||Summary One hundred and forty-four naive virgin female golden hamsters were each given a single 15 min test with three pups aged from day 1 (<24 hr) to day 18. A group of eight females was tested with each age of pup. Pups aged from day 1 to day 6 were generally attacked like prey, killed and eaten. Pups of intermediate age (day 6 to day 10) were usually initially attacked but this was often followed by maternal responses. The females', behaviour with the oldest pups suggested that they were being treated as strnge adult intruders. This result differs from that of a similar experiment with mice in which the youngest pups were found to be the most effective for eliciting materal responses. An explanation for this difference in terms of the evolutionary history of the golden hamster species is proposed.