Bruno and Fang
Teddy the Midlife Hamster
Once I had the cage set up the way I thought a hamster would appreciate it, I called various pet shops in the area to see if any had hamsters, or more specifically, Teddy Bear hamsters, for sale. One local shop said they had two. I was at the shop within half an hour.
The two male hamsters were in adjacent glass aquariums. The hamster to the right was social, paying attention to us, and interested in seeing what was happening outside his little world. He was a typical Syrian hamster and a real cutie. The hamster to the left, a Teddy Bear Syrian, was a fuzzy ball of fur, slow moving and not so social. If there had been a place to hide in his aquarium, he would have been in it. Unfortunately for both hamsters, the aquarium furnishings were sparse: a water bottle, a thin layer of Aspen bedding, a small food bowl. No exercise wheels, no places to hide.
When I asked their ages, the shop owner said the cutie on the right was a couple months old at most. The hamster on the left was a year old and the shop owner didn’t seem hopeful that he’d find a home.
I asked for some time to make a decision and the shop owner left to assist another customer who needed a medium-size mouse to feed to her snake. I shuddered at the thought. I looked at the older Teddy Bear hamster. Would that be his fate if he didn’t find a home soon? I had no doubts the younger hamster would find a good home but this little guy hadn’t had any luck in a year.
The shop owner was surprised when I chose Teddy the Midlife Hamster over the cutie in the other cage. I’ve had Teddy just about a year now which makes him two years old.
How long does a hamster live? I’ve searched online for the answer and found that no one really can pinpoint it to a specific amount of years. One university site put the lifespan of a hamster at 18 to 24 months. That might be fairly accurate for smaller dwarf or robo hamsters. Larger hamsters “might” live up to five years under optimum conditions, barring disease, accidents, and candy cigarettes. One online vet site put the average lifespan at two years with three years “about the maximum.”
I admit that occasionally I’ve wondered if that other hamster found a good home but I’ve never returned to the store. I know myself very well. If he was still there, he’d be spending the rest of his life at my house in a cage next to Teddy.
Smaller hamsters are social creatures and it’s preferable to keep more than one in the same cage. Adult Syrian or Teddy Bear hamsters are very territorial, are not social creatures, and must never be kept in the same cage as they will fight to the death.
Hamsters are also primarily nocturnal. Teddy occasionally will come out of his house for a few minutes during the day, but if I want to see him in action, running on his wheel, I have to wait until late night or very early morning.
This is Teddy’s first “home” with me. Once I put in all the things I thought he would need, such as the empty tissue box to hide in, the toilet paper roll to shred for bedding, a fairly large metal food bowl, and his flying saucer exercise wheel, the place was a bit crowded.
Teddy didn’t seem intimidated by the vintage robotic animals behind his cage but after taking this photo I put some blank paper on the back of his aquarium.
After a couple weeks, I looked for better housing options to give him more roaming room.
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