New furry friends

A friend gave us their old hamster cage on the weekend so we decided to adopt a hamster. We found one looking for a new home and when we went to meet her we ended up leaving with two hamsters so we are now the proud adoptive parents – or Daniel and Elizabeth are – of two Syrian hamsters.

I was a little worried about how the cat would react and at first she was scared and ran away. But later she came back and sat watching them for a while but now she’s lost interest. Here she is meeting Elizabeth’s hamster, Daisy.

Daisy bit me on Sunday afternoon. It was my fault for trying to pick her up when she had just moved into a new home and was probably scared. She created a huge and painful puncture on my index finger that generated lots of blood and swelling. The swelling is only just going down now but it’s still bruised and swollen. I rang my GP to see whether I should get a tetanus shot as it has been more than 10 years since my last booster and they said it’s not necessary for indoor hamsters although I’ve since found out that the previous owner sometimes let them play outside. Daniel was concerned and suggested I ring them back and ask for a “testosterone” injection (he meant tetanus but got confused haha). The GP said I should instead start a course of antibiotics but I’m not keen on taking antibiotics so instead they’ve given me a prescription and I’ll only use it if needed. I’ve been bathing my finger in saline solution and applying antiseptic cream to the wound so hopefully that’ll do the trick.

Here’s Daniel’s hamster: Bella.

Elizabeth has now become obsessed with hamster care and knows all about habitats and food. Consequently she says the cages we have are two small so we’re going to have to upgrade. I don’t want discourage anyone who is concerned about animal welfare and definitely not my own daughter.

4 Replies to “New furry friends”

  1. Haha – I think a tetanus shot would be a lot more useful than a testosterone one 😄 That sounds like quite a bite you got there! I expect the hamsters will be happier to be handled after they’ve settle in. Are they caged together, or separately? What’s their life span?

    1. Apparently they don’t like living with other hamsters and would fight and kill each other so they’re housed separately. They don’t live very long – about 2-3 years I’m told.

  2. Ouch! Speaking as one who has kept a number of rodents as pets and has gotten bitten by hamsters, rats, and mice, I think you’ll be okay as long as you keep the wound clean and bandaged. It is scary the first time you get chomped by a hamster you don’t know well yet, but unless it’s looking ill or you’re immunocompromised yourself, it shouldn’t be a problem. Domesticated animals who’ve been kept indoors all their lives don’t ususually have the diseases carried by wild rodents.

    I had a friend who was working as a lab assistant at a large medical research center and was bitten by one of the experimental rats. His supervisor forced him to go to the clinic to get tested for infection because it was protocol, not from any real concern he’d contracted a disease. Still, my friend was almost fired because the incident required a write-up and all sorts of procedural inspections. So they were less concerned about his health and more about “What will this look like to the regulatory agency?” No one asked about the poor rat, however.

    1. It looks like my wound is healing nicely and I haven’t had to take any antibiotics thank goodness. Wow, those hamsters have sharp teeth though! I bet they could remove a small child’s finger!

      I do feel sorry for mammals in labs. When I was a student I took some physiology subjects at university and the entire physiology building stank of it. I couldn’t handle it – not because of the smell but because I knew what was happening. I find scientific experiments on animals quite disturbing. I gave up physiology after the 1st year.

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