Have you noticed your female hamster acting funny lately? Do you think you have a pregnant hamster?
If you’ve noticed differences and are wondering if she’s pregnant, you’ve come to the right place to find out!
We’ll share with you all that you need to know about hamsters and pregnancy.
It doesn’t matter if you have a pregnant teddy bear hamster or a pregnant robo hamster.
We’ll start by walking you through the signs and symptoms of hamster pregnancy.
In case she is pregnant, we’ll also share with you how best to take care of her and what to expect after pregnancy.
How Long Are Hamsters Pregnant?
Has your female hamster been in contact with a male recently?
I’m sure you’re asking, what’s “recently”?
The answer depends on the type of breed your hamster is.
There are over 20 different breeds of hamsters, although only five that are commonly kept as household pets:
- The Syrian hamster, a.k.a. the teddy bear hamster
- The dwarf Campbell Russian hamster
- The dwarf Winter White Russian hamster
- The Phodopus roborovski, or the Robo hamster
- The Chinese hamster
The hamster pregnancy period is slightly different for each breed.
How long are Syrian hamsters pregnant for?
The Syrian hamster has the shortest hamster pregnancy length, of only 16 days.
How long are dwarf hamsters pregnant for?
Both the dwarf Campbell Russian hamster and the dwarf Winter White Russian hamster have a pregnancy term of 18 to 21 days.
How long are Robo hamsters pregnant for?
The Robo hamster’s pregnancy is the longest, at 22 to 30 days.
How long are Chinese hamsters pregnant for?
The Chinese hamster is pregnant for 18 to 23 days.
When Hamsters Become Pregnant
Plenty of people choose to keep more than one hamster together for the sake of companionship.
It can sometimes be hard to tell whether your hamster is male or female, particularly with certain breeds.
This means that on occasion, people may be putting together what they think is two hamsters of the same gender, and they’re not.
As you can guess, this can easily lead to a pregnancy.
If a female hamster shares a cage with a male, for any period of time, it’s very likely that she will become pregnant.
In fact, hamsters as young as 4 to 6 weeks old can become pregnant.
You may end up unknowingly buying a hamster that is already pregnant.
Or, you may decide you want your hamster to become pregnant, and you introduce a female into a male’s cage in the hopes of getting her pregnant.
Some owners want their hamsters to reproduce because baby hamsters are adorable. Others, because they want to sell the babies.
If you are considering intentionally breeding hamsters, make sure you’re very certain you’re ready.
Hamster breeding is generally not recommended due to the large litter size and the risks of the birthing process.
Did you know that hamsters can have up to 20 pups per litter?
The average is only seven, which is still a lot of babies to rehome!
How To Tell If Your Hamster Is Pregnant
There are different hamster pregnancy signs, related to the different hamster pregnancy stages.
What are some signs of a pregnant hamster?
Here are some possible signs of pregnant hamster behavior that you should be aware of:
- Your hamster might suddenly appear more irritable.
- She might begin fighting with other hamsters.
- She becomes shyer, more reclusive, nervous or jumpy.
- Your hamster gets defensive or growls at you when picked up.
- She becomes slower or more lethargic.
- She drinks more and begins to hoard its food.
- Her belly appears swollen.
- She is nest building.
- She will also become frantic and restless in the late stages.
It’s important to be aware that a swollen belly can also be a sign of illness.
Keep an eye on her for other symptoms. Make sure she’s exercising, eating and drinking normally.
A swollen belly is usually seen during a latestage of pregnancy, after at least 10days.
If the enlarged belly lasts longer than 7-10 days, and she hasn’t given birth, then take her to the vet.
What does a pregnant hamster look like?
Other than the swollen belly, you will likely also notice enlarged nipples at around the same time.
This can be hard to identify on a pregnant dwarf hamster due to their tiny size.
It can also be difficult with long-haired hamsters such as pregnant Syrian hamsters, as well.
Still wondering, “Is my hamster pregnant?”
If you’re not sure if you see these hamster pregnancy symptoms, you can consider taking your hamster to the vet.
However, be aware that handling of a pregnant hamster can cause her stress.
This stress may even cause her to abandon or eat her babies after they’re born.
How To Take Care Of A Pregnant Hamster
It’s important to know that handling a pregnant hamster during late-stage pregnancy will upset her.
Do not touch her belly to check her nipples or to try to feel the babies. Here are other things you should be doing for pregnant hamster care:
- Feed her a nutritious diet.
- Keep her separated from other hamsters.
- Give her nesting material such as damp tissue or toilet paper.
- Ensure she has adequate clean water every day.
- Keep the temperature constant, at normal room temperature.
- Keep the cage clean.
- Use dim lighting.
- Provide an exercise wheel and keep her weight in check.
- Keep an eye on her general health.
Know that a couple of days before giving birth, she will want to be left completely alone.
At this point, don’t touch or tamper with her cage or bedding. Also, be very careful when putting in fresh food or water.
Try to disrupt her as little as possible to reduce stress.
A pregnant hamster giving birth can be a stressful and dangerous process.
Keep an eye on her and watch out for signs of imminent birth.
She’ll often curl up in her nesting corner when she’s ready to go into labor.
Once your pregnant hamster has her babies, it’s important to do the following:
- Provide extra bedding for the babies.
- Leave the mother alone as much as possible for the first week.
- Don’t handle the babies for two to three weeks.
- Never leave the father or an adult male with the babies.
- Lower any sipper tubes for the babies to reach.
- Start providing solid food for the babies at 7 to 10 days after birth.
- Be aware that the mother may eat or abandon any unhealthy baby.
If you see the mother abandoning the whole litter, you should separate her from them and take the babies to your vet.
Once the babies are old enough (3-4 weeks), it’s important to start taming them.
At 4 weeks, make sure you separate any male babies from the females, or you may end up with another pregnant hamster.
You should consider separating all of the hamsters, from each other and from mom, by the time they are six weeks old.
Want to know more about taking care of the babies? You can read all about it in our complete guide to baby hamsters.
References and Further Reading
- Deanesly, R. (1938). The Reproductive Cycle of the Golden Hamster (Cricetus auratus). Journal of Zoology, A108(1).
- Hill, M.A (2018). Development. Embryology.
- Murphy, M. R. (2012). In Siegal, I. The Hamster: Reproduction and Behavior. Springer Science & Business Media.
- Quesenberry, K. E., & Boschert, K. R. (2018). Breeding and Reproduction of Hamsters. Merck Veterinary Manual.
- Pratt, N. C., Lisk, R. D. (1989). Effects of social stress during early pregnancy on litter size and sex ratio in the golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus). The Journal of the Society for Reproduction and Fertility, 87.
- Richards, M. P. M. (1966). Activity measured by running wheels and observation during the oestrous cycle, pregnancy and pseudopregnancy in the golden hamster. Animal Behaviour, 14(4).
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