As my hamsters grow older, they become slower and more feeble. It’s heart breaking to watch but it also means they are less of an escape risk if I let them out of their cage to run around. I don’t like hamster balls because I don’t think they are safe unsupervised even in one of those things and they have the potential to get themselves lost under furniture or fall down stairs.
Anyway lately I’ve been taking them out into the yard to enjoy nature. I don’t want the insides of their cages to be the only environment they ever know. They don’t move quickly enough that there is any danger they will get away from me and for the most part just seem intensely curious to explore the grassy wonderland I place them in.
The hamster in this series of photos is named George. The other is named Scott and I’ll probably photograph him exploring nature too at some point. There’s a hamster carrier built into my ebike so I could conceivably take them to explore various interesting locations along the 40 mile bike trail near my house.
Dwarf hamsters are not very affectionate and mainly just seem irritated or scared by human contact. This makes them a less than ideal pet if you want affection. Mostly they are just bought by parents for the same reason as goldfish; They are low maintenance and teach their kids lessons about responsibility for the care of another living being, and how to cope with death.
These critters live 3 years, max. Usually less, perhaps a little over 2 years. Even as a man of 35 it’s difficult to watch such small, cute critters grow old and die. However kids are not the only ones who can learn lessons from small creatures about the transience of life. It compels me to spend more time with my elderly parents while they’re still around.
Caring for such small delicate pets also has cultivated more patience and gentleness in me. For example if you hold a small critter like these, even small motions of your hand are fast and scary from their perspective. This translates to a lesson in empathy for people who are more timid/fragile and need special care when interacting with them.
Unfortunately this also means that trips in the ebike carrier are probably terrifying experiences for them. Like being abducted into a spacecraft which then accelerates to what, for a hamster, is warp speed. I am unsure of a good solution. Perhaps covering the little window on the carrier so they don’t see? Their eyesight is poor anyway but I don’t want to scare them if I can help it.
Even a creature which lives only three years at most has great value. It is a living organism, not a toy, so thought must be given to what sort of quality of life it receives. Is is really a life worth living to be cooped up in a cage every day? I don’t think so. I want them to be mentally stimulated. I want to expand their horizons during their short time on Earth. I want them to have adventures!
Follow me for more like this! And why not read one of my stories?