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Nature's 7 meanest mommies

May 7, 2010, 3:58 p.m.
Hamster

Photo: sualk61/Flickr

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Hamster

Hamsters are darling  — furry, cute, cuddly … and notorious baby-eaters. Yikes. According to the all-things-hamster site hamster-zone.com, first-time hamster moms may be so shocked by the whole situation that they feel threatened by the new arrivals and simply eat them to remove the threat. Now that’s a novel solution. Also, first-time mothers can produce pups that are undersized or abnormal, thus causing the mother to reject and possibly eat them — or the mother may be craving extra nutrients after giving birth, and if they aren’t provided any other way she’ll snack on her young.

If infant hamsters are handled by humans before they reach 2 weeks of age, the mother may reject the pup, causing her to ignore or … yes, eat them. It’s also believed that this behavior has to do with making sure there’s enough food around to feed the number of pups born. A larger litter than is manageable is often born — but then the mother needs to decrease the litter size to ensure there will be enough food for the the rest.