Many hamster owners are often shocked when they see one pet eat another. What he sees usually makes him want to get rid of the animal as soon as possible, although this behavior is often easily explained.
The manifestation of cannibalism in hamsters is not common, but such incidents do occur. There are several main reasons for this behavior.
The female hamster eats the cubs
Young female hamsters sometimes eat their offspring in whole or in part. The reason for this behavior is quite simple: during lactation, the female must consume a large amount of moisture both in the form of water and in the form of green food. If during feeding the female hamster is not provided with abundant drink, the secretion of milk will be disrupted, as a result of which the cubs will begin to be absorbed more strongly into the nipples, thereby causing severe pain to their mother. The female in such cases gets rid of the offspring to avoid painful sensations. To preserve the offspring, it is recommended to closely monitor the diet of the mother hamster: if she has enough greens and water, the cubs will remain safe and sound.
Hamster father ate his offspring
Cases of eating offspring by a male do not happen so often, but they do occur periodically. The reason for this situation is the male's usual jealousy of his female: she is all the time busy with feeding and caring for the offspring, she becomes more aggressive towards the daddy hamster. This behavior can be avoided by moving the male to another cage immediately after the offspring appear.
An adult hamster eats an adult
Cannibalism between two adults is the rarest. Hamsters are inherently peaceful herbivores, so their aggressiveness has nothing to do with hunting motives. The reason may be a small living space, causing the pet a lot of inconvenience, which forces him to fight for territory. A hamster needs space that is ten times its own size. In some cases, hamsters can eat their own kind due to severe hunger: these rodents are very voracious, so their timely feeding is very important. When keeping several hamsters in one cage, it is necessary to monitor a sufficient amount of food, or to settle the animals. Another reason for cannibalism can be the same-sex competition between hamsters during mating games. In order not to witness an unpleasant picture, you should keep same-sex hamsters in different cages.
It is important to remember that hamsters are rather unpredictable creatures that prefer to lead a secretive nocturnal lifestyle. It is also important to protect your pets from stress: loud noise, sudden changes in environment or type of food. Providing hamsters with ample housing, varied food and timely cleaning in the cage will significantly reduce the risk of one hamster eating another.