Thursday, 28 May 2009

Securing the water bottle

So, we're going away for the weekend and the animals have to make do without us. There's no problem with that, other than poor Knerten's water bottle.

Knerten has a plastic cage, no bars. Consequently, the water bottle is attached to the cage with these whassname-thingies... and the suction can't be too good, as the bottle fell down several times last weekend! Angst! My poor hamster could die from thirst!

Knerten's water bottle and its whassname-thingies in close-up:

Of course, we can't go away for the weekend and risk the water bottle falling down again and poor Knerten suffering the consequences.

Lucky for Knerten, for some unknown and hardly logical reason, trilltrall has electrical tape. One of the many uses of electrical tape: making sure a dwarf hamster has a steady supply of water which won't suddenly fall down while there are no two-legs around. Behold:

That should work, don't you think?

Home alone

Did I mention that Knerten and Fjerten are low maintenance?

This weekend the animals must make do without any two-legs around. trilltrall and I are heading south to spend the weekend with his parents and the beasties must survive alone from Friday morning until Sunday night. And here’s the really brilliant thing about (dwarf) hamsters: you can leave them alone for a weekend or even a week, no problem! Just make sure they have enough food and water.

Of course we could always get a friend to watch the animal(s) if we ever got pets that can’t be left home alone for a week. It’s not that. But it’s really so very convenient that we can leave them alone without having to get other people involved every time we’re going away for the weekend or on vacation or whatever. It’s brilliant.

Also there’s no guilt about leaving your pet stuck in its cage for several days, as robs in any case aren’t the sort of pets that need to run around outside their cage. You really don't want to let them out and let them run about - you'll never catch them again! It's hard enough to catch Fjerten while she's in her cage. I can't imagine how we would catch her if she ever got the opportunity to run around on the floor.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Foodstuffs

So... Cherry blossoms and white clover, huh?

I've kept an eye on this list from Norsk hamsterforening (the Norwegian hamster society) when deciding which veggies and flowers and other plants to feed the little beasties. Most notably I've made sure to avoid everything on the no list. I have no idea what level of knowledge or authority these people have, but I figured it couldn't hurt to have a list of foods to avoid.

I haven't been too adventurous when it comes to food with Knerten and Fjerten yet. I feed them a mix of hamster pellets (prevents selective feeding) and they always have a piece of fresh broccoli to go with it.

And then in addition to pellets and broccoli, I experiment! ;-)

What I have established so far about Knerten and Fjerten's tastes:
Cherry blossoms - they don't like
Peas - they don't like
Colt's foot - they don't like
Dandelion leaves - Knerten likes, Fjerten not so much
Sweetcorn - they like
Broccoli - a godsend
Cauliflower - nomnom
Avocado - they like
Cucumber - they like
Celery - they don't like
Celeriac - they like!
Nectarine - not a favourite
Kellog's All-Bran - NomNomNom
Rolled oats - they like
Peanuts - they luvs!
Walnuts - dwarf hamster heaven
Yoghurt - they don't like

It's almost summer now, so I expect to be giving them more flowers in the next 2-3 months. I look forward to that experiment! :-)

For some reason, I'm surprised that Knerten and Fjerten don't like exactly the same things that Pearl did. I shouldn't be surprised, I mean, they are a whole different species!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Gråperle (Pearl)

My first dwarf hamster was the Campbell's dwarf Gråperle ("Grey Pearl", or just Pearl for short). She was an impulse buy to replace my beautiful kitten (trilltrall turned out to be terrified of kittens...). We'd discussed rodents for some time and come to the conclusion that at least dwarf hamsters don't have tails. (I don't mind tails. trilltrall though...) And it appeared that dwarf hamsters were more active during the day than syrian hamsters, so we were thinking of buying one. Then one day in April 2007 we stopped by the pet shop, they had Campbell's dwarfs, and it was spring, the weather was lovely, and trilltrall said why not.

Recently I have realised that I don't have a lot of photos of Pearl. And only one video. She was such a tame sweetheart, people could hold her for themselves when they visited. I didn't need to take a lot of photos to show her off. I guess that must be why, though I regret it now. She was very tame, she never bit anyone, and she'd come and climb across the ceiling of her cage every morning to get her morning snack. She loved to climb. She sucked at it, though, and it was sometimes scary with the thump we heard from her cage every time she fell down. It's a miracle she never hurt herself.

Below are some of the few photos I have of my darling Pearl. She died from old age on Dec 1st 2008, some 20 months old.









This video is Pearl eating a white clover. She loved white clover and cherry blossoms. Cherry blossom season is just over here now and I did give Knerten and Fjerten this delicate delicacy too, but they didn't care for it. I wonder what they will think of clover, which I certainly will also give them later in the summer.

video

Rest in peace, Pearl. This is the last photo of her, taken the morning I found her dead. It wasn't unexpected, as she had been showing signs of getting old. It was still a sad day.


She then spent some 5 months in the freezer, wrapped in hamster cotton, until the snow melted and the ground finally thawed. In April 2009, two years after she moved in with us, we went for a little walk in the woods and stuck her in the moss at the foot of a pine tree. I like to think that maybe a fox ate her when she finally thawed. If not, we all know what happens to dead animals. In either case, IMHO, a more dignified end than just being thrown out with the garbage would have been!

Running wheel

Robs are nocturnal. I am most definitely not. The result of which is that I'm usually sound asleep by the time the little beasts get active.

However, last night I didn't get home until closer to midnight and Knerten was at it running in her wheel. It would've been fun to sometime, somehow, measure exactly what distance she runs in the course of one night. Fjerten too, for that matter. They run and run and run and run... Gråperle/Pearl did also, but she also climbed a lot. Fjerten has Pearl's old cage with plenty of climbing options, but I never see her climb except when something has scared her and she's trying to get away fast.

They both run, though. And run and run and run. And look around a little, and then run some more. This is Knerten from last night:
video

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Jet the Invisible Pet

My friend Annie kept robs. She started out with 3, then there was murder & mayhem & bloodshed; last dwarf standing was Jet. He became known as Jet the Invisible Pet (now she tells me! ;-) ). This is him, the victorious dwarf:




He looks like such a sweet little thing, doesn't he? Who would think he could kill his brothers in cold blood... (Ok, so I guess it wasn't exactly cold-blooded murder...)

Jet died some time ago, and Annie now keeps gerbils instead. Like she said, she might keep robs again, when she only has 0-15 minutes a day to spend on a pet. They are indeed extremely low maintenance. But if you want a pet you can actually pet, well, just maybe robs aren't for you.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Knerten

We're been a little preoccupied with Fjerten here at Knerten & Fjerten. It's time to change that, so here's a little video of Knerten having a snack today. Fjerten is usually too scared to accept food from my hand, while Knerten expects a little snack every morning. Today is a public holiday, so she didn't get her morning snack at 6:30am. She had to settle for a piece of Kellog's All-Bran at 4pm... ;-)

Here:

video

She's a sweetie. She's still jumpy, but make no sudden moves and she'll approach your fingers expecting food. (Though she still makes the mistake of assuming that fingers = food...)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Guest blogger

Upon request my friend Leisha Camden has been invited to be a guest blogger here at Knerten & Fjerten. She says she has pictures! :-D

On dwarf hamster species

A few words on dwarf hamsters and pet shops...

There are strictly speaking 3 sub-species of dwarf hamster: Campbell’s (Phodopus campbelli), Roborovski (Phodopus roborovskii) and Winter White Russian (Phodopus sungorus). The Chinese hamster (Cricetulus griseus) is not really a dwarf hamster, but it’s only slightly bigger than the genuine dwarf hamsters and therefore often labelled a dwarf itself.

I have no idea whether Pearl/Gråperle was really a Campbell's or if she was a Campbell's/Winter White hybrid. The two can interbreed and apparently there's plenty of confusion about which is what. The sign in the pet shop at Tveita simply said "dwarf hamster mother of pearl" which I've since learnt isn't any sort of a dwarf hamster species at all... You can't trust pet shops. She looked very, very much like the classic, typical Campbell's, though. I'll find an old picture or two and post those.

In the case of Knerten & Fjerten, the sign in the pet shop said "dwarf hamsters". Next time I'm so getting hamsters from the bigger, better and all-round much more trust-inspiring pet shop at Alna! I was there recently and, coolness!, they even had a Chinese hamster, which I hadn't seen 'in real life' before.

Well, I suppose "next time" is 3 years away, as Robs have an average lifespan of 3.5 years! :-)

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Fjerten, take 2

I think maybe I've made it sound like Fjerten annoys me. She does, a little, but she's really a sweetheart. She's just so afraid of everything. I wonder what she'll think tonight, when we have people over for the Eurovision Song Contest. She's so jumpy when there's just me and trilltrall here. Lots of people, whoa, scary...

Around 1:30pm today she was up for a snack. Again. Robs love to snack during the day, even though they are nocturnal. So you do get to see them, actually, assuming you're at home during the day. I'm usually not, though, so... Anyway, it was a little easier to film her today and I ended up with this:
video
She is so sweet. :-D

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Fjerten

Fjerten was just up for a snack. I heard her and decided to try to film her with my camera. She is just so jumpy though, so she immediately ran into the plastic tunnel to hide (she seems to think we can't see her in there). It's impossible to take pictures of Fjerten. They all turn out blurry because she can't sit still. So here she is, in all her glory, in live motion pictures.
video

Video

There used to be a video of the two little beasts, from the same day I bought them. It's posted in trilltrall's picasa web album, but he can't find the file on any of his computers. We also can't seem to post from his web album to my blog, so...

Here's a link to the video in his web album! You need to click the photo, and then click the next photo that appears. And then there's suddenly live footage of Knerten & Fjerten!


To nye i hjemmet

Monday, 11 May 2009

Knerten



This is the lovely Knerten having a snack. She is by far the least skittish of the two, and has finally realised that persons are nice beings who bring food.

It's a lot more difficult to take an even half-decent photo of Fjerten...

Invisible hamsters

I know I said it, but of course they aren't really invisible. Robs are small, but really, even small robs aren't invisible. Of course not.


I just sometimes go days without seeing Fjerten at all. She's small, that's for sure (hence the name, actually - Knerten is the bigger one*), but not invisible. Imagine the weapon they would make; Incredible Invisible Dwarf Hamsters! They could totally be deadly undercover agents!


But reality is boring and they aren't. Invisible. They're just so very skittish that I hardly ever see them. Especially Fjerten. I'm not exaggerating at all when I say I sometimes don't see her for a couple of days. Robs are mostly nocturnal, which I most definitely am not. trilltrall sees more of the little monsters than I do, only he doesn't care much.


This means robs are lovely pets if you're a night person. However, if you need your sleep, get a Campbell's...



*This makes some sort of sense if you speak Norwegian

Dwarf hamsters galore!

Or not.


I recently bought two new dwarf hamsters as my darling Campbell's dwarf Gråperle (also known as Pearl to some) died of old age in December 08. However, I ended up with Roborovskis this time around. Two females from the same litter, they were supposed to get along well and to keep each other company. Of course no such thing happened and I had to buy an extra cage within the first few weeks.


The two fighting females are called Knerten and Fjerten, and this blog is about them. The Incredible Invisible Dwarf Hamsters. Let's see how this goes.