Q:

Why do hamsters eat their young?

A:

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.

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.

Learn More
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do I know when my guinea pig will give birth?

    A:

    Although initial signs of pregnancy are difficult to detect, Loving Your Pet explains that pregnant guinea pigs drink more water and grow larger; however, pregnancy cannot be confirmed until the latter stages when her young can be felt through her skin. Guinea pigs prefer to give birth at night, labor lasting between 15 to 40 minutes, says Guinea Lynx. They often eat the afterbirth and placenta, hiding all evidence of a messy delivery.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do desert rats eat?

    A:

    Desert rats include wood or pack rats and kangaroo rats. Wood rats eat cactus, yucca pods, grass seeds, bark, berries, pinon nuts and green vegetation. Kangaroo rats eat grass seeds and mesquite beans and will sometimes eat insects or green vegetation.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do rodents eat?

    A:

    Rodents eat a wide variety of foods, including nuts, fruits and vegetables. Rats are the only rodents that eat fish and meat, but all rodents like dog and cat food. Human trash is a good source of food for rodents.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Do squirrels hibernate in winter?

    A:

    The eastern gray squirrel, the type commonly seen in trees, does not hibernate during the winter, but the ground squirrel does hibernate in the winter. Both types of squirrel are common in North America, with the main difference being that the ground squirrel does not make its nests in trees, but creates burrows in the ground.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore