Hamsters can be great pets and can bring you great moments of pleasure, develop a certain bond with your family. They are sensitive little creatures but at times the female hamsters can be very cruel towards their newborns. It may sound extremely horrific but the females while killing her young ones are guided by her instincts and certain reasons.
In this article, we will highlight all the major reasons behind a female killing and eating her babies. We will also suggest you some ways in which you can avoid this unpleasant act from happening.
Reasons behind Hamsters eating their Babies
It is difficult for humans to understand the reasons behind such acts. After considerable research on animal behavior, we have come to discover the major reasons behind it. They are explained below.
Stress, anxiety, and fear
There is a lot of stress associated with giving birth for the first time in hamsters. First- time mothers are also afraid of bringing up their babies. The demands of her babies can exceed her expectations and it can lead to increased stress and anxiety. This may force her to kill one of the babies and feed them to others. Anxiety and fear are also increased by the behavior of the pet owners. They start taking pictures of the babies and act excited around the cage. Make sure that you stay away from the cage after the birth and only check on your pets for a few times during the day and ensure that they are well-provided for. In this way, you can avoid playing any part in the killing of the baby hamsters.
Small cages can also make the mother hamster nervous and force her to kill her babies. When the mother hamster feels that space is not enough for its family, it may decide to kill one of her babies and provide for the rest of the family. Even hamster cages less than 450 square inches are dangerous, that’s why we have shared these Syrian hamster cages that have enough space to move around.
Make sure that you provide enough space for the offsprings and mother as well. You can increase the cage space by making modifications in the cage by adding tubes and additional compartments in the cage for the babies.
Hamster mother’s relationship with their young ones is based on the scent. Baby hamsters are hairless and blind. They are very beautiful when they are born, you may be tempted to hold them and pat them with love. Doing so, you can alter the scent of the baby. A mother hamster smells this scent to identify her babies. The altered scent may lead the mother to think that her babies are now impure and they have some kind of flaw in them. In order to avoid this impurity to spread in the entire family, the mother hamster may kill the baby and save the rest of the family. Make sure that you do not hold the baby hamsters for at least a couple of weeks so its scent remains pure and the mother can develop her bond with the babies.
Insufficient food and water
A mother hamster may feel that the diet given to her family is not enough for the family. She may get nervous about this and take the harsh decision to sacrifice one of her babies. This decision is being made for the overall well-being of her family. The family can feed on the killed hamster for some days. You can avoid this incident by making sure that the family is given more than enough fresh food and water. In this way, she will realize that there is enough for the entire family and she can take care of her brood. Make sure that you always add more food before the previous supply ends. This will keep the mother hamster calm.
More care for the family
If the family size increases very much and the mother hamster is unable to give time to all of her babies; the mother may decide to sacrifice one or two of her babies. She takes this tough decision for the betterment of the family. The mother knows that she is the only one to provide for the family, so by reducing the size of the family by a certain number; she can manage them in a better way. You can avoid this by making sure that there is certainly space in the cage and the hamsters are well provided for.
Unlike humans, animals are not guided by reason. They are controlled by instincts. If the animals think that their offspring can be dangerous for them or the rest of the family, they will either it or kill it. This makes sure that they and the rest of the family survives and feeds on the killed member. There is no particular way to deal with this factor behind hamsters killing and eating their babies.
Abnormal or physically weak babies
Sometimes the mother hamster’s decision to kill and eat the offspring is based on the condition of the newborn babies. She may decide that such babies are not going to do well in the future and are going to die anyway, so why not kill them right away. If you notice that there is any baby hamster with a physical disability, you can very carefully separate it from the family. Please be careful that you do not touch other babies in the process as it can contaminate their scent.
It is also possible that the mother can get sick during the process of giving birth. She feels like she needs additional nutrients to keep her safe. In that crucial time, she may feel that it is right to eat one of her babies to give her extra amount of energy and diet.
Some Precautions to stop your Hamster from eating her Babies
- Remove the male hamster from the cage as his presence can increase the stress level of the mother.
- Do not spend too much time near the cage. Make sure that you place the cage in a quiet environment.
- Do not touch the pups for at least two weeks after their birth.
- The mother should have an ample amount of food and water so that she can feed herself and her family.
- The cage should be large enough to provide ample space for every hamster inside it.
We know that you love your hamster pets and that is why we have highlighted every aspect related to hamsters killing and eating their babies. It is an act of nature. All you need to do is ensure all the things mentioned in this article are taken care of. If your hamster still ends up killing her babies, then it is not your fault; it is just animal behavior.