The Hamster Chronicles
Thursday, January 13, 1994
Well, Tubbo isn't tubbo any more. I'd guess he's a full ounce lighter than when I named him that (and when you weigh less than 7 ounces, losing 1 ounce is a major change). The difference is probably his diet. Ian fed him table scraps; at our place, he gets hamster food, some extra sunflower seeds and an occasional nut or carrot stick. It seems he really isn't too fond of the hamster food. The first thing he does when I refill his food dish is to dig around and find all the sunflower seeds, which he takes to his hoard. There's also something called "kibbled corn" in the mix that he likes, but the vitamin-enriched pellets that are touted on the box as being so wonderful go pretty much untouched.
However, this does give me an opportunity. Relationships between hamsters and humans (and other hamsters) are characterized more by tolerance than by friendship -- they're even worse than cats that way. So whenever I first pick Paul up I've been feeding him a sunflower seed (we have zillions of 'em, left over from our garden). I'm hoping the "being picked up is good" idea gets into his teeny-weeny little brain somehow. He seems to be pretty pleased to be getting his favorite food again, since his food dish is all out of them. He usually doesn't eat it immediately, but stuffs it in his cheek, as hamsters will. He has huge food pouches; I've seen him stuff an entire brazil nut (as big as his head) into his cheek.
He might be getting more exercise, too -- I'm not sure. Ian gave us a plastic ball that we can put him in; he then is able to wander around the apartment, safe from feet, cats, etc., and unable to get himself into places we can't reach (once, when he wasn't in the ball, he got under the refrigerator). He *really* likes the ball. Generally he'll carefully sniff anything I put in front of him, but if it's the ball, he jumps right in. He also doesn't like to get out of it. Sometimes if I grab him he'll plant one foot on either side of the opening to keep himself inside. So, we put him in the ball for quite a while almost every day. He then rolls around all over the place -- under the bed, behind the stove and in the storage room.
In my last message, I said we had a plan to make a leash for Paul. It's turning out to be a bit harder than I expected, though. My first idea was something like a ferret harness, made of rope or leather straps. But a bit of experimentation showed than any such contraption I could get him into, *he* could immediately get himself out of. Thinking elastic might be the answer, I cut a very small hole in an old sock. I put him in the sock and got his head through the hole; his whole body immediately followed, and he was no longer in the sock, so that plan was out. My next idea was a sort of suit made of canvas, wrapping around him, with holes for his legs. Making the suit was no problem, but getting him into it was. It took Joanne and me working together to get just two of his legs through the holes. At that point, we had one unhappy hamster on our hands. Hamsters don't have much variety in the way of facial expressions, but he still was able to look extremely angry. He screeched at us -- the first and only vocalization I've heard him make -- and the message was clear. I gave up on the leash idea for a while.
Later, though, I tied a bunch of rubber bands together and was able to slip the result on him quite easily; he happily trotted around covered with rubber bands. I'm thinking some sort of arrangement of elastic loops and canvas might work. I'll have to buy some new supplies before I try that, though.
I guess next time I'll tell y'all about Paul's sky-diving habit.
Copyright 1994, 1997 Glenn G. Chappell. "The Hamster Chronicles, Part 2" 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: email@example.com
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