5 Reasons: Why Do Hamsters Eat Their Babies?
There are lots of pet owners who have experienced this thing from their pet hamsters. And the first thing that comes into mind is why do hamsters eat their babies? Humans most obviously don’t understand the reason behind this, but for the hamster mothers, they have a real reason for killing their own babies. Or we can say that they have several reasons to do that. If you are also wondering what possible reasons a mother would have to kill her newborns. Well, the main reason behind that is being practical about understanding the harsh reality of life.
Just like all other animals, hamsters are also driven by natural instincts about everything. And that instinct also applies to her kids. Many pet owners have reported that their pet hamster killed her newborns. This most commonly happens in extreme conditions. Hopefully, the reasons we are providing you will be enough for you to understand the hard choices a new mother had to make.
Why Hamsters kill her babies?
The hamsters live a risky life out in the wild. And as they have been domesticated over the past centuries, they still haven’t been over the wildlife they used to live. The killing part is just being the animals that lived in nature and had to remember the self-preservation tactics. The valid reasons for the hamsters to kill and eat their babies are mentioned below:
Sacrifice For The Greater Good:
Maybe the killing is about being a mother. As a parent, the hamsters also have to fulfill the needs of her offspring. And it is a tremendous responsibility to take care of. So, when a mother thinks that she can’t provide her babies enough care and attention, then she is driven by the litter-preservation impulse and kills them. And as their dead body won’t be of any use, she also ends up eating them.
Usually, the mother makes the decision by looking at their health condition and elaborately plan whether they will be able to survive or not. Even when a mother thinks that she won’t be able to manage such a large brood, she will reduce the number herself. Unlucky for the newborns, there is no possible way to change the natural instinct of an animal.
Stress and Fear:
The first and foremost reason for acting out like this is fear. When a hamster becomes a mother for the first time, she gets stressed a lot. There is a big fear associated with having and bearing the babies. This can be too much to handle for the small pets who understand that they are prey animals.
The newborns can be very demanding, and the mother gets irritated. Sometimes, fear and stress can also be caused by pet owners. The mother needs space after having kids. And if she doesn’t get that space, then she will ultimately kill the babies. So, it is your responsibility to give her space and freedom. Just leave her alone and don’t stick around the cage all day long.
This is one of the biggest reasons why mothers kill their newborn babies. The hamsters are shortsighted and rely on their sense of smell to identify their babies. It is the smell of the babies that connect the mother and babies. But the pet owners don’t understand this fact. They get so excited about the babies that they take them out of the cage and handle them with their bare hands. This leaves a trail of human smell on them which often don’t seem familiar with their real odor. This mixing p confuses the mother, and she rejects them. The smell you leave on the baby also plays a major factor. So, no matter what you do, stay away from the babies and never touch them unless they are grown 2-4 weeks. After they’ve become old enough, you will be able to play with them as much as you want.
It mostly happens in the wild. When the mother doesn’t feel like she can provide enough water and food to the kids, she will be indistinctively forced to make a tough decision. If she can’t figure out a way to keep them safe and fulfilled, then she kills a few of them to make sure that the others survive. Luckily, when the hamsters are kept as pets, the owners can prevent the situation. They have to make sure that their mother and the babies have everything they need to survive.
Physical Condition Of The Babies:
It is also a vital factor that forces the hamster mother to kill and eat her baby. If one or few of the babies are physically incapable of surviving on their own, then she kills them. It can also happen if the baby as some kind of issue or disease. Then the mother has to kill the litter to ensure that the rest of her litter stays safe.
How can you prevent the hamster from killing and eating her babies?
The best thing you can do for your pets is making them feel safe and protected inside your house. The main reason for a mother to eat her babies is fear. But you can remove these reasons from her life. Just keep the following points in mind, and you will be able to prevent something like this from happening.
- Relocate the father of the babies in a different cage as soon as the babies are born.
- Let the mother create a bond with her babies in a peaceful and sound environment.
- Don’t try to pet the newborns until they are two weeks older.
- Provide as much as you can including food, water, and other essential nutrients.
As you can see, becoming a mother is a very crucial age for hamsters. Thus, as they are your pets, you also need to be responsible and fulfill your duties towards them. And it is vital that you do it right.
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