My Fat HamsterApril 21, 2010
Well, I say “my” fat hamster, but she really belongs to my daughter. But my kids are only here every second week, so for a lot of the time, Moonshine has to hang with us. So we consider her “our” fat hamster, too.
Buying a hamster was a big deal, as I’d never had a hamster before. We had a gerbil when I was a kid, but it escaped and chewed through a lamp cord, and that was that. When we decided to buy a hamster last summer, we had three important questions:
- What’s a hamster?
- Do they smell?
- Do they cost more than six bucks?
The answers were “rodent,” “no, only a little” and “no.” So we bought a hamster. Later, I did my research, checking Wikipedia or something, and learned that all modern domestic hamsters are descended from one pair of Syrian hamsters imported to the U.S. a long time ago, kind of like Adam and Eve, only furry and kind of fat.
As a longtime dog owner, I thought a hamster would be a dull, mindless kind of pet, like a fish, or a bird. It lives in a cage. Its brain is the size of a pea, or a raisin, or a Sarah Palin fan’s. “It won’t be much of a pet,” I said. And I was wrong.
Here are some cool things the fat hamster does:
- Goes downstairs: She’ll find the basement, nudge the door open and bop down the stairs, all while enclosed in her plastic ball.
- Check to see who you are: Whenever someone new enters the room, she’ll stand on her hind legs and give them a good once-over.
- Scratch her back: This is the funniest. She’ll wedge herself between the top of her running wheel and the ceiling of her cage, belly up, and ratchet back and forth.
- Go to her favourite spot: Our house isn’t big, and she’s really slow-moving, so we often let her roam. And she always goes to the same spot. If you can’t find her, you know she’ll be at the back of my oldest son’s closet.
- Hide in my pocket: I’ll often put her in my shirt pocket. Hamsters burrow by nature, so she’ll hide at the bottom of it for a while, then pop out. I like to walk around with her hanging out, her little hands (hamsters have scarily human hands) holding a piece of lettuce while she munches away. It makes the mailman laugh. Well, I hope that’s what he’s laughing at.
All in all, the hamster is a fine pet. She’s as responsive as a cat (but not a dog) and much easier to care for. And she never fails to make us laugh at the end of a long day. I think everyone should have a fat hamster.