The Food Dish is for Pooping

[Hamster Tales Part 5]

The story so far: I have acquired a pair of female Roborovski hamsters. They’re skittish as hell. I allow them to settle in without interference as start of the taming process. But they get territorial and fight, so I give them a big new cage with new toys. The trauma of being in a new environment makes them forget their feud and they kiss and make up by the end of the day.

Picnic and Pixie

Day 5
Sunday, 30 Dec 2007

I think introducing Picnic and Pixie to their new playground has traumatised them back to square one. They’re so terrified (or disapproving) of the new place that they’ve been huddled together in the basement corner of the Pink Princess Castle an entire day and night.

It’s now 2 am and they’re still not coming out to play.

Picnic's and Pixie's home

I’ll have to wait another three days, let them get back their sense of security, before taming can start.

The first three days, I didn’t give them a roofed house (most hamster guides say that dwarf hamsters need those) because the castle didn’t have room for a house like that.

So, when I bought the new cage, I also bought a proper house for them to sleep in. It cost me $22.

Hamster home

They’re not sleeping in it.

They prefer to bury themselves under a pile of shavings and tissue in the castle basement.

Hamster hiding

I hope it’s because they’re still wary of the new cage and don’t dare to sleep in there yet. It’s possible they will migrate later. I’ve read that hamsters are fond of changing their sleeping spots every so often.

My little princesses are also still pooping in the wheel and in the food dish.

I read through six pages of a poop thread in the hamster forum. It seems like only 20% of hamsters are conscientious clean freaks and will poop in one logical designated spot. Most hamsters just poop wherever they feel like pooping at the moment.

Oh, well, not a big deal. Hamster poop is so tiny you can hardly see it, anyway. It’s like the size of a small ant. And there’s no smell.

Poop in food dish

I don’t know where they are peeing, though. Wherever it is they’re doing it, it gets soaked up before I can see it. I hope not where they’re sleeping or that’ll be really disgusting.

Picnic has appointed a new dining room in the castle. She has decided that the best place to eat is in the wheel, since she’s already pooping in there.

Yes, it makes perfect sense to eat and poop and play in the same spot. Then you can stay put and don’t have to waste time travelling anywhere else for hours and hours and hours.

So Picnic brings all her food into the wheel.

Food in the wheel

I bet she will drag her water bottle into the wheel, too, if she can figure out how to.

Sometimes she sits there and eats quietly. Sometimes she holds the food in her mouth and runs.

Picnic eats in her new dining room

Sometimes she leaves the food on the floor of the wheel and runs and the food makes an awful rattle as it spins around the wheel.

Sweet little Pixie rolls her eyes and sighs with resignation.

Sweet little Pixie

Next Chapter: Tissue Thief

Two Hamsters and a Wheel

[Hamster Tales Part 2]

Day 2
Thursday, 27 Dec 2007

They sleep through the whole day.

They sleep through the whole evening.

It’s worrying. I wonder crazily if they’ve died of trauma.

My pets have no name yet. They keep hiding in the basement and I can’t see them clearly enough to name them.

I cannot touch them, either, because all the hamster guides say I have to let them settle for three days before interacting with them. But I inadvertently rouse them at 9 pm because I need to change their water and open their wheel for business.

The Goonfather had said not to allow them access to their wheel until they’re toilet-trained because he doesn’t want them to poop in the wheel.

But I think what the heck. They need their wheel or they’re going to stay in bed for the rest of their lives.

For toilet-training, I had given them a little toilet hut and put toilet sand into it, supposedly to make them poop in there.

After one day, there’s no poop in the toilet hut. But there’s poop in the food dish. The Goonfather picks the poop pieces up and throws them into the toilet hut.

I hope they get the idea soon.

I let them get used to my scent by letting my hand linger in the cage for a minute. I try to tempt them with a tiny piece of dried fruit but they’re not interested, so I let them alone.

At 1 am, the Goonfather turns off the bedroom light to go to bed. I’m still at my computer doing stuff.

15 minutes later, I hear a sound coming from the cage. I get up to investigate.

Awwwww. My widdle hamster has discovered the wheel.

I do a quiet celebratory hop and dance, and squeal in excitement soundlessly so as not to wake the Goonfather.

I am choked up with joy and pride even though a hamster running on a wheel is about as unremarkable as kilometre-long Toto queues during Chinese New Year.

But I don’t think my reaction is all that melodramatic. After all, I haven’t seen them move from their bed for 24 hours.

I sit there and watch my cutie get used to the wheel. She start-stops every few seconds as if trying to learn how to manage the wheel. After 10 minutes, she gets tired and retires to the basement.

I go back to my computer.

At about 2 am, I hear another sound and rush to the cage.

Both of them are at the wheel.

I want to scream with happiness. I want to wake the Goonfather so he can witness it but he has to work tomorrow.

I sit there for an entire hour watching them share the wheel. It’s so cute I’m dying from cuteness overload.

I am amazed that I can just sit there and stare at them for over an hour without feeling bored.

Once in a while, one of them will come out of the wheel to sniff around, drink some water or groom herself.

I feel compelled to sit there and not ever go away because I don’t want to miss any single moment of cuteness.

But I finally reluctantly leave them to go to bed because it’s already past three in the morning and I need to sleep.

I guess there is always tomorrow.

Tomorrow: Squabbling Sisters