My Fat Hamster

April 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:

  1. What’s a hamster?
  2. Do they smell?
  3. 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:

  1. Goes downstairs: She’ll find the basement, nudge the door open and bop down the stairs, all while enclosed in her plastic ball.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


One comment

  1. I think everyone should have a fat hamster too… if you don’t like to sleep at night.

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