For the last couple of weeks we've been looking after 2 syrian hamsters, called Toffee and Mocha. Their original owner was a student who was returning to Singapore. She had found a new owner but needed someone to look after them in the meantime.
I was trying to take a photo of Mocha (which is difficult because she's a very dark brown colour and she sometimes disappears into the shadows) but she wouldn't keep still. Emma tried feeding her which helped a bit, she (Mocha) would sit still and eat. This worked fine until Emma gave her a monkey nut. She pouched it whole, instead of opening it and eating it. The nut in its case, in her cheek pouches, would rattle every time she walked. We had to resist the temptation to pick her up and gently shake her to hear the rattling.
Mocha, with the soon to be pouched monkey nut.
At the weekend, we were in Northampton visiting some baby Roborovski Hamsters. We met their owners first (Alison and Doug, some of our hamster-owning friends) before driving over to their house to poke the babies. We took 2 of them home with us and they are living happily with Psyche. At the moment we're not sure of their gender - if they turn out to be female we may have to move them out before he gets any ideas.
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Theo the hamster died today. He was nearly 2 years old which is a good age for a Winter White. He is survived by his brothers Reggie and Archie.
Our roborovski hamsters smell of curry. We bought some fenugreek flavoured biscuits from Pets at Home and they seem to enjoy them. The only side effect seems to be the smell!
Food isn't safe when Podge is around. It didn't take him long to find the peanut butter sandwich I made for my breakfast.
Our reason for going was the Hamster show. We arrived early because we counted as 'exhibitors' so had to arrive before the show opened to the public. We had plenty of time to wander around and see what else was going on though. Unfortunately we also had to wait until the end before we could leave so it was quite a long day.
It was worth it though because Hank and Peggy won in the 'novice' section, although it was a bit of a cheat because they were the only two in it. Hank did come third in the 'dwarf sapphire' section though. We also brought Psyche along to enter into the 'pets' category. He came second - we're sure he lost marks because he was reluctant to come out of his 'nest' for the judge.
Chainsaw carving - this was very impressive. It was a while before we managed to work out what he was making - it was an eagle in flight.
They had ferrets and ferret racing.
And pig racing.
And a sheepdog rounding up ducks.
For the past week or so, Theo (aka Podge) has been very hyperactive and constantly demanding attention. If we walk past his cage he's often climbing or nibbling the bars and if we open the door he'll often flop out onto our hands.
This started shortly after we got Hank and Peggy. It's unlikely to be jealousy, it's more likely to be that he can smell girl hamster and it's making him all excited.
1. Photos of Hank and Peggy
I wasn't able to get photos of our latest hamsters at the weekend because I didn't have batteries for the camera. Peggy is slim, quick and very nosey. Hank is slower, rounder and less inquisitive. Emma is changing her mind about names, and occasionally refers to them as Red and Kitty from That 70s Show.
2. Roborovski Update
Alysia and Zosima have been living together for about a month now. It took a couple of days to get them settled together but they seem happy with each other's company. We don't usually refer to them by name any more - they have become Big Silly and Little Silly.
3. The Others
Everyone else is doing fine, although apart from Reggie we seem to have stopped using their original names. Archie is known as Tubble, Psyche is called Pissy or Stinky (because of his habit of using his bedroom as a toilet), and Theo has become Podge.
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We acquired two new hamsters today, from a breeder at a the Great Barr hamster show. Emma had pre-arranged this a few months ago and we'd already decided on names. We were wanting names from a TV family and chose Hank and Peggy from 'King of the Hill'.
The ones we collected weren't the original Hank and Peggy though. After a week together, the original Peggy ate the origninal Hank so we were given two different animals.
Gel the Hamster died this morning. She'd been looking very old and during the last few days she'd been very weak and unable to walk properly, crawling everywhere. She was about 18 months old.
Just over a week ago someone left a shoe box full of hamsters in Primark, which were taken to the RSPCA centre. Emma was wanting to take a few of them but we really don't have room and it'll be more cages to deal with when we move house soon.
The local free paper had a story about the Coventry branch of the RSPCA being short of cash and Emma wanted to help out by taking a small hamster off their hands. They had one called Biggles, who was described as tiny Chinese Hamster. He turned out to be a female roborovski, so although Biggles would be a good name for a boy hamster, we think we'll need to find a new name for her.
Bumble the Roborovski Hamster died yesterday. We found him in the evening, curled up in his bedroom. It looked like he died peacefully in his sleep. We buried him this morning in the corner of the garden alongside Uri, Ira and Zac.
These frames were from a video taken last year, showing Bumble trying to climb onto the outside of his wheel. He did it regularly and each time he fell off. He's not the brightest of hamsters.
Here's a photo of him asleep outside his 'nest' under the wooden bridge:
After we had our Christmas Dinner, we gave the hamsters some too. They seemed to enjoy it. At lunchtime Reggie had some beef and a little turkey. After dinner proper they all had a small piece of turkey, sprout and roast potato.
Theo eating some sprout.
Archie eating some vegetables for a change.
Reggie eating some roast potato.
Gel and Alysia relaxing after their Christmas dinner. (Gel's the flat one underneath)