Hamster Tales

Part 7: Which explains what hamsters are made of

If hamsters were interested in anything other than being hamsters, they could have careers testing pinball machines. Nature (or fear of having to share turf, chow, or favorite widdling spots with another hamster) causes them to obsessively patrol their territory. (By the way, as you read on, it should be understood without saying that the word obsessively modifies all verbs that describe hamster movement, including sleep.)

Hamster in the tower

A typical hamster's play routine consists of: Hamster scuttles out of hut and over to big wheel, sniffs big wheel, jumps inside, revolves three times, jumps out, scuttles to sand pit but does not hop in, scuttles to door of big hut and turns around, scuttles back to big wheel and jumps in on top of other hamster, forces out other hamster, then jumps out himself, scuttles down length of run to end, stands still for a second looking thoughtful and waddles off (leaving a small puddle behind), scuttles to log pile and goes inside, pops back out, scuttles to little wheel, etc. To visualize the activity in the run, multiply this by five.

I could pick out a couple of the babies from the litter. One with a slight zigzag down her back was the boldest, the first to climb in -- and fall out of -- the hut tower. Having learned too late that the females are usually larger and more aggressive than the males, I was sure that Flash had inherited her mother's sex, personality, and teeth. Baby was the obvious name I gave to the hamster smaller than the rest, whom I sentimentally and naively decided was my secret favorite.

My observations yielded some interesting hamster facts. For example, the hamster's body consists of:

  • 0.5% brain
  • 50% fur
  • 2.5% other stuff
  • 47% bladder

Hamster drinking

The hamsters were fairly consistent in all using the same couple of spots for latrines, but they kept changing the locations after each time I cleaned the run. I would put down a thick pad of absorbent towels in the preferred area, and that night the hamsters would say to themselves, "Oh, that's too nice to piss on," and would flood another spot. It became necessary to clean out their run at least every other day. Ted remarked, "How could one little hamster possibly be much bother?"

Go back to Part 6
in which I do not run
a hamster ranch
Go forward to Part 8
in which I try to
sex a hamster