After the sad loss of Rocky, I prepared for a new hamster. I had seen a few litters
of baby hamsters recently at a pet store and I wondered if any were old enough to buy yet. Sure enough, there was one
litter that was a day short of 5 weeks old, and the pet store was nice enough to sell her to me one day early. Since the
date was posted on the cage, I know her birthday: June 8, 2004.
although Cammie's mother and siblings were all black, she is light colored. She appears to be a satin,
because she has such shiny, soft fur. I gave Cammie her name, because she is sort of caramel colored. I briefly thought
about calling her Caramel, but that didn't roll of my tongue easily, so I shortened it to Cammie. Cammie, the Hammie, I
thought was cute.
So far we've learned a few things about Cammie. She loves to clean herself. Her fur is so shiny and soft
that she apparently needs to spend many hours per day keeping it that way. When Cammie wakes up, she stretches and yawns
more than any other hamster I have ever seen.
Cammie loves to stuff her tunnels with wood shavings. She has three cages, but blocks off two cages each
morning, usually in some sort of mad stuffing frenzy. At night, she burrows through the stuffing to get to the other
cages, especially to the cage with her favorite big, yellow wheel.
Out of all the hamsters I've had, Cammie was the hamster who was least "allergic" to petting.
She didn't flinch or get nervous from the very first touch. However, holding her was another story...
Cammie's story of coming home and becoming part of our family is documented in the Pet Story,
My New Hamster.
Update 12/2004: Cammie is now a "free-range" hamster. She is
allowed to come out of her cage whenever she likes to explore around the house.
She is the third hamster of ours to be given this privilege. The first two
were Pawn and Rook (separately,
of course) more than ten years ago. We decided to try this for two reasons:
1) Cammie spent all night biting her tunnels and trying to escape, and 2) whenever
Cammie would escape, she would be waiting right next to her cage when we found
her in the morning. I figured she just needed the opportunity to explore, but
would always end up back in her cage. I was right and she is much happier now.
There were a few interesting occurrences, once Cammie was allowed
to explore freely. First, we noticed that she was stealing the guinea pig food
every night. It didn't bother the guinea pigs, because they got fresh food
every morning. Cammie was happy to build up a humongous food hoard, which we
had to empty occasionally. All went well until one morning when we noticed
Pippi (our guinea pig) had a scab under her chin . After trying to figure
out how she hurt herself overnight, we finally realized that she must have
startled Cammie during the night when she was raiding the food dish and Cammie
bit her. After that, I attempted to cover the grids of the pig cage more thoroughly,
so Cammie would be discouraged from going in.
Shortly after making Cammie a free-range hamster, we realized
that every night she was going up the stairs and visiting all the bedrooms.
One night, she woke my husband and me with a loud crunching sound. I got a
flashlight and found her under our headboard, eating a snack of seeds that
she must have brought along on her journey. Sometimes we catch a glimpse of
her running by the hallway if we get up during the night. If I put a treat
out at the top of the stairs, as I like to sometimes do, it is always gone
by morning, so I know she comes up every night.
Despite the fact that Cammie climbs up and down the stairs every
night, no one had ever seen her do this on her own. So one day, I saw her running
around at night and put her on the middle step, just to see if she would go
up or down. She thought about it for a minute or two and then decided UP was
best. I have never seen a hamster fling herself up the steps so quickly before.
She sprung through the air practically not even touching each step as she went
over it. It was amazing!
1/26/2006 - Sadly, Cammie passed away today. I found her stretched
out in her cage, silent and still, looking so beautiful and peaceful. She will
always be remembered for her gorgeous, shiny fur and her amazing personality.
We will miss her nightly excursions all around the house. We never knew when
we might see her scurrying around at midnight in the upstairs hallway or nibbling
on some seeds under our bed. Or what we might find in her food hoard, usually
treats from the guinea pig cage. We left treats for her every night in a little
wooden treasure chest upstairs. The last treats are still there... She will
be greatly missed. R.I.P. sweet Cammie!
View Cammie on HAMSTERster.com