Sunday, 4 May 2014

No good deed goes unpunished...

Food, Glorious Food!

I've always associated the 1st of May with a holiday. Depending on where you live, you might be celebrating “May Day” or “Labour Day” a.k.a the slightly more socialist sounding “International Workers Day.” For me, the 1st of May will also be known as the “Fuck Me!, My Hamster Just Gave Birth Day” or just “Labour Day” for short.

Let's start at the beginning. The point when the Universe was created, the Big Bang. I'm kidding of course; you should really check out Cosmos: a spacetime odyssey if you haven't already. It all started with my nieces birthday just over a month ago. She had just turned 2 years old and her mother/my sister who I love and respect (even though sometimes she can be a bit of a numpty) decided to buy a pair of dwarf hamsters for my niece.

Now I wasn't happy with this because having a pet is a big responsibility. And as much my as I love my niece and respect her (even though sometimes she can be a bit of a numpty), I didn't think hamsters were the most appropriate gift for a child that age. And I told my sister that. And as much as she loves me and respects me (even though sometimes I can be a bit of a numpty), she said “Never mind, she'll be okay.”

And sure enough, just slightly over a week later I had the pleasure of adopting the hamsters. And I didn't mind much since I already have two cats and when I was younger I had two mice and a hamster. My niece had named one hamster “Hanna” and since she never got around to naming the second hamster I chose the name “Sparta.”

Because I'm a manly man and a bit of a history geek and not a 2 year old girl I named the hamster after the Greek city-state made up of bare chested warriors (according to the historically accurate movie 300); plus I was quietly hoping that if anyone ever asked me what my hamsters name was I would be able to shout “This is...SPARTA!” (that's a 300 movie reference...)

It's been a while since I had a hamster so to get reacquainted with the responsibilities involved with being a hamster owner I decided to turn to Youtube to look for some guidance. I quickly realized two thing:

  1. Based on the amount of videos available, hamsters seem to be a favoured pet of girls. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But next time just to up my manliness credibility I'm thinking of adopting some wolves or maybe a great white shark.

  2. The cage that was provided was clearly too small, especially for a pair of hamsters. I could buy a bigger cage but those cost quite a bit. Or I could go with the less expensive alternative and make a bin cage.

I actually liked making the bin cage. My hamsters have a lot more room to run around in and making the bin cage was also satisfying for me. I don't think I'll ever move to Alaska and build myself a cabin in the woods but at least I can make a bin cage for hamsters. Plus I already have a beard, which is relevant to me for some strange reason.

It's still a work in progress since I'm still waiting for the hamster stuff that I ordered from to arrive e.g. silent spinners, igloos, chew toys etc. And that's all I had to look forward to; the hamsters were not biting my hand as much when I fed them and my cats seemed to really enjoy their company.

But as I already mentioned at the start of this post, on the 1st of May I opened the bin cage to clean it and I'm staring down at a small pink newborn hamster. And then I found all the other small pink newborn hamsters. About four in total.

Aww..that's so..cute?

Well, I was not prepared for this revelation. This will be the closest feeling I have to a parent who just found out their teenager is pregnant; unless of course I get married, have a child or children (I want to have options) and then have a teenager who tell me that they're pregnant or they got someone pregnant. Remember kids always be safe, “One night stands may be over by mornin' but syphilis lasts a last time”; Robert De Niro said that once in a movie. Which means its true...just like in 300.

Now this was quite a surprise since according to my sister she had two female hamsters. And so in a less than happy mood I called her to “discuss” the current situation. Well, apparently the store kept all their hamsters together and didn't separate them by their gender. So Hanna might have been pregnant when she was bought. Or most likely, the employee didn't really know the difference between a male and female hamster and randomly picked Sparta who is actually a male hamster.

The other least likely scenario is that I had somehow upset this person in the past and he came up with a brilliant plan of getting a job at a pet store and waited for the right time for my sister to walk in and buy a hamster for her daughter. AND THEN he purposely gave my sister a male and female pair, knowing I would end up with the hamsters and I would have to deal with the problem. Touché sir, your plan worked perfectly...

Thankfully, there are a lot of forums and websites giving advice so I sort of know what to do. I still don't know if Sparta is a male or female. It's really hard to figure out the gender of a dwarf hamster. Right now, Sparta is in isolation in her/his own cage until I figure things out. It's not because she/he did anything wrong, Sparta just fits a certain profile and I want to be safe rather than sorry.

The good thing is that Hanna knows what she's doing so as long as I don't stress her too much or accidentally touch the babies, she won't eat them. Yes, apparently that's a thing that hamsters do. I will probably have to make a lot more bin cages and probably look for new homes for them. Or I could just let them out and play with my cats...relax..I'm kidding of course! Anyway, this is a few days late but happy Labour Day everyone...

To the employee at the pet store I have this to say to you:

I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”

Again, that's not one of mine. It's another movie reference; Liam Neeson from the film Taken with a few changes made.

Here are some links: