By: Johanna Marano March 5, 2017
Hello all! I am back once again to talk about breeding my hamsters for my senior Reproduction Research Project. If you missed my first blog on my hamsters, please check it out to get the background on my project. I used that first blog to explain the class, the project, and how my hamsters, meaning the female, just were not in the mood to, well you know, get it on.
However, let me tell you all that times have changed. And the hamsters have changed their minds! Great things are happening down in the labs here at Delaware Valley University.
On Thursday March 3rd, my Repro lab partner and I were actually in our Small Animal Research Techniques lab. That lab ended very early because we were only going over and interpreting the data we had been collecting over the past couple of weeks. When we left lab, my partner suggested checking if our Repro teacher was in her office. We both had a lot of time before our next class, so we figured we might as well use our time wisely and see what our hamsters were up to.
On our way over to her office, we quick calculated if our hamster would be in estrous or not based on the last time we was supposed to be ready. Their cycles happen every four to five days. We counted it out and it was eight days since the first time we tried. So by our estimated guess, our hamster should have been ready to breed. Again this was all theoretical, since she was supposed to be ready the previous time and was not in the mood.
We found our teacher down in the labs because a few other groups were going to be doing ultrasounds on their rabbits. So while everyone else worked on that we spent some quality time with our hamsters. Things were not looking too promising when we started, but we were not giving up. We were determined to get hamster babies!
Once we prepped the area that we would use for mating, we grabbed our female hamster and placed her in the cage. Our initial thought was to try a different box of males and maybe the female would be more receptive. We were very very wrong. Upon placing the male in the cage, both hamsters began sniffing each other. However, this male had no clue what he was supposed to be doing. The female got into position and he continued to wander around the cage. Then when he decided he would take action, where did he go, but to her head. He tried to mount her head for crying out loud! What good is that going to do???
We decided it was time to get a male from the box we used the previous time. If we recall from my last blog, those males were much smarter and ready to get it on. So we switched them out and were extremely successful. Our female and her new male counterpart immediately began sniffing each other. When she was ready, she got in to position. He then did a little investigating at his target area, unlike the hamster who went for her head. Once he saw where he was going, he just went for it.
They did their hamster thing for quite some time. And yes we watched. Yes, I know most people will find it weird or gross watching animals having sex, but I am an animal major. It was whatever and I needed to be sure they actually did what they were supposed to. Hamsters will usually go at it for seven or eight times before the female has finally had enough. If she would get feisty, it is crucial to separate them immediately or she could potential harm or injure the male. However, our hamsters must have had a really deep connection or were simply just better at tolerating each other. Because they were awesome, they did not fight one bit. They just continually did their thing over and over again. My partner and I even let them go for a few extra rounds because they were both behaving so well.
We placed the male back in his cage and it seemed as though his cage mate congratulated him upon his return. They gave each other a super awkward embrace that was like a hug. Before putting the female back in her cage, we weighed her so we would be able to monitor her progress. If she begins to gain weight and looks plump, it will be a tell-tale sign that she is indeed pregnant.
We were over the top excited and so was our teacher, since some many people were having trouble breeding their hamsters. So hopefully when I get back from spring break, I will be able to tell and know if my hamster is in fact pregnant. But till then, please keep the happy thoughts and prayers coming my way because it seems to be working! Thank You!!