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Why Do Hamsters Eat Each Other?

Hamsters are seeing a sharp rise in their popularity again as more and more people choose to add their own pet hamster to their family and as their popularity continues to increase, the number of questions that we see from pet owners about owning a hamster also increases. One of the more commonly asked things that we constantly see from the hamster-owning community or people who are wanting to own a hamster is about why hamsters eat each other.

Although many people presume that this is a widely known face now, it would seem that a large number of people are still unaware of the fact that hamsters will eat each other and in some cases even fight to the death. Our article going over how to stop hamsters fighting to the death should be able to help you better understand how to discourage this behavior though if you do get multiple hamsters and they start fighting.

Anyway, we often see three variations of the same question when it comes to hamsters eating other hamsters from the community and we wanted to touch on all three of them in this article. Our hope is that it will make it easier to understand the various situations where some species of hamsters will eat other hamsters and how you are able to potentially avoid them. Our table of contents below should be able to help you quickly navigate the article without issue and skip directly to the specific section that you want to read.

Why Do Hamsters Eat Each Other?

The two main reasons that hamsters will eat other hamsters is due to the hamster being stressed or anxious and the other being due to you owning a territorial hamster species such as a Syrian hamster that will often fight for territory and then kill and eat other hamsters. In most situations, you are often able to avoid both of these from occurring if you plan ahead and prevent your hamsters from eating each other.

Stress is often the most common cause of hamsters starting to fight and eat each other with the most common cause of this being that the hamsters are in a cage that is simply too small for them. There are some cheap, decent sized hamster cages on the market these days as well as 20 gallon tank toppers that you can use to increase the sizes of your hamsters cage to help to reduce stress and anxiety levels.

When it comes to specific hamster species such as Syrian hamsters, your best option it to just keep them in a cage by themselves without any other hamsters unless you are trying to breed them. The more aggressive and territorial hamster species tend to just fight, often to the death if they are kept in a cage with other hamsters due to how territorial they are and the majority of hamster cages just being too small for them to live in.

Why Do Hamsters Eat Their Babies?

Although rare, some hamster mothers can become stressed and eat their babies but correctly planning for your hamster’s pregnancy and to keep stress and anxiety to an absolute minimum will often be able to prevent this. Although a hamster eating their own babies may seem extreme, it is due to the mother hamster being unable to control herself when stressed and making irrational decisions when trying to protect her babies.

The easiest way to prevent your hamster from becoming stress if she has just had babies is to make sure she has plenty of food and water, keep her in a quiet room away from the room with your TV in, and try not to disturb her much. We know that it is tempting to have a quick peek inside the hamsters nest to check the babies but this can spike the stress and anxiety in the mother and cause her to eat her babies.

Some of the more successful hamster breeders actually implement a system where their only interaction with their hamsters that have just given birth is when they add fresh food and water and remove waste from the cage. Although this may sound cruel as many people are so used to playing with their hamster, this is often the best strategy to take for the first week or two after she gives birth.

Why Do Hamsters Eat Their Siblings?

Most baby hamsters will be fine with their siblings until they are between three and four weeks of age and then they can start to become aggressive towards each other and to potentially fight or even eat each other. The majority of people will start to separate the baby hamsters from there moth around the three to four week time period too as the more demanding babies can stress her out and cause her to eat her children.

Depending on a number of factors such as the size of their cage, the amount of food available, and access to clean water, some hamster siblings can live with each other for a number of months where as others can become aggressive much earlier. As we mentioned earlier in the article, Syrian hamsters are particularly territorial and aggressive with this often setting in early, especially in the males.

This is why we often discourage our readers from even trying to actively breed their pet hamsters as it is far more complicated than most people initially realize and most people are simply not ready for it. You also often need multiple cages ready to go for the baby hamsters too pumping the required budget up as baby hamsters are not able to stay in the same cage as their mothers indefinitely as many people initially think.

Conclusion

That brings our articles going over why hamsters eat each other to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better identify why your pet hamsters may try to eat each other as well as the various things that you are able to do to try and reduce the chances of them eating each other. Depending on the specific species of hamster that you keep, you may only be able to prevent them from fighting and trying to eat each other if you move your hamsters into individual cages though.