Monday, June 19, 2006

Worst Mom Ever???

So, I was away at a wedding in Milwaukee this weekend. When I got home, I checked in on all of the hamsters and gave them new water and food. Everything was a-ok.

Then later, when I was getting dinner ready, I walked down the hallway and saw something on the floor. I looked closer, and was shocked to see that it was one of Hermione's babies! I picked him or her up--still breathing--and quickly put it back into the cage so the mom could take over. How on earth did she get on the floor? I guess technically, they could fit through the bars in the other part of the cage, but how could they climb there? Did Hermione throw her baby out of the cage?

Anyway, while I was standing there wondering how on earth the baby got onto the floor, I noticed that Hermione was running in the wheel and that it was really noisy. I looked over to see her in the wheel, running at full speed, with two of her babies just bouncing around and under her in the wheel! I immediately put my hand on the wheel to stop it. Eventually she walked out of the wheel, and I opened it up and picked up the babies and put them back into the nest of bedding in the cage.

What the heck is going on with Hermione? First she's pushing babies out the window, then she's tossing them around like they are in the washing machine. I don't want to tell anyone how to do their job, but... um, Hermione? I mean, is this normal mother behavoir?

Also, she had four babies before. I only see three now, but I'm scared to go digging through the cage to find the other one since everything I've read says that I should leave the cage alone and not touch anything.

Advice, anyone?

(PS Gerbils are crazy.)

5 Comments:

At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, hamsters and gerbils can be the very worst mothers. They do cannibalize or neglect the babies. Maybe it's an evolutionary adaptation because they reproduce so rapidly? All you can do is provide the support, and the rest is up to them.

-- Michele

 
At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, hamsters and gerbils can be the very worst mothers. They do cannibalize or neglect the babies. Maybe it's an evolutionary adaptation because they reproduce so rapidly? All you can do is provide the support, and the rest is up to them.

-- Michele

 
At 9:21 AM, Anonymous floggins said...

I know that when under stress or believing space or resources to be too limited, rabbits can reabsorb their litters or eat them after they are born. There was an interesting article in the Times around mothers' day this year about all the examples of terrible mothering practices in the animal kingdom. It sounds like you are doing the best job you can at keeping the babies safe, as Hermione sounds determined to do a crappy job of it. Too bad gerbils can't be spayed, eh?

 
At 1:03 AM, Blogger Twin Squeaks Gerbils said...

You might want to take the exercise wheel out. Gerbils tend to lug the pups with them, and they also tend to get obsessed with the exercise wheel... making it so easy for the little ones to get trampled in the process.

The same thing goes for the wire bars of cages, too... Gerbils dig and kick bedding, and sometimes, it's too easy for the little pups to get tossed out with the bedding when the mother gerbil's digging in the bedding. (There's no way to stop that really... It's how they bury their food, build their nests, etc. As I write this, one of my gerbils is next to me kicking bedding all over the place.)

The pups can generally handle getting tossed about with the bedding, but next time a gerbil has pups, if you have the gerbils in a glass tank (with a secure lid) instead of a wire cage, at least the pups will stay in their home when Mom's rearranging the bedding. :)

In the meantime, if the exercise wheel is a problem, you might need to take it out. You can replace it with some toilet paper tubes to keep mom busy.

 
At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Katie S. said...

This response may be coming too late, but I wanted to post it just in case it is still helpful:

I had a pet hamster a long time ago who had a litter of babies and ate them all. It happened quickly enough that I wasn't able to contact a vet for advice in time to save them. By the time I figured out what was happening, there was only one left. I rescued it from the cage, but it died because I couldn't give it the mama-care it still needed.

Sad! But later, my mom and I asked the vet why this had happened. Apparently hamsters (and probably gerbils too) who have just given birth need a TON of added protien. If they aren't getting enough from their diet, they'll eat the babies to get it. Regular hamster food does not have the protien necessary to sustain a new mother. The vet recommended feeding a new hamster mom dry dog food instead, as it contains much more protien. So if any of the babies are still around, pick up some dog food and give that a try.

 

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