Q:

Why do hamsters eat their young?

A:

Quick Answer

The mother of a litter of hamsters may eat her young because she knows that eating them will provide better for the rest of the litter; hamsters have an instinct that allows them to think about the good of the entire litter before thinking about one single hamster. Unlike humans, hamsters have many babies at once, and a mother hamster must consider this fact when she is deciding on what to do with babies that she cannot properly care for.

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Full Answer

A mother hamster will generally only eat her babies, or pups, when she is stressed, when one of the pups is making life harder for the rest of the litter, when she knows she cannot provide for it, when she is confused by the scent of the baby or when she knows that there is something wrong with the pup. For these reasons, it is important to not interfere with a new mother and a litter of hamsters.

When hamsters are born, they are blind, hairless and deaf. They are not able to communicate with their mother in the ways that human babies do. A mother hamster must rely on her instincts when taking care of pups. Sometimes, the instincts tell the mother that she must kill one or more babies to protect the rest of the litter.

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