Dwarf Hamster Babies – What to Expect
Russian Dwarf Hamsters are very sociable creatures that can live side by side. They make excellent parents and both the father and mother will care for their Russian dwarf babies.
In this guide you will learn how to care for dwarf hamster babies and how to tame your new baby hamsters easily, safely and by using only 15 minutes a day.
Please see our video below to get an brief understanding of what to expect.
Baby Russian Dwarf Hamsters are born blind and without hair. They will then start to develop hair around the age of 8-12 days and open their eyes around 20 days. Although Russian dwarfs are born within 18-22 days of pregnancy, they develop fairly quick compared to their bigger relatives including the Syrian.
Should You Touch, Play or Handle the New Babies? Being so cute it can seem irresistible to handle the new babies. However you should NOT…
You must wait until they leave the nest on their own and show independence from the mother before you can. This is because the mother will neglect or kill a baby with the scent from another male or species on them. Notice in the video that we used the chewy tooth brush to move the nesting tissue out of the way. This was to keep our scent away.
Mothers Behavior – The mothers behavior will change around you and this is completely normal. Common things she will do are become very protective over them, hide them and pretend that her babies aren’t there. This is their way of protecting them and is normal.
The mother may nibble or bite too. This is another form of protection for her young. You must leave her to do what she knows best. Please see our article called Nibling vs Warning Bites.
If you mother starts trying to escape throughout the first 3 weeks of new born, then this is a sign that you need a bigger cage. See our store for recommended Russian Dwarf Hamster cages by clicking here.
How Should You Handle Russian Dwarf Babies?
When it’s safe to hold your new babies, you will notice that they are very scared and new to human interaction. In there early days of their development, they will just opening their eyes and sensing their surroundings. They will feel very vulnerable and easily scared.
Here are 3 tips to a friendly hamster:
1. Calmly pick them up as if you would scoop water up (see video below) and avoid sudden movements or breathing on them. Dwarf hamsters are sensitive to high pitch noises and generally hate air blowing in their direction. Make sure to be gentle and to pick each and every hamster up once a day.
2. When handling you should show that you are not a threat. Hold and handle them for roughly 5 minutes each. After doing this for a couple of weeks they will be completely comfortable and very hand-able. This way you will build up a friendly relationship with your hamsters.
3. Keep the food bowl and water bottle regularly topped up. This is very important because the mother will need as much food and water as she needs to provide to her young. The mother will also become more aggressive and protective over her young. This is completely normal and should not concern. Try to handle her on her own for a couple of minutes once a day still.
If you regularly take a small bit of time daily to handle your hamster they will become very friendly and comfortable around you.
First 14-17 Days With New Born – What you Should’t Do
In the first 2 weeks of birth it is very important that you leave the mum to do what she knows best, and that is look after her young. Although the temptation to check if the babies are fine is tempting you should avoid this.
This can lead to the mother eating, neglecting or killing her young. This also means that the regular clean of the cage must be postponed. If you give the mother clean tissue paper every 1-2 days she will help keep the nest clean. However your task is to leave the cage for at-least 2 weeks before cleaning. If you are aware that your dwarf hamster is pregnant then clean out your cage thoroughly around 16 days of pregnancy for the arrival for the new babies.
Is your hamster pregnant? Find out in the next section
Please see the video below on how to give your dwarf hamster tissue paper for nesting
How to Tell if your Hamster is Pregnant
If you have recently bought new hamsters and wondering if they may be pregnant then this section will help you.
“I bought two male Russian Dwarf Hamsters 2 weeks ago and now theirs babies?”
This happens more than often and the general reason is because of poor sexing judgment. This means that when they were young and checked to see what gender they are (sexing), one of the genders was opposite and kept opposite sex.
Russian Dwarfs are sexually active within 3 weeks and should be split up to avoid pregnancy of young females. Here are some helpful tips to spot a pregnant Russian Dwarf Hamster:
- Female’s or “males” becoming wider at the sides of belly and back
- A change in they layout of their nest. (See picture for example)
- More food than usual being stored and hidden away
- Female drinking more water than usual
All of these can be signs of pregnancy in a Russian dwarf and should be looked out for when two hamsters are together. Also consider taking them to a trusted pets store or vet for advice on genders.
What you Should Do if Your Hamster is Pregnant
You have two Russian Dwarfs and one is pregnant, what should you do? Within the first 24 hours of birth the female can become pregnant again, remove the male to prevent this. The mother can cope on her own.
However if you have 2 females and one is pregnant but you wish to keep them together, simply remove the other female but make sure they do not see each other for longer than 2 days. This is because hamsters are very forgetful and this could lead to future fights.
Allow contact between just the females outside of the cage (away from the babies) for at least 5 minutes a day.
If you do not wish to put your hamster back together then purchase a new cage and separate them. See our recommended cage for Russian Dwarf Hamsters by clicking here.
Preparation for the babies is essential and you should thoroughly clean out the cage before the little ones arrive. This is because you will not be able to clean your cage for at least 2 weeks once they are born.
Important Advice for Russian Dwarf Mothers and Babies
When a mother has given birth to her young the best thing you can do is leave her. She will know what to do and will only get stressed if you change, clean or move her cage around. Stress can lead to her eating her young… and we don’t want that do we?
The cage will start to smell after a week or two and you CAN spot clean parts of the cage. For example wet or damp spots. Do not clean near the babies though.
Small squeaking noises will become louder within the first week and this is normal. This will be her young learning and maybe calling for their mother. Try not to disturb them.
Give your mother hamster plenty of food, water and vegetables to help her produce milk for the young. However vegetables and some fruit should be given once every 4-7 days. Also provide tissue paper once a day to improve their nest and keep them warm.
ONLY when all of the Russian dwarf hamster babies are leaving the nest and walking around can you start to handle.
When Russian Dwarfs are 3 Weeks Old
The babies will grow surprisingly quick and much faster than Syrians. But when should you split them up?
Russian Dwarf Hamsters gestation period starts around 3 weeks of age and last for a month (30 days) in which they would mate in the wild. Unless you want more babies, here is what you should do.
Around 21 days the young should be running around doing their own thing. This is a great time to start sexing the young ones. Sexing means determining the gender and then splitting them up into their genders. In the video above the boys and girls were split into their own cages.
If you do not know how to sex your russian dwarf hamster then please see our How To Sex Russian Dwarfs article.
Once spit they will will need their own food, water and toys.