Penny’s custom Hammocks and Cage Tour

So, as many of you have noticed I cannot get enough of Rittles N Bittles custom made quilted hammocks. Holly makes the most awesome, beautiful hammocks EVER. Seriously, wish I could afford for her to quilt me a queen sized comforter for my bed! Or my own quilted hammock to hang somewhere in the house. You have to also check out her PRECIOUS blog of her Rats and of her quilting projects and etc. Rittles and Bittles. GAH. I don’t know how I don’t have a mischief of Rats already in my home after following her blog for so long now.

Penny’s hammocks are a total honor for this little girl. As you all have come to see Penny is a wild and crazy girl. Sure, she’s slowing down and calmer with maturity. She’s a lady now. But no one will ever forget her youth. She was Lady Gaga of Syrian Hamsters! And so, she got her wild and crazy art deco like hammocks made. And they are amazing. In fact in person they are 10 times more beautiful and amazing. Sturdy! For my chewer – she made these thicker. There is fleece in the inside with the zebra fabric over it as an underside. This is something she doesn’t normally do but since Penny has a thing about fleece and digging (and I mean She really loves to dig the heck out of fleece) Holly came up with this idea. And so far she hasn’t been gnawing, digging, roughing up the hammocks at all. Not like those cheap hammocks I was getting from Amazon and such before. I’ve checked in on her already several times tonight and she’s always found on one of her two hammocks.

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I could flip the hammocks over and use just straight zebra pattern if I wanted. It’s tempting as I love zebra. But I just love the crazy pattern too much. The zebra underside is very noticeable as I have her cage on a shelf that is to my chest height. When I walk into the room I catch the underside of the hammocks with my eye.

Penny when she first checked out the hammock and gave her seal of approval by stretching comfortably within it.

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And an updated tour of her cage set up.  The log thing is an edible log from Walmart. It is a stool for her to get into her sand box (icecream container) and also she can go underneath it like a tunnel. Her igloo house is in the back corner behind the platforms.

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Can you find Penny in this picture below? She has two wooden platforms that are covered in contact paper. A Wodent Wheel and Flying Saucer both 12 ”. A hanging plastic tube and Space Pod (Sputnik in the UK) her two quilted hammocks, her woven grass hammock, And her wooden 3 tiered hearts platform I made her.

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And I have a few dangling toys. One of which isn’t pictured as I just put it in tonight. It’s the woodies flower garland that was in the Gerbil’s cage. They never bothered to play with it or chew it so it’s in Penny’s for her to play and chew or at least look cute hanging in there since they are pink and purple flowers. Matches.

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Gerbilarium clean out and plans

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So, I found that dollhouse on the trash pickup curb and took it in to make something of it but in doing that saved this background and used it as wallpaper for the gerbils topper. LOL. I think it’s cute! Originally the function was only temporary to keep their mess within the topper and not over the side onto the floor in the back.

I haven’t bought a rotary tool yet or attained acrylic glass sheets which I plan to soon to make a barrier on the lower half of all sides of the topper to keep it tidier.

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Now I kinda love it.
Also I added back the hanging hay holder. Make them work for their hay for while. Love these darlings.

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Then later today I decided to try a homemade hammock out of jeans. I figured it would be harder for them to chew up if they decide to and if its a success I can have a jean hammock sewn well and sturdier.

And I added their suspension ladder bridge from Bobby’s Bunny Boutique placed in. I can’t wait to see them climb around on these. Right at this time they were snoozing when I put it in.

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Get this suspension ladder bridge from Bobby’s Bunny Boutique!

I get asked this often so I will take this opportunity to answer as I just did this big clean!

How long does it take to clean their gerbilarium?

The larger the space and deeper the substrate and whether you supply a litter pan/box/pot for your critter to do all their business in – the less cleaning is required.

My gerbils go wee and poo in aragonite sand that I keep in a high sided metal pot. I change this sand out every couple days.

They also sometimes use the cardboard squares I place in there for them to chew. So when I see they have I replace the cardboard. This is spot cleaning. Something that should be done daily or semi daily.

Monthly I do a full clean.

Gerbils do not wee much. They are desert rodents and drink little and wee little. They are also very clean animals. So they do not have much of a smell (I have a sensitive nose and notice only a smell in their litter pot). Mine go mostly in their pot. When I scoop out their substrate I never notice poops. I am not saying there isn’t poops in the main substrate but for a month and two gerbils the fact I haven’t seen any is telling that they go mostly in their pot and that is changed semi daily.

With a full clean monthly I remove most everything from the topper. I sweep with a little hand broom the cardboard and tissue they shred up there and nest with inside their summer home in the topper. In the winter they sleep “downstairs” in their burrows. But I have noticed that when it is warmer they nest in a wood house “upstairs” to keep cooler. This is why I am an advocate of the big tank and topper extension for a gerbil set up.

I place my gerbils in a box to play in with tubes to chew and hide in while I begin to clean.

I vacuum the topper out with the hose attachments and remove it and then wipe it down with a cage cleaner chemical safe for animals. then go over that with a warm wet cloth to wipe the residue of the cleaner away. then dry it with paper towels.

Then I remove the driftwood and platform out of tank and begin to scoop out most of the substrate and then vacuum out the remaining bit. I use a cleaner to wipe out all the residue left in the tank and repeat same process as the topper.

I wipe all around the outside of the tank too.

I replace their driftwood and platform and add a semi deep layer of substrate (shredded aspen by Native Earth) and hay so they can shred and thicken their burrows. In the hotter months I put less substrate. In the winter I put at least 8 inches of substrate.

On goes the topper and I replace all their items in there. Add more cardboard and toilet paper rolls and treats in there before putting them back. Then I hand feed them their most favorite treat so they have a positive experience after all the upheaval.

Then I vacuum my floor all around the area.

All this process from start to finish including vacuuming the floor I have found takes an hour at least.

But this is only monthly. Therefore really not bad at all.

The semi daily spot cleaning as well changing out water in their bottles takes 5 minutes I think.

Bob recieved his custom quilted hammocks from Rittles And Bittles

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I have bought a quilted hammock from Holly from Rittles and Bittles before and put it in Strawberry’s cage and a pretty good few shots of it in action are here. But I really couldn’t wait to have custom hammocks made for Bob and Penny. So, Bob’s turn was next (order of when I adopted them and not favoritism I swear!)

Communication with Holly is amazing. She asks for colors and ideas of what you have in mind. She sorts through her collection of fabrics and with an artistic eye will put together some swatches and send you a photo of what she has in mind based on what one has described. And really, you have got to let this lady use her eye for you because she really knows how to put together visually pleasing pieces. Step by step she’ll share photos and descriptions of the process which is really exciting and interesting. You realize that this isn’t some assembly line stuff. This really is a process and not done with haste. Quilting is truly an art form!

And I feel that I haven’t just developed a client and service type relationship but made a new friend! These hammocks began as furnishings for her lovely ratties! And from there the idea that other rodents would appreciate her creations is what created her Etsy business.

These hammocks are sturdy and beautiful. Here are Bob’s triangle hammocks and an up close shot of the detail of his square! (the bottom of the hammocks are a durable fleece so you could use either side you wish. I like the fleece for the sturdy backing but prefer to use the decorative quilted side for the show.)

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And here he is enjoying himself from his look out. He will sit and groom and gaze out at the world beyond his cage for quite awhile several times in the evening and night. Here he contemplates life.

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For the two corner/triangle hammocks I had begun by using the larger clips but changed to a smaller type to fit his cage better.

And what is sweetest of all is that as we’ve communicated a lot in a personable way I told her the story of how Bob got his name. Both Holly and I share a love for Doctor Who and she in fact has had a couple of Doctors and a Rose. I had planned to name Bob “Doctor” but my son intervened with his own fandom! And as a surprise gift I received these darling two hammocks to honor Bob. This is sentimental because it locks in time when my son loved Bob the Builder and gave Bob his name. Which was much more fitting than Doctor anyway.

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Which as you see I had to incorporate into his cage as my son insisted (he was infatuated with the hammocks immediately and squealed delightfully when he saw them) and I think they are just darling for Bob. I was going to use them alternately but we were impatient. And so the Bob hammock is under his shelf and the other makes a wonderful banner. I am contemplating how to attach it to his cage from the outside right now unless I can put it inside in some way. I have done a couple of cage rearranges already and haven’t found a way as of yet.

Here is a very brief video of Bob. As I was multitasking – attending to the kids and putting in hammocks and etc I only took video of the very end of his initial romp around the hammocks. He was going crazy at first. Going from hammock to hammock and down and then up again and then into his wheel and then back into his hammocks. You would be amazed how Syrians do love hammocks! They are perhaps my two Syrian’s FAVORITE cage accessories or I would go so far as to refer to them as toys – after the wheel!

Please don’t waste your money and hammy’s time on commercial hammocks. The fleece is low quality and there is no TLC in them. They don’t last in the washes despite how one uses gentle/hand wash cycles. They aren’t usually attractive. If you like to spoil your critters like I do and love for things to be personalized to be unique and fit yours and your hamster’s personality AND be incredibly well made to last years then consider Rittles and Bittles. She works with you, communicates fabulously, shares her process, and ships quickly.

I am an incredibly pleased repeat client! Penny – you are up next!