hamster5 Hamster babies: 5 facts you need to know

Hamster babies: 5 facts you need to know

In this article we tell you 5 important things that you should absolutely consider when raising hamster babies.

Points 4 and 5 are even essential for survival!

Here we go.

The development of a baby hamster

Hamsters are born naked, blind and deaf.

Immediately after birth, they weigh less than two grams, are pink and helpless.

By the fourth day, however, they have about doubled their weight and a delicate down becomes visible, hinting at fur markings. In addition, at this time the ears slowly open and the young begin to explore their surroundings.

By the tenth day at the latest, all baby hamsters should occasionally leave the nest and move around the cage.

They will begin to forage for food, using their sense of smell and hearing to orient themselves. Eyes will open in the second week of life.

However, the young are still dependent on their mother, who nurses them until at least the third week of life and only then slowly begins weaning them.

If mother and offspring are not separated at the earliest possible time, suckling may even continue for several months.

Between the fourth and sixth week, sexual maturity already sets in for the young hamsters. So if you want to prevent further reproduction, you should separate the animals by sex.

Tip: Due to the very small size of the hamsters you should “baby proof” the cage. Be sure to seal the bars with Plexiglas panes so they can’t climb through the gaps and get lost in the apartment. Also, remove toys that could pose a risk of injury and deeper water dishes.

Properly care for baby hamsters

For the first two to three weeks, the mother’s milk is perfectly sufficient for feeding.

Nevertheless, baby hamsters will try solid food from about the tenth day.

However, they do not yet know what is edible and what is not!

This is a learning process that takes place mainly by looking at the mother. So be sure to provide a balanced and varied diet so that baby hamsters can learn about different foods early on and train their digestion.

To make it easier for the little animals to eat, you can cook vegetables and grate fruits and vegetables into small pieces.

When the young animals are no longer feeding exclusively on their mother’s milk, it is also necessary to ensure that they are supplied with fluids. Make sure that water is easily accessible for the hamster babies.

Therefore, place water bottles in such a way that the young can reach them without having to perform dangerous climbing maneuvers or stretch extremely.

Alternatively, you can place a very shallow bowl or saucer in the cage and pour some water on it. A small pool is perfectly sufficient.

However, make sure that the hamsters are safely moving and walking, rather than crawling, before you offer the water in this way. Otherwise, there is a risk that the youngsters will choke on the water or inhale it.

In addition, they can still get wet later when playing and running.

For this reason, you should really only provide small amounts of water outside of the water bottle. Because if hamsters get wet, it can have negative consequences for their health.

Especially in very young and thus still tiny and light hamsters, getting wet can result in hypothermia and cause serious illness.

What sounds do baby hamsters make?

Because they are helpless prey animals, hamsters and their young are usually very quiet.

However, this does not mean that they cannot make any sounds.

In the case of the young animals, this is a soft squeaking. You can hear this, for example, when they are hungry and want to attract their mother’s attention.

In some cases this is the first and only indication of baby hamsters you get before they leave the nest for the first time.

Expectant hamster mothers do show a larger abdominal girth, but this is hardly visible, especially in long-haired animals.

In addition, you may unknowingly buy a female hamster that is already pregnant, or in the case of dwarf hamsters that are kept together, you may unknowingly and unintentionally have a mating act between animals that are supposedly of the same sex.

When am I allowed to touch the hamster babies?

From the third to fourth week you may touch the offspring and thus introduce the animals to direct contact. Until then, you should limit yourself to being present frequently and for a long time in the room where the cage is located. This is an important prerequisite for the hamsters to become familiar with people and not be afraid of them.

Shortly after birth, when the kittens are tiny and pink, the temptation to pick up the babies is great. This is mainly true when one or more of the hamster babies are found outside the nest and seemingly randomly scattered around the cage.

However, please remain firm and refrain from touching them, as this situation is not uncommon.

Births do not necessarily take place directly in the nest. As soon as the mother has recovered and cleaned all the young, she collects the babies and carries them to the prepared nest. Intervention by you is necessary only if this does not happen even after several hours. Make sure that the room and the cage are warm so that the kittens do not get cold.

You can also try to make the mother aware of the babies with food.

Only in the extreme emergency you should move the hamster baby near the nest.

Do not touch it directly for this!!!

For one thing, your scent may confuse the mother. On the other hand, the young animals are so sensitive that you can create injuries even with great care.

Use a tablespoon or a similar utensil, which you can push under the litter, on which the hamster baby lies. This way you don’t have to touch it directly and can gently place the animal in front of the nest.

The situation is different, of course, if the mother does not accept her young.

This can be due to stress, a too small cage or lack of experience. In the worst case, cannibalism occurs. This means that the mother eats the babies.

Saving the young is possible, but requires a lot of effort for the first few weeks. Because they normally suckle every hour and need a special rearing milk, which you can get for example at the vet.

With a syringe without a cannula or a pipette you have to offer the warm milk to the hamster babies every hour, day and night. To avoid swallowing, you should let them lick the liquid drop by drop.

Two to three drops per feeding per animal is sufficient. You can reduce the frequency of feedings as the little hamsters become more mobile and start eating solid food.

Note: The gestation period of hamsters is so short that the young have a lot of catching up to do in their development. This also applies to the intestinal flora, which is not present in the babies to a sufficient degree. When raised by their mother, they eat her feces to populate their own intestinal flora with important bacteria. Hand-reared hamsters do not have this opportunity. However, you can try to collect the mother’s feces and offer it directly to the kittens.

When can I give the hamster babies away and separate them from their mother?

As cute as the young hamsters are and as much fun as it is to watch their development, you have to start thinking about separating them from their mother at an early stage.

Since the small rodents are quickly sexually mature, there is a risk of more offspring in a short time. Because of the relationship and inbreeding, the risk of diseases, disabilities and birth defects increases.

Dwarf hamsters are sexually mature at about four weeks of age. Medium hamsters attain this status between the fourth and sixth week of life. So at the latest then a separation according to sex is advised.

The females can initially remain with the mother, because she usually tolerates her offspring for the first three to four months. However, this is only possible if the cage or hamster home is of sufficient size and there are no conflicts in the group.

Make sure that the hamsters are at least four weeks old when separated or surrendered, and that they are eating and drinking water on their own. This is because in the wild they would remain with the mother even longer and continue to nurse, warm each other in the nest and play with each other.

This is even the case with hamsters that live as solitary animals in adulthood and only come together to mate. Therefore, a release does not have to take place immediately in the fourth week of life.

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