So, what forces hamsters to eat their own babies? There could be a lot of reasons behind this, and unfortunately, this happens commonly in the wild. Major reasons behind this act include hunger, fear, stress, and lack of space. There could be other reasons as well, such as if the babies are not healthy or if you have touched them.
Learning that hamsters can eat their own babies is a big revelation for new hamster owners. Before you start hating your hamster for doing this, read this article till the end to know the actual reason.
Reasons Why Hamsters Eat Their Own Babies
Although it is cruel, sometimes you can’t blame the hamsters for this heinous act.
Following factors can force seemingly cute hamsters to eat their own babies:
The most common situation in which hamsters eat their own offspring is when they are stressed. A lot of reasons could be behind the stress in hamsters. Due to stress, eating out their own babies is more common in young and first-time hamster mommies than slightly mature ones.
If the habitat is changed suddenly, the hamster will become stressed easily. Moreover, a lack of cleanliness in the cage can also lead to stress in the hamsters.
Stress and fear are often considered synonyms, but there’s a fine line that differentiates them.
Sudden shocks are responsible for fear in hamsters. In the wild, hamsters live alone. Hence, due to their natural instincts, the presence of any other living being can easily scare hamsters. Even the noise of a fan can cause fear in the hamsters. When a mother hamster feels threatened, she eats her own babies.
Although there is no proven scientific reason behind this, hamsters might do this to keep other animals from eating their babies. Therefore, as a responsible hamster owner, you keep all things away that can scare your hamster.
They meet their mates only when they are ready to breed. Although most of the domesticated hamsters are bred specifically to become ideal pets, they still carry the solitude-loving instinct.
For this purpose, keep your hamster’s cage in a quiet and peaceful place. Ensure that children and other pets do not enter this room.
Change In Scent
Hamsters have weak eyesight. In fact, in light, they are almost blind. This is because they are nocturnal animals. Meaning they are more active at night than during the day. Due to this lack of proper eyesight, hamsters rely on their smelling sense a lot.
Mother hamster recognizes her children by smelling the scent she mark them with. When you touch the baby hamsters for whatever reason, your scent mixes with the original scent. Due to the changed scent, the mother is sometimes confused and isn’t able to recognize her own offspring.
When the mother hamster cannot sense her marked smell, she considers babies as some other small animals and eats them.
Lack Of Food
You have come up with a great diet schedule for your hamster. Everything is going well. Your hamster got pregnant, but you didn’t change the diet of your hamster. This will lead to a lack of food as the mother hamster needs extra food to nourish baby hamsters in her womb.
Even after the hamster has given birth to its litter, she will need excessive food to take care of them. If you fail to give her the food she needs, she will eventually become hungry. This hunger will force the mother hamster to become cruel and eat her babies.
For this, you can’t blame the mother hamster. If your pet hamster is eating her babies because of hunger, then it’s your fault, not her.
Disease In Litter
If the litter of your hamster is not healthy, then she might eat them. Undoubtedly this is an awful way to end the misery for the babies. The mother does this for their good. In the wild, unhealthy baby hamsters don’t survive. It is why mother hamsters start eating them instinctively.
Just like in the case of fear, mother hamsters don’t want any other animal to eat their children.
Lack Of Space
If you have placed the hamster and babies in a tiny place, she will eat them to make more space. This is why buying a suitable cage for your hamster when she is pregnant is very important. As a hamster owner, it is your responsibility to provide enough space to the mother hamster for her babies.
New hamster owners should be well aware that hamsters can give birth to up to 8 babies in one cycle. Hence, you should take adequate measures to tackle this crowd.
What Can You Do?
Almost all of the factors that motivate a mother hamster to eat her babies can be eliminated. You just need determination, some time, little care, and proper guidance. Leave the guidance part on us and prepare for the rest.
You can take the following precautions to keep the mother hamster from eating her babies:
Don’t Touch Babies
Yes! No matter how tempted you are to touch those cute little pouches but don’t do it. By doing this, you will interfere in the natural parenting of the hamsters. Touching can cause fear and stress in the mother hamster, leading to the babies’ brutal killing.
Moreover, by touching, your scent will mask the scent that the mother hamster uses to recognize her children. When the mother hamster isn’t able to recognize the scent, she will consider babies as imposters. In order to save her nest, she will eat the babies that are unrecognizable.
On that account, refrain from touching baby hamsters until they are one month old.
Place The Cage In Peaceful Environment
This is a very important point. The place where you put the cage of the hamster and her babies should be peaceful. If it’s a busy place like a living room where all the family members and other pets spend time, babies won’t survive long.
There are a lot of risks involved in placing a cage in the middle of a busy spot. Fear can develop, the situation can also stress out the hamster and whatnot. This pushes the mother hamster to harm her little cotton balls. Therefore, especially when babies are young, place the cage far from noise, people, and pets.
Provide Good Nesting Materials
Mother hamsters can also kill their babies if she is overwhelmed and is unable to take care of them properly. You can make a female hamster comfortable by providing her with comfortable material for nesting. This will keep the mother calm and babies safe.
Moreover, suitable nesting material can also play an important role in keeping babies healthy.
Take Care Of Her Food
Do your study before providing food to your hamster if she is pregnant. The needs of pregnant hamsters naturally increase as they have to nourish around 6 to 8 babies in their wombs. Therefore, be smart and don’t carry the normal routine diet schedule.
The chances of a hamster eating her children due to hunger will eliminate if you provide adequate food.
Buy A Big Cage
If your hamster is pregnant, then it is time to spend some bucks. To welcome the upcoming guests, you will need a larger space. Hamsters are very conscious about the space they live in. There are a lot of issues with small space to parent the young ones.
Therefore, without wasting any time, buy a cage that provides ample space for the hamster and its babies.
We have added some commonly asked questions related to the topic so that you can have a better understanding:
No, the male hamsters or even fathers of the babies can also eat them. Male hamsters can do this out of fear, stress, or hunger.
Female hamsters mark their pups with their own scent to recognize them. If you touch the babies when they need their mother for growth, the mother will abandon them. Therefore, the best time to interact with the babies is after one month of their birth.
Hamsters don’t bite their babies with the intention to hurt them. A female hamster will use its mouth to grab her children to carry them.
Hamsters Eating Their Babies Wrapped Up
Everything regarding hamsters is lovely apart from the fact that they can eat their own children. In this post, we learned that there could be multiple reasons behind this strange behavior. Sometimes, hamsters can eat their babies in order to save them from worldly harshness.
In other cases, the hamsters can become annoyed or so hungry that they eat their own babies. There are other psychological explanations as well, like hamsters eat their offspring when they are stressed or scared.
Although this is an awful way to treat things, hamsters are usually not at fault. Hamster owners don’t properly understand their pets which leads to mishaps.
You, as a hamster owner, should provide mother hamster will ample space and food. Moreover, don’t forget to give her the peace she needs to parent her children.