Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hamster Sex Ed

After peering into our star player's cage this AM, it occurred to me the site's founder could use a lesson on bird+bees as pertains to hamsters:
"Hamsters become fertile at different ages dependent on their species, but this can be from one month to three months of age."

"If the mother is housed with the father and no more pups are desired, remove the father NOW! The female hamster is capable of getting pregnant immediately after giving birth! If you don’t want any more pups within the next month then you must separate the parents."

"Unfortunately, it’s not at all uncommon to have a mother hamster eat some or all of her litter."
Pregnancy lasts only 15 1/2-16 days. Litters usually range from 5 to 10 pups.

Female hamsters with young must be provided with abundant nesting and bedding materials, and plenty of food and water. They must not be disturbed in any way. The young should not be touched or handled until they are at least 7 days old, the nest should not be disturbed, and the cage should not be cleaned during this period. Failure to heed these cautions (especially with females nursing their first litters) most often results in cannibalism of the young. Observant owners may note an interesting maternal rearing activity, especially if the female with young is excited or disturbed. She will stuff pups into her cheek pouches and deposit them into the nest a short time later when she believes the danger has passed. Occasionally, pups suffocate as a result of this activity, especially during lengthy periods of disturbance.


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