Corn-Based Diet Turns Hamsters into Cannibals

Corn-Based Diet Turns Hamsters into Cannibals

The hamster population in France which has been “collapsing” and causing hamsters to go mad and eat their own offspring is probably due to a change from a wheat-based diet to corn-based diet according to researchers, as reported by mnn.com.

“Previously, the rodents fed on a variety of grains, roots and insects but changes in agricultural techniques have transformed their habitats and made them feed nearly exclusively on corn,” reported independent.com. Eating only corn has caused the hamsters to lack vitamins, specifically vitamin B3 – also known as niacin.

Scientists conducted a study in which wild two female hamsters were fed different diets: a corn-based diet and a wheat-based diet.

The females who were fed a corn-based diet gained an irregular appearance, acted weird, and ate their pups. When the researchers switched their diets back to wheat-based, the hamsters stopped eating their pups and regained a normal appearance.

“Our hamster habitat is collapsing. Monoculture in agriculture is really bad for biodiversity. Now we need to take concrete action,” stated Gerard Baumgart, President of the Research Centre for Environmental Protection in Alsace, and an expert on the European hamster, in an interview with theguardian.com.