Nearing the day of the birth, which is usually the morning of the 16th or 17th day (for syrians), you will definitely be eager and waiting to see the babies. However, you should keep in mind that hamsters will cannibalize their babies if they are frightened, alarmed or feel that there is a threat present. For this reason, try not to disturb her by going to the cage often. If you know the date of her mating, just change the shavings 2 days before she's due (do your calculations based on gestation periods). After this, don't touch or disturb her cage except for feeding her for the next 2 weeks after the birth of her pups. Don't change the shavings too early as the mother might not accept the pups because of a change of smell.
You will know that she has given birth if there are signs of blood on the shavings. You might not see this though and instead will hear the soft squeaking noises of the pups. She usually does a good job of cleaning up. If you see her eating something bloody, don't worry. It might just be the placenta of from the birth and is not the baby. Also, she could be cleaning the baby with her tongue, which she has to do to each one after they arrive. Do not touch the young under any circumstances. This might induce the mother to cannibalize her young.
- Put another
hamster with mother and pups. Most likely, the mother will feel
threatened and start to fight with the intruder. She will also be
highly disturbed and may turn to eating her young.