If you want to know more about breeding hamsters but that topic is still unfamiliar to you, check it out here for detailed information. Since hamsters have become a part of our lives, as beloved pets, many hamster owners started researching their life expectancy and whether breeding them is a must for their overall health and wellbeing or not.
Seeing that hamsters are such small animals, they have a very fast metabolism, which means their life expectancy is not very long. Studies have shown that the smaller the body of an animal is, the higher the metabolism rate — thus shorter life span. In order to compensate this phenomenon, small animals tend to have a lot higher breeding rates, including more offsprings per litter.
Is it advised to get informed about breeding your pet hamster before taking any action. Most pet hamster owners seek this type of information online; however, it is a very good idea to also look for professional advice. Having a short conversation about breeding hamsters with your local veterinarian is a smart thing to do.
How long do hamsters live?
Just like with any other animal, there is no fixed time that they will live for. The average lifespan of a pet hamster usually is around two, two and a half, years. This is just an average, of course. Some pet hamsters will live for longer than that. Some, sadly, for less than the average. The more you care for your pet, the longer he will be around to be your friend.
The lifespan of pet hamsters depends on many factors including species, genetics, diet, exercise, quality of care, living environment, and illness. The first two factors are completely out of your control; however, the other factors you can definitely influence, and so, pet hamster owners should provide the best possible care for their furry buddies.
For female hamsters, giving birth is another factor that influences how long they will live for due to the possible risks associated with giving birth. Another fact to be taken into consideration here is how much of her own nutritional and mineral supplies she will give to her babies during pregnancy and lactation. Unless her feeding suits her condition, she will be affected by pregnancy.
How can we tell males and females apart?
Did you ever wonder if your pet hamster is a he or a she? The process of separating males from females is called sexing and it’s the first step to be taken if you want to successfully breed your pet hamster. Sexing is also important if you keep more than one hamster in an enclosure since male hamsters will fight, sometimes causing serious injuries to each other.
To properly tell if a hamster is a boy or a girl, you need to hold your pet in your hand in such a way that you can very well see their genital area. Females have the genital opening very close to their anus, while males have a considerable space between their genital opening and their anus. Also, in male hamsters, the two testicles can be seen if you hold them upright.
The best way to hold a hamster while checking its gender is on his back. Since many hamsters will definitely not like this position and will struggle to escape it, you may want to find other possible ways of doing this without stressing your pet hamster. One idea could be putting the hamster on a see-through surface, such as glass, to take a closer look without bothering him.
How do hamsters breed?
To successfully breed hamsters, you need to put the female into the male’s cage every evening, for at least four consecutive times, during her estrus. Estrus is called the period of time in which the female is in heat and will mate with the male. For hamsters, estrus will last for about twelve hours and it usually occurs during the night.
One way to notice when the female hamster is in heat is if she flattens her body when you touch her back. When you put her in the male’s cage, be on the lookout for any signs showing that she would be more interested in fighting than mating. If mating takes place, you can leave the pair together for several hours or even overnight.
If the female becomes pregnant, you will notice her gaining weight in about two weeks from the time the mating took place. Pregnancy duration in hamsters may vary depending on the hamster type, but the average duration is 18 to 22 days. As their due date approaches, female hamsters tend to become more aggressive.
The average litter size is usually between 4 and 7 offsprings. It may vary between 3 and 12, depending on the species of hamster you own. If the female gives birth to a large litter of over 8 babies, she may not be able to properly raise them all to weaning, and also, she may eat some of the offsprings after giving birth.
How do hamsters give birth?
Usually, the first signs of an approaching birth are an intense nest building activity – the female spends a lot of time grooming, eating, and seems restless. The babies will be born at a 10 to 30-minute interval. The mother hamster will spend this time in between births resting or tidying her nest. The mother stands erect as the babies are born and will cut the umbilical cord herself.
It is very important to give mother hamsters a quiet environment while they give birth. Any loud noise, intense activity around the cage or other types of noisy activities may cause her to get scared, stress out and eat her babies. Mother hamsters need to feel safe and to have very little activity around them while giving birth.
If you notice newly born babies scattered around the cage, do not attempt touching them to replace them. The motherly instinct will kick in and she will arrange the babies herself in the nest, if, however, you would touch the babies, your scent on them may cause the mother to abandon them or, even worse, eat them.
The advisable thing to do is to leave the mother totally undisturbed for at least two weeks after giving birth, and this includes not cleaning her cage during this time, and also not attempting to open the cage to take a look at the babies. Any of these situations may be perceived as a threat by the mother, and she may eat her young.
What are baby hamsters like?
Baby hamsters are born deaf, blind, and naked. With the proper care from their mother, they will rapidly grow and begin drinking and trying out some solid food at around two weeks of age. Babies can be successfully weaned from their mother when they are around three weeks old. Until then, make sure they can reach the food and water bowls.
The babies usually huddle together, play fight with one another, and eat and sleep together. This behavior helps them to properly develop a lot of their social skills, too, from a very young age. Food competition ensures they eat well and grow up fast and strong. Baby hamsters reach their sexual maturity at the age of 6 to 8 weeks old. This means the owner needs to separate them by gender after this age, to avoid any unwanted pregnancies or fights.