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Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Hamsters That Go Bump In The Night

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.

Catya carving a pumpkin Carving pumpkins is a tradition for Halloween that yields some tasty treats for hamsters. Last year, Catya carved pumpkins just before heading out in her costume.

Boo! It’s that time of year again — spooky decorations are on every corner, scary movies are in every theater, and tricks and treats are on everyone’s mind. (Speaking of treats, be sure to save your pumpkin seeds for your hamster friends. Check out my October blog from last year for a good recipe) We hamster owners don’t need ghosts or goblins to fill the night with strange noises and mysterious happenings — our hamsters create plenty of those!

My friend Katelyn and her family shared quite an experience — from rattling pots and pans in the cupboards to something brushing past them as they slept in their beds, her family was beginning to wonder if they had ghosts! Rather than calling an exorcist, though, they set out raisins in each room and closed all the doors, because it was not a ghost on the loose, but their Syrian hamster, Galadriel! Each night, she somehow escaped from her cage. Her favorite spots to haunt were a particular saucepan in the kitchen cupboard and Katelyn’s mother’s bed! Talk about a frightening awakening. Katelyn eventually found out Galadriel’s escape route — her cage’s door — and shut it off for good by fixing the broken hinge. But I’m sure her family will always remember their “hamster haunting.”

Click image to enlarge  
Kras the Roborovski hamster and pumpkins
Kras posed nicely for this year's Halloween portrait; he is one of Catya's Roborvski hamsters with a Klingon name.
Bunny the hamster and the hamster pumpkin Photos Courtesy Catya
Catya created a hamster pumpkin, but her Roborovski hamsters wanted to eat it instead of pose with it, although she finally snapped Bunny the hamster beside the pumpkin.

Ben, another friend of mine, met his hamster under spooky circumstances. One fall evening — it might even have been October — Ben’s family was enjoying the fresh air in their front yard. There was a lull in the conversation, and they heard a faint rustling noise. There was definitely something moving in the plants. Perhaps it was just a sparrow, or a neighbor’s cat, Ben’s brother said. Perhaps… Then it emerged from the bushes! It scurried toward them with an unearthly, wobbling gait, and had eyes that gleamed in the twilight. Ben’s mother shrieked and kicked at it — a rat, a rat, she cried! (not that rats are actually scary or bad, if you ask me!) It fled back into the bushes, and the family retreated into the house with yelps and shivers. But poor Ben was not yet done with his outside chores for the night. He still had to put the trashcans out on the street, and that … creature… was still lurking out there somewhere. By now, the sun was mostly set, and the autumn chill was in the air. Ben grabbed his flashlight, steeled his courage, opened the door — and saw it sitting on the welcome mat! Up close, he could see that it was not a rat. It was a homeless, three-legged hamster, and this hamster had simply decided that it liked Ben’s family. “Waldorf” became the family’s most beloved pet, living out his days in a proper hamster habitat eating proper hamster food, and he didn’t have to go haunting anymore.

I hope you and your hamsters have a happy and safe Halloween this year!

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Hamsters That Go Bump In The Night

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neat story
l, k, MA
Posted: 11/4/2009 8:32:33 AM
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