Monday, 28 February 2011
I'd like you to meet the newest member of my family. Artemis is a Syrian hamster we've just adopted from a rescue centre in the Forest of Dean. We looked towards the mythological lunar goddesses for a name, because she's nocturnal, and picked this one because she's also independent and strong-willed and adventurous.
We've been on a shopping spree to get ready for her: cage, wheel, food, bedding, and toys. It seems like you can't get pet insurance for rodents, so that's one less thing to decide about, although of course she'll still have to go to the vet sometimes (the lovely Sal from the rescue recommended a good one near us). We've actually got two cages for her, a big one for normal use and a smaller one that's more portable if we leave her with friends who've volunteered to babysit. We can also put her in the smaller cage while we're cleaning out the main one, which should reduce the risks of her running away! Like I said, she likes to explore.
Hamsters like to chew a lot, so we're going to give her branches from the apple tree, and hoping that'll discourage her from munching on the cage too much. We'll be figuring a lot of this out as we go along, it's ages since either of us had pets - I had mice when I was much younger, and Andrew had a guinea pig, so we've both had rodents before. If anyone has hints and tips for hamster care, I'd love to hear them. And of course, I'll be trying to persuade her to look cute on camera at regular intervals (somehow, I don't think she's going to struggle with that).