Adjusting to a New Home
Cammie is very scared inside her little box from the pet store. She is scratching and trying to bite her
out. I think about the best way to introduce her to her new home. I finally decide to take off a tunnel
on one side of the cage, so I can
gently hold the box up to the open hole and let her crawl in. It takes a few minutes before she sticks her head in the
"doorway" and starts sniffing around. After another few minutes, she puts one tentative foot inside, then another,
and then quickly backs up into the box again. Too scary, she thinks. But right away, she tries again. Finally, after
a while, and just before my arm collapses from holding the box against the cage so long, she completely enters the new
I remove the box and re-attach the tunnel and wheel.
Hamster Rule #1: Always step one foot at a time into a "danger zone," being sure to back up several times,
before risking all four feet down.
Cammie, who thought she was headed back into the box, finds, instead, something new - a tunnel
that leads to a "purple
room." Hmmm! What should she do? Well, she takes a tentative step in this wheel, then another, and another. Pretty
soon, she is running as fast as the wind! But wait a minute, she sniffs around in the wheel. Cammie notices some bite marks
from a previous hamster. Well, that settles it - Cammie started biting there too, because once a hamster bites something,
all future hamsters must also bite the same spot.
Hamster Rule #2: Whenever you enter a wheel, run until you drop.
Corollary to Rule #2: Always run as noisily as possible. The squeaky wheel gets the cheese, or some such
Hamster Rule #3: Always bite places where previous hamsters have bitten.