Saturday, May 15, 2004

Hamster husbandry.

We bought a hamster a couple of weeks ago. We asked our three-year-old to name it, and she determined that the hamster's name is Baby. We asked several times if she was sure, and the name stuck.

Last night just before bed, I had a look at Baby in her cage and was shocked to find that she'd had babies. In her little nesting place, she had at least four of them, but there could have been more buried in all the bedding.

I called a 24-hour vet, and they said, "keep her away from drafts, and make sure she's nursing them." I'm not sure how to tell if she's nursing them or what to do if she stops, but she seems to be taking care of them.

The babies themselves are just what I'd expect. They're pink and hairless. They wriggle constantly. Baby carries them around in her mouth. They make me think of extra small piglets. The vet told us that they'd nurse for 2-3 weeks, after which they can be weaned. When their eyes open, they can go to solid food.

Hamsters are solitary. When they grow to adults, they won't want to be around each other. We have a good couple of weeks to learn how long they can stay together. If we can't find homes for them, we may have to scrounge up some extra cages before they start fighting each other.
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