a male hamster for 7 days in one cage until i separated them... whenever i try to let the male hamster in the female's cage for stretching (the male cage is small) he would sniff the female's butt but then the female runs off..fast!! and she is very jumpy.. i don't think she is nesting but she did start hiding food in this mini "tv" thing i boght at the pet store..i made it bigger now incase she wants a bigger nest.. i suspect to be pregnant at first now i don't really know...help me? cause i dont want no babie right now.. i mean she's an adult no wonder.. but im afraid of how the babies will be after they are born... i mean on how i could be able to take care of them or not.. help me :(
michelle on December 16, 2010:
Hi, please help me i have 2 russian dwarf hamsters, i have had them for about 6 weeks & the guy in the shop said they was 4 weeks old & both female, they are living in the same cage but completely swapped roles, the darker haired hamster was very timid, now she races around on the wheel all day & night, the lighter haired was more nosey,however has bitten me a couple of times, last night i noticed a second bedding being made outside of the cage, the friendlier hamster just sits in the (plastic) bed (their original home) & there is an awful lot of food in the bed when i just looked, please tell me your opinion, not sure if she is pregnant as i was told i had 2 girls???? thanks michelle x
Whitney (author) from Georgia on October 31, 2010:
She could be pregnant. Just keep an eye out
milliex on October 30, 2010:
i got her about four weeks ago , she is one month and one week old , she was with males at the pet shop . yesterday i could c her her nipples faintly i can see them a bit more clearer today . she slept all night last night and is just sat in her bed atm
Whitney (author) from Georgia on October 29, 2010:
Has she been with a male?
Many hamsters hoard food in their beds.
How long have you had her?
milliex on October 29, 2010:
my hamster is hoarding food in her bed and hardly eating it , is getting fatter near her bum , sides and belly . she nibbles my fingers a lot , and is pooing more than normal , i can also see her nipples faintly . is she pregnant ? please help !!!!! ps she is a russian hamster .
AndrewGee on February 25, 2010:
I had a pregnant hamster a couple of times. They were russians, which i why they were housed together. Afterwards we had to separate the male because he became viscious (we called him jaws, and he would launch himself across the cage if you put your hand in!). The female started doing somersaults just before she gave birth. The crazy thing is we didn't even realise! One day I looked in the cage when I hadn't seen one of the hamsters around and suddenly said to my wife, 'We've got babies!!!'