Although this is not a phenomenon that humans understand instinctively, sometimes a female hamster can kill her own offspring. In fact, when she does this she often eats them too.
As frightening as it may seem, however, your instincts may be guiding your actions. She can do this if she thinks it is best for the litter in general. Mother hamsters are not afraid to make sacrifices for the sake of their offspring in general, so we should not judge them by eating some of their children. Following are the main reasons for hamsters to do this.
Stress and Fear
Especially in first-time mothers, the stress and fear associated with raising babies may be too much to bear. If your hamster feels stressed by the demands of his litter, it can end up killing the babies. The best way to avoid this tragic situation is to give her and her litter a lot of time alone.
Spending a lot of time around the cage, making lots of moves or taking pictures can upset the mother to the point of killing her children. Check the cage only a few times a day, leave it alone for as long as possible for at least 10 days.
Confusion with the smell
Baby hamsters have no hair and are blind, and you may feel like touching them or holding them. By doing this, however, you are putting your lives in danger. A mother’s relationship with her children is dictated largely by the smell. If you touch the babies, you will leave their scent in them. This may confuse the mother, causing her to not recognize the babies as her own, or she may suddenly consider them defective.
In either case, she may reject them and kill them. Do not hold or even touch a baby hamster, so your scent is not compromised.
Mother hamsters are instinctively forced to make sacrificial decisions that will benefit the group, especially in relation to the litter’s livelihood. It is crucial that your mother hamster and her litter have plenty of food and fresh water because if the mother realizes that her food sources are not enough to support the group, she will start killing her litter.
This is an act of mercy that is engraved on your instincts, so your babies will not starve or dehydrate. Make sure she always has access to enough food and water for the entire group.
To facilitate life
If a mother hamster finds that she can not provide enough care and attention to the entire litter, she will choose some of her children as sacrifices. As she sees herself as the sole responsibility for taking care of the whole litter, she may find that she will not be able to take care of a very large litter. It will reduce the litter until it reaches a more viable size so that it can provide better care for your children.
Sometimes we can not prevent the hamster mom from killing or eating some of her babies. But we should never blame them for this, for even if it seems strange to us, they have their motives for doing so.