The Hamster Chronicles
Saturday, January 1, 1994
We have a new resident at our happy home, weighing in at 6 ounces (plus postage and handling), a 6-inch-long bundle of curiosity with a passion for sunflower seeds. He's named "Paul", a.k.a. "Tubbo", a.k.a. "Paul the Fat": one rather large hamster.
He lately resided at Ian's place, but when he developed the annoying habit of beating up his compatriots, something had to be done. Conveniently, Ian gave us a hamster cage for Christmas. The original idea was that we would go find some cute little baby hamster at a pet store. But keeping Paul for a while offered sort of a "rent-a-pet" arrangement; we could find out if we liked having a hamster around, while not being committed to keeping him, and Ian's other hamsters could get a little peace of mind.
So we brought him over Tuesday night, shortly after we got back from K.C. When we put him in his new cage, his first priority was, predictably, exploration; his second was escape. It didn't take him long to find the weak point in our set-up. Ian found his hamsters liked sleeping in a 2-liter bottle attached to his (rather complex) hamster condo. So he included the attached bottle in ours as well. It has a hole in the side for easy cleaning and hamster removal. This hole is covered by another partial 2-liter that fits over the whole thing. But that hole in the side gives the hamster the initial tooth-hold he needs. When he started, I got out my stopwatch. After 12 minutes, he had gnawed a hole in the bottle big enough for him to get half his body out. Unfortunately, he couldn't get all of it out. He was high enough that his back legs weren't touching anything, but not far enough out to be able to grip anything with his front legs. In short, he was quite stuck. For two whole minutes he struggled valiantly, while we watched and giggled. At the end of this monumental effort, he was completely exhausted, so he slumped down and panted for a while. We took pity on him and, hoping he hadn't had a massive heart attack, extricated him from his predicament. Like the cruel, tyrannical overlords we truly are, we put him back in the cage and duct-taped the opening he had made.
His third priority was setting up housekeeping. Ian's hamster book has been wrong about a few things (like "Hamsters never overeat.") but it seems to have been quite correct in describing the way hamsters set up their living arrangements. They always have a particular place where they sleep, a place where they keep their food hoard, and a toilet. When Paul started getting violent, Ian put him in a part of the condo where he couldn't get to the others. He also couldn't get to his bed. Of course, he could have just made a new bed, but he didn't want to do that. Paul spent almost every waking moment for 3 days trying, with a surprising amount of success, to gnaw a hole through an inch of wood so he could get back home.
Thus, we were a bit concerned that Paul wouldn't like his new cage. But, after the initial flurry of escape efforts, he decided to go about the business of making the place livable. However, his choices weren't quite to my liking. He put his bed in a corner of the main box, which was fine, but he let the attached 2-liter be his toilet. The result was rather disgusting to look at, so I decided to do some rearranging for him. Among other things, I moved his bed, which he'd made out of paper strips, into the bottle. He's been sleeping there ever since.
... and that's about enough for now. We have a plan of making a leash and taking him on walks. We'll let y'all known how that turns out.
Copyright 1994, 1997 Glenn G. Chappell. "The Hamster Chronicles, Part 1" may be freely copied and distributed provided that the text is unchanged, this notice is retained, and no fee is charged for said distribution. Distribution for a fee may only be done with express written permission of the author. While it is not strictly required, the author would also appreciate being notified if The Hamster Chronicles are made available to the public free of charge. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Next comes Part 2. Or go back to the Table of Contents.