One of the common adages about rodents such as hamsters is that they are notoriously prolific breeders. But have you ever stopped to wonder exactly why that is? The answer to that question is probably no, but even if you have, you may not have considered such a question as, do hamsters have periods?
Shockingly, the answer is no – at least, not in the same sense as humans do.
This article will touch on the biological processes that take place inside the female hamster, and how those processes impact what the mating process is for hamsters overall.
The Female Hamster Fertility Cycle
While it takes years for a human female to reach an age of sexual maturity, female hamsters can reach sexual maturity in a matter of weeks, often by the time they are a month old. The female hamster’s sexual cycle known as being in heat, and the duration is a matter of days, even hours. The female hamster’s fertility cycle comes around every four days or so and lasts for a few hours.
The second day of the cycle is the end of the ovulation period, and your hamster will secrete a white discharge. This is the most fertile day of the cycle. The third day of the cycle will bring another sort of discharge, this one being more firm than the other, almost waxy in its appearance and consistency. Some hamster owners have reported seeing a drop or two of blood at this time, but it is never more than this miniscule amount, and that signals the end of the cycle.
The Female Hamster, Mating, and Birth
Discharge from the female hamster is not limited to its ovulation cycle. If your fuzzy friend mates, there will be some white discharge that appears roughly five days after your hamster’s mating experience. This is absolutely normal and means that pregnancy has taken hold. By a week after mating, your hamster will look visibly pregnant.
Anywhere from 15 to 25 days after your hamster’s sexual encounter, the litter of pups can be expected. Just before delivering her litter, your hamster may experience some bloody discharge. This is also normal.
Hamster Discharge Outside of the Reproductive Cycle
Occasionally, vaginal discharge can occur if your hamster is stricken with a condition known as pyometra, which is an infection of the uterus. In this case, the discharge may have a yellow tint and have a foul odor. If you notice this in your hamster, contact your vet for advice and further treatment.
A Final Word On Hamsters Having Periods
The hamster reproductive cycle is, as we’ve seen, much shorter than that of most other animals. We’ve also seen that female hamsters don’t quite operate under the same reproductive cycle expectations as other animals – or even as humans – in regard to having a “menstrual period.” And it is likely this unconventionality that has led to the old adage about rodents being particularly prolific breeders. And this unconventionality has also proven it to be true.