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My son is doing a project on the life cycle of a hamster -

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what are all the stages...
My son is doing a project on the life cycle of a hamster - what are all the stages - Thanks
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Pet
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Answered in 21 minutes by:
3/2/2010
Pet Specialist: Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist replied 8 years ago
Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
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Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Hello

Beginning with mating, dwarf hamsters usually take 18-21 days from mating until they give birth, although it can take up to 30 days. Syrian hamsters have a shorter gestation period - as few as 14 days. Most females begin nest-building a few days in advance.

For the first 10 days, the mother will take care of everything. If there are more babies than she can take care of, she'll cull the weakest. If one leaves the nest, she'll put it back. Disturbances at this time may cause the mother to kill the babies.

Between the 10th. and 13th. days, the babies will open their eyes and begin moving around the cage. They'll start to sample foods and learn to drink from the water bottle. Their fur will grow, and by three weeks of age, they'll be eating like adults. When the babies are 28 days old, they should be separated from their mother. It's also a good idea to separate males and females at this time. Males can reach sexual maturity at around 3 weeks, with females soon following. If you'd like to read more details about how babies develop, here's an excellent site:

http://www.hamsterific.com/RaisingPups.cfm


After weaning, hamsters go through a juvenile stage - sort of like teenagers. By three months, they are adults. Young adulthood lasts until about one year. This is generally the hamster's healthiest stage of life, though some strains are prone to inherited defects, such as diabetes and cardiomyopathy. They will die young. From one year to about 18 months, hamsters are middle-aged.

Old age begins at apporoximately 18 months. For Syrian hamsters, the life span is 18 months to 2 years, with a few living up to age three. The dwarf species live a bit longer - 18 months to about 30 months. A few may live 2 to 4 years. As hamsters get older, they become more prone to some diseases that can't be treated. Some of their organs can become embedded with minerals. They can develop cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Cancer and strokes become quite common. You can read more about hamster old age here:

http://www.hilltopanimalhospital.com/hamsters.htm

I hope this is the type of information you needed. If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY.

Anna


Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11,923
Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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