Baby Hamsters: All You Need To Know
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Baby Hamsters Facts
Being one of the most popular pets their babies are pretty easily available from hamster owners and breeders. They are adorable, cuddly, and require low maintenance.
Even then it is important to know the basic details of their development. This article guides owners through their growth and milestones.
What Is A Baby Hamster Called?
Baby hamsters are usually referred to as pups or sometimes as kittens. Some more terms associated with them are baby Syrian hamsters, baby Russian Dwarf hamsters, baby Dwarf hamsters, baby teddy bear hamsters, and baby Robo Dwarf hamsters. They can be called by any of these names irrespective of their type or breed.
How Often Do Hamsters Have Babies?
A female hamster usually breeds once or twice in her whole life according to their breeders. This fact can be attributed to the fact that these creatures are small and delicate creatures that may need quite some time to recover after delivery.
The average life span of hamsters is 2-3 years. The gestation time may differ depending on their species. For instance, in the Syrian hamsters, the pregnancy lasts only 16 days, whereas in dwarf breeds the period may last up to 18-21 days.
Breeds like the Roborovski hamster, stay pregnant for 30 days. After completion of gestation, they go into labor. Labour usually lasts 1-2 hours, with the pups arriving every 15-30 minutes.
It is critical that the mother may not be disturbed in any manner during labor, as any form of stress can cause them to attack and eat their young.
What Do Baby Hamsters Look Like?
There may be some variations in babies of different breeds like Syrian hamsters and Dwarf hamsters. But some characteristics are general to all hamster babies of all breeds.
Hamster babies or Baby Hamsters are pink and at the time of birth hairless, they often rely on their siblings and mother for warmth. These Baby Hamsters have their eyes and ears closed that remain so till the first week and possess teeth on birth.
The Baby Hamsters size will depend on their breed. The largest breed is the Syrian hamster and their puppies when fully grown, based on this we can imagine how tiny the Syrian Baby Hamsters are gonna be. In the case of Dwarf hamsters, they would be even smaller.
Baby Hamsters Week By Week Growth
Major psychological alteration and development occur within the first week of a hamster’s life. The transition from a helpless baby to an independent adult within few weeks.
Baby Hamsters: Week One
The Baby Hamsters will not be that active during their first week and usually spend their time huddling in their nest. The growth and development period may vary slightly in different breeds. In most the ears open by the end of the first week and others it might take up to one week more.
Some fur growth can also be observed and it also depending on the coat color. The caretaker does not interfere or interact with the puppies in any way during this week to avoid stressing their mother in any manner.
Baby Hamsters do not even clean the cage for this week. They are completely dependent on the mother who endows them with care. If the mother gets stressed during this time she may resort to cannibalism or may abandon the litter.
Why Do Hamsters Eat Their Babies?
Under some circumstances like if the mother is alerted of any danger during the first week she may actually kill and eat her own babies. This will be upsetting for their owner and they may want to avoid this from happening at all costs.
So why do hamsters eat their babies?
This cannot be seen in the case of every litter. This may happen if one of the babies dies, then the mother may eat it get rid of the carcass, and clean the nest.
The mother also kills the whole litter if they have been handed by the humans in any way and have human scent on them as this can confuse their mother who may see them as a threat.
During this period it is important that nutritional food be made available to the mother. In normal instances, hamsters do not feed on their healthy pups.
When Can You Touch Baby Hamsters?
The owners should restrain themselves from touching Baby Hamsters until completely necessary. It is even more critical in case the mother has given birth before. The mothers are notorious for eating their babies if they get stressed.
Baby Hamsters: Week Two
Baby Hamsters depend on their mother for parental care as they are still defenseless. They can thermoregulate by the end of the week as their fur grows. The mother nurses the young that fulfills their nutritional requirements.
During this week also the caretakers take caution and do not approach the babies or clean the nest. It is best to leave them as such for them to have a healthy life.
Week Two Milestones
Baby Hamsters’s ears start to open depending on their type, and they start to gain some mobility. In the case of Syrian hamster babies, their ears open and they start to show some mobility. While in the instance of Chinese and Dwarf varieties they won’t open them till the second week.
The mother starts to give the babies solid food and spends most of her time foraging for food for the puppies as well as for her. The fur grows and becomes much more visible. This helps them to maintain their body temperature as they attempt to leave the nest in a short while.
What do Baby Hamsters Eat?
Baby Hamsters are nursed by their mother and taken complete care of. They derive all the necessary nutrition by this method.
If the mother dies during labor or rejects the litter then the caretaker may hand-feed baby hamsters. This might become a full-time job and the success rate is also low. It is always best to consult a local vet if you need to hand raise the babies.
After 10 days, Baby Hamsters start to feed on solid food. They at first will eat little as they get all the required nutrition from their mother. With time they will wean off and will be capable of feeding adult diet.
When Do Baby Hamsters Open Their Eyes?
At the end of the second week, the pup opens its eyes and this period is almost the same in all breeds. This helps them to gain more dependence on the alteration in nutrition.
Baby Hamsters: Week Three
By this time they look like a smaller version of their adults. As by time both ears and eyes are opened, their fur has also completely grown and thus enabling them to find food without anyone’s aid.
They no longer rely on their mother for comfort, food, or safety. They will complete weaning and be on their own. They learn to employ a water bottle but others need to be encouraged.
By this time they are safe to be picked and handled by humans as they have become independent.
When To Separate Baby Hamsters
The hamster babies are referred to as pups when they venture to leave by themselves. This period may vary in different species and often occurs at the end of weaning. While some may persist with their mother for some time even after weaning as in Dwarf hamsters.
This may occur if their size is small or they haven’t grown sufficiently yet. In such cases, the pups may be separated after weaning. It is the third week that most hamster pups are adopted as pets.
How To Take Care Of Baby Hamsters
Human interventions should be restricted until the third week or until they are weaned so that the pups may remain healthy. During this time the mother may provide completely for them. After weaning they do not require any special care and can be treated as adults.