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this hamster's gone to heaven

Giambi is gone. He is the last of the two hamsters we obtained last August to leave us. In almost a year, we lost Giambi's wife and two sets of children. In that time, our lives were enriched by the site of a headless hamster, the grieving process, a couple of funerals and births and cannibalism.

Rest in peace, Giambi. I'll never forget how you ate Apple Jacks out of my hand, how you spun around on your wheel at all hours of the night, how you liked to hang out on my shoulder.

On the other hand I won't forget how bad you smelled, how poorly you treated your wife and kids and how you never appreciated when we cleaned your cage.

For you, Giambi.

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Comments

I think grunts in 'Nam had better life expectancies than Hamsters Chez Sparaccio

I too had the pleasure of the company of a smelly hamster about 20 years ago. Sadly I was instrumental in its demise. I carelessly woke him by taking the lid of his sleeping quarters, thus awaking him by invading his darkness with bright sunlight. This caused him to enter some kind of shock; he abruptly stood up on his hind legs, looked at me, quivered slightly, then keeled over backwards & died. We still believe it was a heart attack. Being only 11 at the time, I wasn't to know that you should NEVER wake a hamster in this way.

It was a sad day; I'm over it now, though. Clearly it had an affect on me because I can recollect it with such clarity here. But why have I recollected it with such clarity here? G-d knows.

Anyway, I'm sad for your loss. No, I really am.

So sorry to hear about Giambi. I remember how devastated I was when I lost Gretzky. And Messier, And all my other little fuzzy friends.

Now, I'm going to give a little advice: Shop at a different pet store. Hamsters are solitary animals who, quite often don't tolerate members of the opposite sex for longer than it takes to do what comes naturally. The presence of another of their kind brings out their natural nasty tendencies that result in headless hamsters. And you were sold and inferior cage (if that is indeed one of those colorful plastic and wire combos in the picture). As I'm sure you know, hamsters chew (and often eat) plastic. All-metal cages are the best.

Wow. Didn't mean to get all soap-boxy, but that's what happens when your job is in exotic animal sales!

If you can get past the squeamishness that most people have concerning their tails, rats make far better pets for young children. You can train them to do tricks and they are social animals, so you can house more than one in the same cage. Go for the females--in my experience, they tend to have the most agreeable temperments.

Just thought I'd ask... did you take a picture of the headless hamster?

Don't feel bad, they only live a couple years max. And any rodent will eat their young if there is something wrong with the babies, or if their cage is too small, or if the male is left in the cage with the female and the babies. And yes, they can be bred again an hour or so after giving birth.
Rabbits and guinea pigs are the same way. Bunnies have babies every 28 days, and can be bred as soon as they give birth. But if you don't take the male out, both the male and female will kill the babies.
Try fire bellied toads, no babies, they chirp and hop around and live (mine are about 4 years old now) forever I think. You feed them crickets or worms, and they are very low maintenence, build a terrarium, put a filtered pump, water and viola, cool kids pet, they only drawback is that you can't pet them.

Lightspeed chick, my girlfriend's sister had a hamster who ate his own ass off... I swear I'm not making it up. He chewed his genitals off then got started on his ass. He died. It's not funny.

AimeeC is a goddess. She's absolutely right--RATS RAWK! I have five, my gf has five, and we're happy as pigs in poop with them.

You should do a little research, tho--life expectancy is two years (a good number make it to three; it's kinda a tradition among rat people to throw a big b-day party for them); it's a rare one that makes it four or more years.

As for male v female--define "temperment." My gf's does (girls) move a mile a minute; one of them is The Rat Without Fear, and has a vertical leap of about 60cm. My boys (four of them are neutered) are friendly and cuddly and will easily sit on my shoulder for hours.

Seriously. If you ever consider a rat, send me a note--I'll hook you up w/ discussion lists where you can ask rat people the world over for advice.