6 Things You Should Never Do If Your Hamster Has Babies
Your female hamster giving birth to a litter of cute, little, pink babies is a very exciting time. If this has happened to you, congratulations! It's always great when your pet has a child or three of their own.
Although it can be easy to want to play with them right away, it's very important, especially in the first two weeks of the babies' lives, that they and their mother feel safe and calm. Here are things you shouldn't do if your hamster has babies.
Do You Have Hamster Babies Right Now?
1. Don't Look at the Babies
Although you have probably seen them at least once already, it's important that you don't move things around to have a look at the babies. Chances are that the mother is keeping them somewhere safe such as a concealed corner or a small house if she has one. If the mother sees you trying to find her offspring, she may take this as a threat, no matter how much she trusts you.
Hamsters are very territorial creatures and, after all, you are a lot bigger than she is. Even if you have a very strong bond with your hamster, don't go looking for the babies. You'll be able to hear their cries when you're nearby.
2. Don't Make Loud Noises
It's very important that the hamsters' cage is somewhere quiet after she's had the babies. Sudden or loud noises can cause her to panic, which can result in her killing and eating the babies. This may seem harsh, but the survival instincts tell the mother that danger is nearby and she has to sacrifice her offspring for the nest’s overall safety.
Put the hamster in a quiet room that isn't used much, or ideally, a spare room where there is little to no noise. You don't have any control over noises outside the house such as the weather, motorcycles, or sirens, but make sure that small children don't make noises in the room, the cage isn't knocked or moved, and you don't go in there to vacuum.
3. Don't Try to Touch the Babies for at Least Several Weeks
As well as avoiding looking at the babies when they're very young, ward off touching them until they're moving around on their own and have fur. If the mother detects your scent on her babies, she'll kill them. Also, don't disturb them by trying to take photographs of them, however tempting it might be.
4. Don't Let Other Hamsters Into the Cage
Unlike humans, hamsters don't really get attached to their children beyond the initial care when they're very small. It might be tempting to let the father hamster, if you have him, into the cage to meet the children. Don't do this.
The hamster mother can be moody—she might not always want the father around even at the best of times. The presence of another hamster can also frighten the mother. Keep all other hamsters away from the mother's cage.
5. Don't Clean the Cage
Hamster cages are supposed to be cleaned at least once a week, but after a hamster has babies, cleaning the cage is a big no-no.
Drop kitchen roll and extra food into the cage (as quietly as you can), and change the water every day as always. The hamster will use the kitchen roll to make softer bedding for her babies and she'll also need extra food. If she thinks there isn't enough nutrition for her and her children, you guessed it—she might end up killing her little ones.
6. Don't Pick Up the Mother or Take Her out of the Cage
You might be the type of hamster owner who brings out the hamster every few days or so to play with them. However, you must leave her alone while she's taking care of her young. She won't get lonely as she'll be busy feeding her babies and keeping them warm.
Taking her out of the cage will just cause her distress, and your scent will get on her as well, which might confuse the pups. Leave her alone for at least a couple of weeks.
Avoid doing these six things, and give your new hamster babies a much greater chance of surviving!
Once your hamsters have grown a little, it's time to decide what to do with them. Consider giving them away to new homes once they're big enough, or if the mother only has one or two, you could consider keeping them if you have the space. Just be sure to do some research on the type of hamsters you have and their living habits. Good luck!
Questions & Answers
My hamster gave birth this morning, and now she won’t even look at her babies. Should I do something to keep them warm and fed? Or do I just leave them alone and see if she starts to care for them?
There are some things I need to know first. Is your hamster young? Is it her first litter? If your answer to these questions is yes, then it’s more likely she will abandon them. Don’t interfere though; let nature take its course. She may not abandon them at all. Give her extra food and water and make sure she’s in a quiet room. Leave them alone, just giving her food and tissue paper, for two weeks and then check up on them.
My hamster gave birth this morning. Two of them died while she was giving birth, and another two died while she was hiding her babies. Is that normal for hamsters?
I’m so sorry that happened to you. Does the mother have a dark place to hide? Is she in a calm and quiet room? The best thing you can do is to leave the mother with lots of tissue paper, water, and food and make sure she is in a stress-free environment. Disturb her as little as possible.
It is possible that she killed some of her pups because she’s worried that there isn’t enough food, or that she can’t take care of them all. However, you said they died, so it might just be that they didn’t survive. Dispose of the bodies of you haven’t already.
As you’ll find in the article, try to keep the hamsters in a quiet room, and don’t disturb them. The mother will generally know what to do. If the mother is very young, she may not be able to take care of them, unfortunately.
My hamster just gave birth to her first pups this evening, She is squeaking more than them. She is on a shelf alone. Why is she squeaking at them?
That does sound strange. Are they high-pitched, short squeaks? Sometimes hamsters squeak when they're happy. If she is very young, she may not be ready to have pups and might end up killing or neglecting them. Keep an eye on them (but don't disturb their nest) for the next few days and let me know what's going on.
Can the male dwarf hamster be with his pups? Or should I remove him?
Definitely remove him. Even if he doesn’t harm the pups, he might breed with the mother again in a couple of weeks.
© 2017 Poppy