Let’s talk about hamsters

It's Spring Break! This means a whole, empty week stretching out in front of us. Depending on your perspective, this week looks like a desert of Wizard's of Waverly Place and screaming fights OR it looks like delirious joy away from the torture of waking up early and then sitting in a classroom all day. 

During this delirious span of fighting and laugh tracks I'm hoping to break things up with LEARNING and AWESOMENESS. But so far I'm feeling LAZY and GROUCHY so that plan isn't working out so well.

This morning, upon discovering that the dog is out of food, I had a brain wave. It went like this:
1. Oh no! The dog is hungry!
2. We must go to the pet store and buy more food!
3. The pet store will be a fun distraction from laugh tracks and fighting!
4.  We can look at fish and kitties and lizards and… hamsters.
5. [light bulb]
6. What if we BUY a hamster?
7. Buying a hamster would be both a thing of LEARNING and a thing of AWESOMENESS!
8. I had a hamster growing up, and other than getting five stitches and an infection in my foot, it worked out GREAT.
9. We can force the Oldest Child to take care of said hamster. He will learn responsibility!
10. [text husband with great idea]
11. [husband texts back with one word: "pass"]
12. Fin

But I don't think I'm ready to give up that easily. Hamsters are kind of awesome, right? And surely, in the past 20-odd years someone has created a technology to make them less smelly, right?

So let's talk pros and cons.

CONS
1. Husband already said no, so if I buy one I'm in trouble
2. It will die at some point, traumatizing everyone in a variety of ways
3. stinky
4. might get eaten by dog
5. will inevitably be more expensive than I imagined

PROS
1. cute
2. potentiality for teaching responsibility
3. potentiality for hilarity
4. we can get one of those ball things for it to run around in
5. at least one day of excitement shared by everyone
6. LEARNING
7. AWESOMENESS

So, what say you? Hamster. Yes or No?

Pretend you're not my husband. 

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7 thoughts on “Let’s talk about hamsters

  1. Get gerbils instead.
    PROS (Anti-hamster cons)
    1. Not a hamster, so gets around first con.
    2. Lives a long time. (Could be a con)
    3. Least stinky of all rodents. Only have to clean cage once a week.
    4. You can apparently tame them. Which requires frequent handling first. (see con 3).
    OTHER PROS
    See your 1 – 7 pros above
    CONS
    1. that one day of excitement? Call it at least one week of excitement and an occasional 15 mins of fun and maybe a few days/weeks of responsibility
    2. you have to keep buying food/bedding but not as much as (say) a rabbit which was our gateway animal request
    3. If you don’t play with them regularly, they will nip you making you less likely to want to play with them (invoke feedback loop now)
    Those cool plastic cages with tubes and slides and stuff? The pet people will tell you that they will chew through the plastic. They do chew the plastic, but after 3.5 months there is still plenty more to chew before I’m worried about escapade. And they are much cooler. Buy two cages – one for each gerbil (one for each kid but you have 3 so extrapolate). They can run from cage to cage. I clean one cage each week while trapping them in the other cage. Also they like playtime so we have a huge cardboard box filled with toddler toys like little people farms etc that the gerbils love to run around in. Just watch out when you have toddler visitors who then proceed to put the gerbil pooped on toys in their mouth.
    Obviously I have plenty to say on this subject – feel free to ask more. (Go for it but be resigned to the fact that you will eventually be the chief caregiver).

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  2. I forgot to say why we chose gerbils – Missymoo wanted a rabbit. Research told me that they eat A LOT and poop A LOT. So I looked at smaller rodents. People told me that hamsters don’t like to be held so much compared to gerbils. And are stinkier. Gerbils looked cuter than rats/mice.

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  3. Hamsters are also nocturnal but gerbils are not. Gerbils like to live in pairs though.
    Alternatively, find someone who is going on vacation and needs a petsitter and then borrow their small rodent for a week or two. You get all the excitement but none of the long term commitment. And hopefully the animal doesn’t die in your care.

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  4. I agree about the gerbil talk, I had a gerbil when I was about 9 and I loved it! It was great to play with and didn’t stink (unless you class sawdust as a stink, i quite like the smell). He didn’t like running around in the ball though, he just stood still.
    I was the main care giver and he lived AGES, i had him for about 5 years and he wasn’t a baby when I got him. On his final trip to the vet the vet said Archie was the oldest gerbil he’d ever seen.
    Moving in with my boyfriend soon and he’s talking gerbils already…

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  5. Hmm… what about chickens? At least you get something out of them… Something edible.
    Oh… but you have a dog. Will your dog eat the chickens? Or the hamster? Or gerbil?
    Nevermind.

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