Hamsters In The Wild

I’ve always known hamsters are the result of decades of domestication but I’ve never paid much attention to our furry friends heritage. (Domesticated since 1939 to be precise… NERD FACT #1)
So I decided to do a bit of swatting up and share my nerdiness with you folks.

I mean who doesn’t want to know the history of hamsters eh?!

For example, did you know that wild hamsters live underground! A photo of a golden hamster
I mean it makes perfect sense as they’re close relatives of mice and rats who also burrow etc. But it just seems crazy to think my little Banjo could be out in the garden scampering around in the dirt!
He seems way too delicate and pampered now!

They live on a diet of seeds, fruit, vegetation and INSECTS! Again, the thought of Banjo with a face full of bugs makes me want to scoop him up and lock him away from the outside world!

Although the hamster was ‘discovered’ in the late 1700’s, they were actually classified and named until much later. The first hamster was collected by a zoologist in Syria and imported to the USA way back in 1930 – NERD FACT #2 – where they found a female and her 11 pups in a nest 2.5 metres underground!!
That’s impressive for a little thing like a hamster!

The entire pet and science population of Syrian hamsters appear to be descendants of brother-sister pairings – NERD FACT #3!
How insane is that! All hamsters are all very distant relatives of one and other… urgh!

Nowadays it is questioned as to whether there are any WILD hamsters left in Syria! But suspicions suggest they are still underground and just hiding 😀
As long as I have my Banjo safely tucked up in bed, I don’t mind where all his ancient ancestors are 😉

Hope you’ve been educated here! All of this will make you invaluable in a pub quiz….

And just incase all of that writing bored you to tears, here is a video of a wild hamster.. THEY’RE TOTALLY REAL THINGS!!! 😀
Anyways, enjoy your weekend folks!

Categories: animals, FAQs, Hamsters, History, News, science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Science of Sleeping Beauty

Every living thing needs sleep. This is fact.

“Sleeping must have some benefit, otherwise why would humans and other animals spend so much time asleep?”  (Psychology A2 – The Complete Companion.)

I knew there was a reason I was hanging onto that book!

I LOVE my sleep. In fact LOVE isn’t even strong enough to summarise my feelings for my sleep! I dont get to bed early enough – guilty – but I sleep in late and could probably doze all day if I could! I think most of the population out there would agree there is no better feeling than a brilliant nights sleep. After a deep, undisturbed sleep I wake up in the morning feeling energised and ready! When I don’t get enough, or I wake up in the night, I feel groggy, bad-tempered and sluggish for the best part of that following day.
Sleep MUST therefore be doing super important things to my brain in the night. It must.
My mood and daily-outlook depends on it.

So there’s me (fully refreshed after a nights sleep), looking in on my cutie Casper, sound asleep. He is kind of unique in the fact that I can pick him up and put him down elsewhere and he will remain asleep. He is what the opposite of a light-sleeper is. I guess that makes him a heavy-sleeper but it doesn’t roll off the tongue very well to me. It really takes a lot for something to wake him up fully which is unusual for a mammal.

The reason for sleep has many explanations; some more scientific than others. In psychology, one theory of sleep is evolutionary. Sleep is required for energy conservation and even is thought of as an instinctive predator-avoidance tactic. In simple terms, if you stay still for long enough (say sleeping?) scary creatures that want to eat you may not see you.  Quite how have I got from Casper, peacefully snoozing, to evolutionary theories I am not 100% sure but basically if I was a big scary predator, Casper would be my lunch and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t even wake up quick enough to make it tricky for me!

The fact I can pick him up and him to remain fast asleep is weird. As a pet-owner I feel very trusted – he knows I am not a threat. But for mammals, isn’t it passed down genetic instincts to wake up if something touches you?, let alone picks you up! I sound like I wait till he’s asleep before waking him up. I don’t, but sometimes he looks so cute and I cant help but cuddle him! He stays asleep in my hand so I could put him back and he would wake up knowing no different.
Its odd.

Dexter sleeps heavily too. Then again he does run marathons every night. He needs all the sleep he can get! Even he wakes up if his cage is opened. He may not be very alert, but that’s because he has grown with me as an owner to know that I am no trouble to him.

I sometimes can’t help but feel we have taken out the natural instincts within these rodents by domesticating them? Casper would be less than hopeless in the wild; he’d fall asleep and wake up in some predators belly before he’d even knew what happened! I know thats exactly what pets are for; domesticating. But it makes me feel a bit ‘not-sad but thoughtful’ when I know that he practically goes against his nature to stay asleep when “threatened”.

Either that, or he is just a lazy bugger who had a late one. 😉

Categories: animals, General, Hamsters, science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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