What Cause Hamsters to Eat Their Babies?

It may be a horrible situation to find out that your hamsters have eaten their babies. There are some causes in nature, though sometimes we don’t really understand it. Hamsters are known to be a very sensitive and in-tune with their offspring’s health, however, they can also do it as a response of stress.

Get to know these ways to properly take care of the newborn baby hamster.

That’s why, if you experience this situation, then you have to understand the reasons why it happens. The root cause may depend on stress factors, litter size and certain smell that cause the mom to act out. Let’s get a better understanding on what cause the hamsters to eat their babies.

  • Lack of adequate food

A full diet that feeds both mother hamster and her babies is fully required by a lactating mother. A lactating mother needs to produce milk for multiple pups and as a result, she needs adequate nutrition to thrive. If the mother doesn’t get adequate food in her diet, then she might eat a pup to get proper sustenance.

A mother hamster needs a very high amount of extra protein in her diet while she is pregnant and nursing. To prevent her eating her pup, then you can provide these sources of protein, such as boiled egg, mealworm and unseasoned beef or chicken. Besides, you can also feed lots of veggies and fruits, such as apples, pears, bananas, Romaine lettuce, and others.

Get to know all kinds of vegetables that can be eaten by hamsters.

  • There’s something wrong with the pup

There are some health conditions that we may not be aware of in baby hamsters. However, the mom is aware of it. That’s why if the mom senses something wrong with the baby, she will often reject it. However, it is also common to see her eating the abnormal baby in order to get it away from the rest of the litter.

These issues can be a wide-ranging potential, from genetic defects to illness. Mother hamster may not always eat her babies, but she wouldn’t be likely to care for them. This is instinctual for animals to care for only for the ones they know will survive.

  • Getting overwhelmed with the litter size

Do you know that hamsters can give birth to 20 pups in 1 litter? That should be a very overwhelming experience for the mother. When the mother hamster feels overwhelmed over the litter size, she might start eating a couple of them to thin things out. This is not out of aggression, instead it is for survival.

The mother hamster knows that she won’t be able to produce enough nutrition to keep all of the babies alive. Hamsters only have 12 nipples. If she ends up having too many babies, then she might keep what she thinks the healthiest and discard the rest out of necessity.

If your hamster is still pregnant, make sure you are knowledgeable of these tips to take care of a pregnant hamster at home.

  • Mother wants to protect the babies

When a mother feels threatened of the surroundings, she will surely try to save the babies. If she thinks that her babies will be preyed upon, then she might end up eating them to handle the problem.

The situation is within the realm of possibility. It could be as simple as a cat who is lingering around or something unpleasant which trigger her danger feelers.

  • Stress

A mother hamster may end up eating her babies due to hormones in combination with stress. When she is not feeling comfortable with her environment and doesn’t feel safe of her surroundings then she will feel stressful. If she feels this way, then she may end up eating her babies as a response.

To solve this, you can keep their cage in a quiet and calm spot so that they don’t have too much interference. You have to make sure that they stay in a very comfortable and safe environment.

  • First-time woes

Not all animals have motherly instinct. There are some which don’t know how to approach motherhood. If the mother hamsters are too young and inexperienced, then they might not have any idea how to handle all of the changes in their body.

When they have their babies, they may not fully get the hang of it. Lack of natural maternal instincts also plays an important role in a mother eating her babies. 

If your hamsters just give birth of their babies, make sure you know these easy ways to care for mother hamster with its babies. You can also prevent them from eating their babies. Read more about it in effective ways to stop hamster from eating her babies. You need to save the babies!