Before going to a pet shop, the owners should have researched as well as planned on taking care of their hamsters. Most people would like to bring home a couple of hamsters. Therefore, this article is an introduction to hamster breeding that may help you out.
How To Check My Hamster’s Gender
Checking your hamster’s gender is easy if you know what you are looking for. Once hamsters are sexually mature at about seven or eight weeks, then you should be able to tell if your pet is male or female. Follow the steps below to identify which your family pet is.
Prepare a space to check your hamster
Hamsters do not like being turned over, and may wriggle free from your hands as you attempt to do so. We suggest sitting on the floor as you examine your hamster, preferably keeping your pet only one or two centimeters above the flooring.
Look at your hamster’s stomach
If your hamster has obvious nipples on its stomach, then it’s female. The nipples should be in pairs, and you can also see six of them: a total of twelve nipples.
Examine your hamster’s rear
Male hamsters often have quite prominent testicles, which means that their rear end is more pointed than a female’s. Female hamsters tend to have rounded rear ends, whereas males’ tend to taper more.
If you have more interest in this topic, check out Learn to Tell If Your Hamster Is Male or Female.
Before any attempt is made to breed your pet you should seriously consider where any offspring are to be re-homed. Syrian hamsters can have 10 to 12 babies at a time and by 28 days they must be separated from their mother and the sexes split.
With Dwarfs, if kept as a pair, a litter of 6 to 8 may arrive every 18 to 23 days. If you are still interested in breeding then it is best to either talk to another breeder at a hamster show or read one of the many hamster books on the market. If you are planning on breeding your hamster, check out the complete guide on Pregnancy And Birth In Syrian Hamsters.
How Do I Know If My Hamster Is Pregnant?
There are several ways to tell if your hamster is pregnant. Below we’ve listed a few of the most obvious ways, but if you’re still unsure, a veterinarian should be able to tell you.
Has your hamster been in contact with a male recently?
Hamsters are only pregnant for a very short length of time – some species of hamster will give birth less than twenty days after mating! If your hamster has been in contact with a male over thirty days ago, then it’s unlikely that they’re pregnant – if that mating had been successful, then you’d have lots of baby hamsters by now.
These are the approximate gestation (time from mating to birth) periods for some of the different species of hamster:
- Syrian hamsters: 16 days
- Chinese hamsters: 18-23 days
- Winter White hamsters: 18-21 days
- Roborovski hamsters: 22 – 30 days
Is the large belly due to illness?
If you suspect that your hamster is pregnant because its belly is larger than usual, then it’s a good idea to make sure that your pet doesn’t actually have a medical condition that’s causing this symptom. If your hamster has lumps in its belly, then they could be tumors rather than babies. A swollen abdomen can end up being due to issues such as infection, bowel issues, heart problems, or bladder stones.
If you suspect that your hamster is pregnant, then it’s a good idea to take them for a check-up at the vets. It will allow you not only to be sure that your hamster can be suffering from one of these conditions, but it also enables your vet to tell you how the pregnancy is going, offer advice, and to diagnose any problems early on.
How old is your hamster?
Hamsters are able to breed at approximately six weeks of age. If you’ve been housing male and female hamsters together that are usually six or seven weeks old, then the females may already be pregnant, and could produce a litter in as little as two or three several weeks. Whilst females can only breed until they are about fourteen or fifteen months old, males are fertile from puberty throughout their lives.
If you notice that your female hamster is larger than usual, and is gathering lots of bedding into one area, then she could be making a nest in preparation for delivering her babies. The nesting instinct is quite strong in hamsters, so watch out for this behaviour as the pregnancy progresses.
If your hamster is pregnant and does have babies, you need to be aware that any sort of stress or change placed on the mother during that time can be disastrous for your pet and her litter. Ask your veterinarian or veterinary nurse for more information and advice.
Besides dog and cat, the hamster is one of the most popular rodents to keep as a pet. If you choose to adopt multiple hamsters, it is possible your female will get pregnant. In such a situation, it is important to provide your hamster with the optimal conditions for the development of pregnancy and the growth of its offspring.
For further information about breeding hamsters, check out How to Breed Campbell and Winter White Dwarf Russian Hamsters.