As the owner of a cute fluffy critter, you may know everything there is to know about hamster foods, what these creatures can eat, how much physical exercise they should get, and so on. However, you may be interested in knowing other things, such as whether female hamsters have menstrual cycles or if they bleed. Such knowledge is important if you intend to mate your female hamster.
What does a hamster’s period look like?
In case you’re wondering if female hamsters experience the same symptoms and manifestations as other mammals, the answer to the question in the title is no. However, the bodies of female hamsters make eggs that require fertilization.
That means that there is a cycle happening inside every one of them, only that they do not have periods, in the sense of a blood discharge when mating and fertilization don’t occur. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about your female hamsters having such discharges. Occasionally, you may notice a little drop of blood, but that’s not the usual occurrence.
An interesting fact about female hamsters and their cycles is that they do have sort of a period, but it looks nothing like the one in female mammals. There will be a discharge of a substance that is whitish in color, and that will signal the end of the female hamster’s period.
How often do female hamsters have periods?
Although the term ‘period’ is not the most fitting for what female hamsters go through, it can be used for convenience. An entire cycle for a female hamster is only four days, and there is the so-called window of opportunity when she can get pregnant within this time. That happens for twelve hours, and only at night.
The fertile female hamster will present specific characteristics that will signal any male within proximity that she’s available for mating. The most important sign is that she starts giving off an overpowering smell that will attract prospective partners. Once they reach eight weeks old, female hamsters can have babies, and they remain fertile almost all their lives.
Are there any signs that point out that the female hamster is in heat?
The smell is the first and most prominent sign that a female hamster is ready to mate. However, there are other manifestations that you can look for. During the second day of the cycle, the female hamster enters her heat.
A discharge of whitish substance will start. As the window of opportunity for getting pregnant closes, the female will begin secreting a substance that is drier and no longer of the same fluid consistency.
Hamsters also tend to become more agitated when they’re in heat. If you try to pet a female, you will notice her assuming a particular position, with her body flat and the legs splayed. That’s her signal that she can mate. For owners who want to breed their hamsters, this is the optimal period for bringing in a male for mating.
As mentioned earlier, once every four days, the cycle will start again. The discharge that accompanies the entire cycle will become thinner, only to dry and become waxier toward the end.
Do female hamsters have menopause?
If they live long enough, female hamsters can go through menopause just like other mammals. You must bear in mind that hamsters can multiply with ease, and keeping females and males together will lead to a high number of babies. So, if that’s something you don’t have in mind, keep only members of the same sex in the same cage.
As they grow old, female hamsters may stop producing eggs, and they are no longer fertile. However, you should know that for most of their lives, female hamsters are fertile, and they can have babies. Once they’re no longer pregnant, their bodies begin making eggs again, so they can remain pregnant again quite quickly.
Is there an optimal age for hamsters to mate?
One thing you may want to know if you’re raising hamsters is when it’s the best time for mating a female. Although you now know that a female hamster will start making eggs from the age of only eight weeks old, you should know that it is dangerous to let her mate while being too young.
Most veterinarians recommend hamster owners to postpone mating their females until they are ten weeks old. For four weeks, between ten and fifteen weeks of the female’s age, the best chances for a healthy pregnancy are registered.
For males, it is considered that being between ten and fourteen weeks of age is the most appropriate time for mating. Again, you should not allow hamsters that are too old to reproduce, as complications can accompany their pregnancies.
Things to know about the hamsters’ mating ritual
One thing some hamster owners are not aware of, mainly because it is the first time when they mate their pets is that the mating ritual can be quite violent. Don’t be shocked to see the female attacking the male. That is her way to test him and see if he is the one worthy of fertilizing her eggs. As any species, hamsters have the genetic makeup of choosing the right mate for their survival.
Most of the time, the mating happens as the male proves himself and manages to fertilize the eggs. However, if you notice that your female hamster doesn’t accept the male introduced into her cage and that he is too weak to resist her violence, you should remove the first male and bring a second.
Such situations are rare, but they may happen, and that is why it is advisable to pay attention to what is happening inside the hamsters’ cage. Remember that only that night, when the female is fertile, during the second day of her cycle, she can get pregnant. Otherwise, the mating and the fertilization of the eggs will fail.
How can you tell if your pet is pregnant?
There are sure signs that will signal that a successful pregnancy is underway. During the first days, the female will have something named the copulatory plug, which is a combination of sperm and the female’s natural mucus. You will recognize its thick consistency and white color.
The female’s secretions will change, becoming more consistent, unlike the thin one during her regular cycle. Gestating hamsters should have the cage to themselves, as they can be quite aggressive toward the males.
Gestation varies between different hamster species, with the shortest being 16 days in Syrian hamsters, and the longest of 22 days in dwarf hamsters. Don’t forget to feed pregnant hamsters plenty of food rich in protein.
Bring in more nesting material, as the female will need it for making a more comfortable environment for her and her young. Never think that she has enough as females aim at making their nest as close to perfection as possible.
Hamsters don’t have periods accompanied by bleeding, so, if you notice that yours experiences heavy blood flow during that time, that should be a signal for you that something is wrong. Many times, the cause for such issues is a urinary tract infection that went untreated.
Injuries that are not visible with the naked eye can be the cause for bleeding, too. In case you notice your female hamster bleeding for a couple of hours, you should take her to a vet and have her checked.
Hamsters can also suffer from uterus infections. If the regular discharge becomes yellow in color, instead of whitish, that could be a sign of pyometra, a known infection of this kind. You can’t ignore this issue, especially since it will give off a bad smell, close to pus, which, for the most part, that discharge is. A swollen belly also accompanies this problem.