Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Great Hamster Dads

By Catya
Catya is a judge with the California Hamster Association. She shares her experiences in hamster ownership from a high school student's perspective.

Click to enlarge
three Winter White hamsters
Courtesy of Catya
Minja the hamster taught his pups how to guard the nest and be good dads.

Hello, everyone! I’d like to wish you all a happy Father’s Day! Last Sunday, to celebrate Father’s Day, my siblings and I treated my dad to a home-cooked meal, complete with homemade brownies. Father’s Day reminded us of how lucky we are to have such a great dad. I was also reminded of some of my hamsters who have been great dads, too.

You see, in the dwarf hamster species (Campbell’s, Winter Whites and Roborovskis) the dad helps the mom raise the pups. These hammy fathers help keep the pups warm, bring food to the mom, and even lend a hand during the birthing process. (The Syrian hamster mothers are territorial and send the dad away before the pups are even born, so they don’t get this kind of help.) Some of my hamsters have been awesome hamster dads.

One great hamster dad was Teddy. Teddy was the father of the first Roborovski litter at my house, so the whole breeding experience was still very new and exciting for me. All novelty aside, though, he was also an excellent dad. He and his mate, Cassiopeia, had six beautiful pups, who got names taken from the Greek pantheon — Hermes, Ares, Zeus, Diana, Athena and Apollo. Some of Teddy’s sons grew up to be great dads, too. He did a good job of passing down the family values, I guess! Later, in their old age, Teddy took care of Cassie, bringing her the nicest treats.

Another fantastic hamster dad I had the pleasure of knowing was Minja. Minja (short for “miniature Ninja”) was one of my brother Kevin’s Winter White hamsters, and he was one of the best hamster dads I ever saw. He and his mate, Heidi, had tons of pups — litter after litter after litter — but Minja took really good care of Heidi and the pups, so the babies grew up healthy and strong.

One of Minja’s duties, as a dwarf hamster dad, was to guard the nest from any intruders. He sat near the entrance to the nest (which he carefully hid in an elaborate tunnel system) and watched for hours and hours, making sure the pups and his mate were safe. What was really sweet about it was that when a new litter arrived (just a few weeks after the one before that!), the older siblings helped with the new pups — by bringing their parents snacks, watching over the babies and helping their dad guard the nest. Of course, they learned all this from their devoted father, Minja. It was so neat to watch him teach his children how to stand guard and help out with their younger siblings.

Another thing we noticed about hamster dads is that they live longer. Teddy’s son Hermes was a devoted and doting father to his 12 pups, and he’s now closing in on 3 years old — very impressive for a Roborovski! Fatherhood definitely seems to agree with hamsters.

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Cool story!
Mike, Columbia, TN
Posted: 7/16/2009 11:15:42 AM
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