Pregnant Dwarf Hamster
Having a pregnant dwarf hamster is always a magical thing, even if it is unplanned. One of the most amazing things is how short a dwarf hamster pregnancy is. Sixteen days. If you’ve ever given birth – or been the “expectant father” – then you know how excruciatingly long nine months can be when you’re waiting for you child to round out your family.
A pregnant dwarf hamster needs only to wait 16 days. Two weeks and two days! Imagine that! Sixteen days. Have I sufficiently expressed my amazement at this extremely short gestation period (as this period is scientifically called)?
Well, let’s be fair to some of those pregnant dwarf hamsters out there. Some of them don’t actually give birth until their 17th or even their 18th day from the time of conception.
You probably won’t notice any physical changes in your female hamster until about the 10th day of her pregnancy. At that time she’ll “start to show”. The tiny little abdomen becomes swollen while the nipples become more prominent.
From the time of mating, you need to assume that she is, indeed, pregnant. During these little more than two weeks of pregnancy, you’ll want to feed your pregnant dwarf hamster high-protein foods.
Be careful, though. Remember the size of this creature. It’s easy to over feed a pregnant dwarf hamster. You definitely don’t want to do this.
And just because she’s pregnant doesn’t mean you shouldn’t handle her. Show the little mother-to-be all sorts of love. Once she is several days away from the big day, you’ll want to leave her alone – she’ll appreciate the time to prepare. She’ll also appreciate her privacy while she’s nursing as well. During these two periods, the less contact you have with her, the better.
In anticipation of the new arrivals, you should clean the cage before the due date. Make sure that your hamster has plenty of clean, suitable bedding.
You can recognize the birthing process, even if you’ve never seen a female hamster actually give birth before (few of us have, as a matter of fact!) When momma hamster begins to deliver, she’ll place herself in a “hunched over” position. While in this unusual pose, she’ll also move around quite a bit.
If you’re really quiet and look very closely you may even see one of these very tiny babies actually being born. They may emerge head first, or they may come out feet first. It makes little difference to the ultimate health of the baby. So, relax, if you see one is coming out feet first.
Normally, pregnant dwarf hamsters deliver all their babies in the nest itself. However, sometimes nature isn’t quite that tidy. She might have them in different areas of the cage. Don’t let this worry you however, if she has spread her newborn family around the cage, she’ll return to them to bring them all together.
Whatever you do, you don’t want to touch her babies. The best action you can take once you see the pregnancy occurring is to leave her alone and keep the cage in a quiet room. If she knew how to talk, you’re birthing mom would thank you for this.
In fact, you shouldn’t touch the babies themselves until they’re at least two weeks old. If you do, she might eat them! Yes, I know this sounds a bit harsh, but it is, however, a fact of hamster life. But once you touch them, those babies have your scent on them.
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