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How Soon Can Hamsters Get Pregnant?

(Last Updated On: May 28, 2022)

Hamsters have short lifespans, which results in a faster life cycle.

You may be surprised to discover what age hamsters can get pregnant, so ensure that you keep males and females separate at an early stage.

Female hamsters can get pregnant at 6 weeks of age, with male hamsters becoming fertile after just 4 weeks. Wait until a female is at least 10 weeks old before breeding her.

Females can get pregnant for 12–16 months, while male hamsters remain fertile for their entire lives.

Hamsters can get pregnant again 24 hours after giving birth, although they’ll rarely be inclined to do so. Your hamster will need assistance after birthing her pups, and you’ll need to take care of the newborns.

When Can Hamsters Get Pregnant?

As mentioned, hamsters reach sexual maturity by the time they are 6 weeks old. In the case of males, it’ll likely be even sooner. Just because a hamster can give birth doesn’t mean it should.

If you’re hoping to breed hamsters, wait until the female is 10 weeks old and the male 14 weeks old. Forcing hamsters to breed when they’re too young can lead to stillborn pups.   

Hamsters don’t go through menopause, but older females eventually become infertile. Most hamsters cannot fall pregnant beyond the age of 16 months. In some cases, female hamsters stop showing any interest in breeding from 12 months onward.

Males are fertile throughout their lives and will never struggle to impregnate a female, which is one of many reasons why male hamsters should be kept in isolation.

Will Two Pet Hamsters Breed?

Hamsters know their place on the food chain and are acutely aware of their status as prey animals.

As a result, hamsters, especially males, are driven by a strong urge to procreate. Add the ability to get pregnant when they’re young, and there’s a high likelihood of breeding.

Both male and female hamsters can become aggressive during mating. If a female hamster is willing to breed, she’ll assume a traditional mating position, pointing her tail toward the sky.

This will only happen if she’s in heat. Officially, this happens every 4 days. As per Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, dim lighting helps females remain in estrus for longer.

If your hamster isn’t interested in the male, separate them. The male will likely still attempt to initiate breeding, to which the female will respond aggressively.

If the two hamsters mate, separate them anyway. If successful, the female will immediately fall pregnant, which means she’ll need space from other hamsters.

how early can hamsters get pregnant?

Can a Female Hamster Get Pregnant by Itself?

There’s no such thing as an immaculate conception among hamsters, so females will need to mate with a male to fall pregnant and produce pups.

Hamsters are driven by an instinctive urge to procreate and are skilled escapologists. If you keep a male and female in two nearby cages, they’ll take any opportunity to reach each other.

Signs That A Hamster Is Pregnant

An obvious sign that your hamster is pregnant is a swollen, protruding belly. The gestation period for hamsters is short, so you’ll notice this symptom quickly. Also, c check for bright pink nipples.

A pregnant hamster will be tetchy. Be careful about attempting to handle your hamster if she’s carrying pups. She’ll likely bite if you pick her up and won’t want to interact with other hamsters.

Pregnant hamsters eat more than usual and spend more time drinking. Consider adding more protein-rich foods to your hamster’s diet alongside a second water bottle. If these changes are welcomed, the hamster is likely pregnant.

Check for signs of nesting. This is a strong instinct to create a larger, warmer bed than usual, typically in a different cage corner from where a hamster usually sleeps.

Nesting will become increasingly apparent toward the latter stages of pregnancy.

How Long are Hamsters Pregnant?

Different breeds of hamsters have varying gestation periods. This table explains how long you should expect your hamster to remain pregnant.

These timeframes are approximate and cover the period from initial mating to birth:

Chinese:18 – 23 days
Roborovski:22 – 30 days
Russian:18 – 21 days
Syrian:16 – 18 days
Winter White:18 – 21 days

It doesn’t take long for a hamster to go from initial interaction with a male to giving birth.

How To Help a Hamster Give Birth

You need to take care of the birthing process yourself. The more time you put into making your hamster comfortable, the more likely the pups are to be born alive and healthy.

Start by preparing the birthing area using a solid hamster tank rather than a cage. Remove any toys, peripherals, and platforms from the tank before cleaning it thoroughly.

Once the tank is empty and clean, fill the floor with a good layer of bedding. You can use scrunched-up or torn toilet paper if you want to save money. Just keep everything at ground level, as it can be dangerous for your hamster to nest at an elevated height due to the risk of falls.

Place your birthing tank in a quiet room, and when you feel that your hamster is ready to give birth, rehome her inside it. Ensure that your hamster has drinking water and protein-rich snacks in the tank.

Some examples could include:

  • Small chunks of chicken
  • Porridge
  • Small pieces of bread, soaked in milk
  • Cooked egg whites, ideally scrambled

Once the mother-to-be is in the tank, give her space. Don’t attempt to handle her as such attempts will not be welcomed, and you’ll likely be bitten. Listen out for a series of squeaks from the tank, as this suggests that birthing is taking place.

You can watch the birth from a safe distance, but don’t get involved. The process could take up to 30 minutes per pup. Once the process is complete, let your hamster rest and focus on caring for the pups.

How Many Pups Will My Hamster Have?

As with the gestation period, the number of pups in a litter is influenced by the hamster’s breed. Your hamster may give birth to a small or large litter, but the average is 6-8 pups.

On average, you should expect this many pups:

ChineseAnywhere between 2 and 12 – usually somewhere in the middle
RoborovskiJust one in rare cases, but usually closer to 6 or 7
RussianTypically between 4 and 6
SyrianUsually between 5 and 9
Winter WhiteTypically between 4 and 6

Age will likely impact the number of pups your hamster gives birth to.

The Journal of Gerontology explains that older Syrian hamsters, in particular, tend to birth smaller litters. With age, the risk of stillborn pups increases.

What To Do After a Hamster Gives Birth

You shouldn’t separate the pups from their mother for at least a week, ideally 10 days.

Hamster pups are born without fur and are completely blind and deaf. Like most baby animals, they depend on their mother for food and warmth. In theory, your hamster will provide these comforts.

Unfortunately, not all hamsters are naturally maternal. Younger hamsters may grow confused and eat their young. This will usually only happen to one litter as hamsters mature and learn from their mistakes.

Once the pups are around 10 days old, they should be separated from their mothers to find independence. At this stage, you should consider sexing the pups. As explained by Developmental Psychobiology, sex assignment in a litter of pups is random but often equal.

As discussed, hamsters reach sexual maturity quickly and have no qualms about breeding with siblings. The pregnancy cycle will begin anew if you house all the hamsters together for too long. They can live in groups for a few weeks but aim for same-sex habitats.

at what age can hamsters get pregnant?

How Soon Can a Hamster Get Pregnant After Giving Birth?

A female hamster can fall pregnant again within 24 hours of giving birth.

As discussed, she needs at least a week to care for her pups. This means the new mother must be kept separate from male hamsters almost immediately.

Keeping your hamster in her birthing tank with her pups will protect the young. Males may consider pups to be rivals and kill them. Of course, the female may do this herself, so there’s little point in keeping the mother in the birthing tank if she does so.

In such instances, as the female will be fertile again immediately, males will likely pick up on this. If the female previously mated willingly, a male could expect her to reciprocate his advances again.

Female hamsters can become irritable after giving birth and are likely to reject any sexual advances from a male, resulting in the male being bitten or scratched.

Let your hamster have a few days to recover from birth before breeding her again.

How Many Times Can A Hamster Get Pregnant? 

We’ve established that a hamster will be able to birth pups from 10 weeks until 12-16 months of age. Each pregnancy will take a month to conclude and another 1-2 weeks to care for the pups.

This means that, officially, a hamster could birth 10-13 litters in her lifetime. Such frequency isn’t advisable as hamsters need time between pregnancies and birthing pups.