Strawberry Fields Forever in our memory

Strawberry, you were my first hamster as an adult. And you were my eldest son’s first pet of “his own”. He and my husband loved you from the start. You remained both of their favorites despite how many more hamsters we adopted after you.

You were a nipper in your cage because you were assertive about what is yours and what isn’t mine! But once you were out of your cage you were an absolute sweetheart. You were never a very active hamster. It took half a year before I ever caught you running on the wheel.

Of all the hamsters you were the most excited about change. You liked for a change up of your toys to keep a spice in life. And you are the ONLY hamster I’ve had in all my life – adult and childhood – that loved the hamster ball. I think you could have rolled and rolled for hours if I had let you. 

When we first brought you home I got you one of those overpriced, tiny Critter Trail cages because I didn’t know better. The last time I had had a hamster was the Syrian’s in childhood who I kept in old glass aquariums. I had no concept of cage sizing and what was appropriate. I joined a hamster community because I had an inkling I was absolutely “out of date” and lo and behold I gathered a wealth of information. From cage to tank to bigger cage to bin cage. The first bin cage I’ve ever made was and remained your favorite cage of them all.

You loved climbing the meshed window to get a treat from me. And your favorite treat of all time was meal worms. Especially, live. I know I should have crushed the heads of them as they might bite but you LOVED to forage for them as they wiggled. You were a predator more than prey animal! You seemed to naturally know what to do – biting their heads first before pouching them. Smart cookie!

I found you this morning I was cleaning the room for company to come over and I had this feeling. Normally I don’t check on you hamsters before evening. But with all of my rodents I have had a “sixth sense” about you all which has been very fortunate many a time. This time my inkling being correct was a very sad revelation indeed. There you were curled up and adorable in little terra cotta pot that was on it’s side. You looked so peaceful. Like you were only sleeping. So cute too. No hint of any suffering. Just as though it was your time. I always assumed you were older when I adopted you. That you had been in the shop a long time as they were anxious for me to adopt you particularly. You were always on the lazier “middle-aged” side. We’ve had you almost 2 years. You lived a very good, long life for a hamster. We were so fortunate for the time we had and that you had a peaceful passing. No one could ever ask for better than that.

Play well with our fellow dwarf friends’ Roxy, Smudge, and GiGi, and most of all with our very own beloved Penny at Rainbow Bridge.

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October 2013 Cages of the Rodents of Hammy Happenings Tour!

Alrighty! October’s Cage Tours of all my rodent babies. And of course – pictures of my rodent babies! All of these pictures were taken today and tonight except the one of Bob. The picture I took of him tonight wasn’t so great. But I had taken the one I posted a few days or so ago and love it.

OKAY THEN! So!

Let’s start with Penny. Ladies First! She had been taking a nibble at her chews.

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Penny is in a Marchioro Kevin 82cm Cage. I purchased this cage for $119 at PetStore.com but it is also available at ThatPetPlace.com. It usually ranges between $119-$134. In the United States it’s one of the best sized cages you can get for any species of hamster but especially Syrian’s. It has 7mm bar spacing so ideal for as big as Syrians to as tiny as Mice and Chinese Hamsters.

Up Next! Bob having a moment beneath the toad stools

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Bob is in the Ware Luxury Rabbit Cage. It retails a bit over $100 bucks. I got mine used for $20. It has 1” bar spacing so it needs to be meshed for hamsters. This is an awesome cage. It has casters and opens from the top and a large front door. The tray slides out for easy cleaning and then slides back in. I wish I could find another just like this for Penny. The height is much less scary than the Mamble which I had her in before. It’s long and narrower so it takes up less space without sacrificing footprint.

Now Strawberry as he lounges in his space pod.

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Strawberry is my eldest hamster (I think!). He’s a hybrid Cambells/WW or “Russian” hamster. He has slowed down. Looks great. Healthy. Eating and such. But really not very active.  I have plenty for him to do now. And I love his “retirement” cage. A Grreat Choice Pet Home for Small Animals cage from Petsmart. It’s 24 inch long, 15 inch wide, 14 inch tall. Below the RSPCA guidelines for a dwarf hamster cage. It’s suitable for a retirement cage for a dwarf and honestly, it depends on the hamster. Strawberry has never liked large cages. I’ve tried. He has been really happy in here so far. I find it easier to interact with him and get him out and check on him in this too. And it’s easier to make a jungle gym for him in there. He loves to climb though I can tell he’s struggling with it nowadays. The high base is ACE for my little digger. He has epic tunnels going on around the entire cage.

 

Gabriel’s Turn! He likes to meditate and other business in his sand box.

gabriel sand gabriels cage collageMy Chinese hamster is also older. In fact he probably is older than Strawberry but I will never know. He is adopted with barely any known history. I’m his 3rd and final home! He is in the FOP Gabbia Tamburino Linera Natura – a hybrid of a tank and cage. I had hammocks and suspension ladder toys and the like going on in here and other cages I tried putting him in – he had no interest. Today I decided to leave the top grill off (the grid lid) because he cannot climb out. This gives me better view of him from above and I don’t have to meddle with lifting it up and putting it down (it’s loud because it needs a handle). Anyway, he prefers his environment low to the ground and with plenty of hideouts. He does like to climb driftwood and such. I go with a forest floor type of habitat for him.

Finally, for the hamsters –  the Roborovski’s Snow & Patch! Having their nightly sand bath.

snow sand

patch sand

robos cage

The Roborovski brothers were separated due to my ignorance. I began with them together when I brought both home from the shop. I had one wheel. Multiple platforms. One house. If you are to keep your robo’s social due keep in mind – no platforms. A home and toy for each. Two Robo’s = two wheels, two food bowls, two houses. Or some will say better to have no houses but instead numerous hide outs. By the time I realized my mistake it was too late. They were drawing blood. Snow reminds me of this whenever I see the sections taken from his ear by Patch’s past nips. So, I did a DIY cage out of a book shelf that a neighbor was throwing out. It was a dollhouse style bookshelf. I simply put vinyl tiles down for the floor. Contact paper along the walls. And made a partition that is removable for clean out. It’s also vinyl and is attached from the inside with heavy duty velcro. They cannot climb out. I forgot the measurements but it’s as long as Bob’s rabbit cage and a little narrower in width compared to his. It’s the most space they’ve ever had and it’s easy to clean and fun to and easy to watch them. They’ve never been happier!

Last but not least: My Gerbil’s Mercury and Lennon! Waiting patiently for their treat. They also give me kisses!

gerbils posinggerbils cage collage

My gerbils have sampled many a layout/aquarium. I had them originally in a tall 28 gallon. Then 20 long. Then a 110 qt Bin cage. And finally a 40 long. Then I DIY’d a topper to put on top. I change around their set up every time I clean out. I have large pieces of drift wood I trade out each time to keep it fresh. Various tunnels and bridges and such they bury down into the bedding. You can barely see the current drift wood I put in there. It was a smaller piece than usual. In the topper they have water bottles, a sand pot where they do all their business. A Gnawsome hut to chew on and they prefer to snack within with the treats I give them. The topper has 2 floors. Or two separate “lofts” where I put their food dish. Or just for a perch and look out. They are pretty spoiled methinks. They are worth it. My little daytime buddies!

And that is the October 2013 cage tour of the Rodent’s of Hammy Happenings!

Strawberry’s cage August 2013

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Strawberry, my hybrid Dwarf, has been in much bigger cage set ups. One which he was in a good few months and I found that he would sleep more and do less. I finally returned him to the 105qt Sterilite bin cage ( Product in Inches (L x W x H): 32.13 x 19.13 x 13.75) I had made for him originally a long time ago and he has been back to his ole self ever since.

This was my first bin cage I ever made after falling in love with Marquelle’s cage. It’s still my favorite in looks.

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He has some corner hammocks from eBay. And a quilted hammock by Rittles N Bittles. A pink igloo and a couple terra cotta pots where I sprinkle a lot of his food. A radish ceramic food dish from Petsmart that I also put some food in. I sprinkle treats in the hammocks. He has a suspension ladder toy from Bobbys Bunny Boutique that he loves. A wood tunnel from a toy I also got from Bobby’s.

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He also has a sand bath in a plastic take out container base and some wood chews. A petco wood bridge and a forager hanging toy from Dr. Foster and Smith where I put his meal worm treats. A 6.5 inch Silent Spinner and Medium Flying Saucer. He prefers the Flying Saucer. And a piece of driftwood that I found on the beach last year. I cleaned and sun dried all the wood first of course.

As with all my hams I use crinkle paper bedding by ProEarth or Carefresh. I added some Oxbow Botanical hay recently even though it gets our allergies a bit. I run an air purifier in every room so that helps.

Lastly I have various textured rocks I cleaned and placed in there. Keeps his claws down and climbing enrichment.

Strawberry is randomly active

Aside

imageI was just telling a friend that I hardly see Strawberry awake or at least out of hiding useless I wake him on purpose. And I walk into the room to snap a few photos of the room rearrange and who do I see active an being acrobatic?

i know why. The location change. He senses his cage somewhere else. He loves a lot of rearranging it seems unlike most hamsters. I could be wrong but he is only active after a change of some sort. Strange. 

The Good and the Bad of a Major Toy Haul

Well, I have nothing but good to say about the actual store Bobby’s Bunny Boutique. Great customer service and communication. For a voyage from Canada to Maryland it was pretty fast shipping. And to be extra sweet they threw in a bag of treats for my critters! Which I have to say they absolutely LOVE.

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Bob enjoying his treat from Bobby’s Bunny Boutique. Continue reading

DIY Platform for the FOP Gabbia Tamburino Linea Natura

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Yogies! Ah the life. Yes, a dwarf probably shouldn’t be eating a sweet treat but I have no reason to think that he has diabetes. It’s not often anyway.

I was making platforms out of spare parts of wood I had just for the gerbils. But as they chew anything I was hesitant of putting one particular platform I put together into their tank! I used spare wood things I found on an aisle in Michael’s crafts. I’m not sure what they are for. But they have them in a plethora of styles. These remind me of thread spools. And the wooden crate like thing I used for the top shelf was just a wooden crate that a set of hand held instruments for my son came in. I used a spray sealant over it to make it pee-proof hopefully (set it outside over night to air out) and I used non-toxic hot glue to attach the spools at the bottom or the “legs” to it. It’s really that simple.

platform

So, I thought – why not use this for Strawberry? These types of shelves work for tanks, bins or big wire cages. Anyway, Strawberry has been feeling better lately and I imagine he might like something new to explore. So, I removed his dip and dive toy as that is good in small doses and moved in his platform and here it is. He seemed pretty happy about it.

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Originally I had his rope hanging ladder across the top of his hammock but after snapping a few photos I then realized I should change that up. I drooped it like a hammock. Beside the hanging coconut and the ladder to that which I also drooped.

He seems to prefer the challenge of climbing up his drift wood to get onto the platform instead of the bendy wood bridge. That’s my Strawberry. Always likes the climb to be as difficult as possible!