Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hamster hijinks

My SIL willingly let her three kids (2 girls and a boy) acquire rodents and bring them in to her house. Oh, the drama! Now my three kids are begging for rodents, uttering the usual promises that no one intends to keep:

"I'll take care of them!"
"You won't have to do anything!"
"You won't even notice they're in the house!"
"It will teach us responsibility!"

Yeah, right. No rodents in my house, no way! (Though SnarkGirl has been forced to come up with a novel argument: "A Guinea pig! It's not a rodent! It's a peeeg! They eat 'em in South America!" Her father remains unimpressed and unswayed.)

Now, the SIL was well-meaning; she did intend the hamsters to be a responsibility-building endeavor. To that end, she made them pay for the hamsters and all equipment themselves. Thus, they had to save and combine) their money between the three of them. (They were abetted by their Nana, who helped purchase hamter habitats on Craigslist.)

They ended up with three hamsters. The first made his desperate bid for freedom by going over the wall, only to become a hors de'oeuvre for their black lab. Kee-runch! Drama, shouting and tears ensued. Dog is now persona non grata, though he seems less than distressed by this, judging from the large doggy grin.

The second, clad in the holy armor of the plastic hamster exercise ball, made a headlong bid for freedom down 15 hardwood steps, only to crash in to the wall at the bottom of the stairs. He survived (though he was knocked cold for a good five minutes). While he survived his escape attempt, we suspect he is now 'tarded. The lab was enthusiastic about this, because he loves those crunchy-on-the-outside, savoury-and-chewy-in-the-middle treats.

The remaining hamster now cowers in his plastic-domed hideout, venturing out only for food and water. He's developed quite the twitch.

My offer to set up a Death Clock for the wee critter has been rebuffed, but I suspect his life will be forfeit sooner, rather than later.


  1. Hah. My daughters (7 and 10) recently got into the whole "circle of life" thing via two goldfish they "won" at the carnival. They were abetted by a dear (almost former) family friend, after I told them both, in no uncertain terms, "NO FISH."

    Wrist bracelets for open kid night at the carnival: free (fire department members' kids get one free night). Goldfish bowls, water, filters, food, water treatment, and little scoop nets at Petco: $87.00.

    Fish number one: Nine days; belly-up. Tears and recriminations, followed by another trip to the pet store for another (decidedly NON-free) fishy for Daughter the Younger.

    Fish number two: Twelve days; belly-up. No tears; Daughter the Elder had decided the care and feeding of a fish was too much work anyway. "Can I flush him? Can I? Can I?"

    My kids are weird. But at least fish don't smell as bad as rodents.

  2. New follower here. Just be thankful they didn't get ferrets. Them are some EVIL rodents. Pet sat a pair for a friend once. ONCE!!! Never again. The stench is incredible. Did I mention they are evil? Your SIL would have found the lab tied up, gagged, trussed on a spit and slow roasting over an open flame.

  3. Ferrets are not rodents, they are mustelids. Domestic weasels, fundamentally. And while some pet rodents are relatively inoffensive and like to keep clean given half a chance by their keepers (rats), so far as I know there is no such thing as a mustelid for whom stench is not a mandatory lifestyle accessory.

  4. Our success rate with hamsters has been 50/50 here. Boy had a black bear hamster that was extremely friendly and would even sit on Boy's chest for several minutes at a time. He lived to be three years, and we were all sad to see him go.

    Girl had a Russian Dwarf that quickly earned the nickname Psycho Critter, and expired three months after coming to our home. 'Nuff said.

  5. I'm with LabRat - actual rats are clean pets and they don't bite as much as hamsters.

  6. We've had mice before - my wife thinks they're cute. And it is fun to put them in the plastic hamster ball and watch as they meander around the house, followed in close pursuit by three very interested cats. (The mice don't seem to notice the cats are there, oddly enough...)


Play nicely with others, or eat banhammer.