Friday, March 30, 2007

The Great Hamster Disaster of '69

I think at one time or another, most kids obtain a hamster, gerbil, or some other cute little rodent. They're cheap, don't bark or track mud, and most often don't last very long.

Such was the case when my brother and I received a pair of hamsters when we were eight and ten years old. It wasn't very exciting until it turned out that they were, indeed, a mommy and daddy hamster. Out came six little pink squirmy baby hamster-ettes which was great fun for us and our friends to watch.

"Eeew. Gross!"

It turns out that mommy hamster was psychotic which was evidenced when she began to chew the arms and legs off her babies.

"Mommmm! She's chewing the legs off another one!"

"Well, quit scaring her! Maybe she'll stop if you leave her alone."

Of course, we couldn't leave the spectacle. And mommy hamster proceeded to merrily gnaw away until none of them had any limbs.

"Mommmm! . . . "

And none of them died.

They all grew up into very cute little furry hamster-balls. They'd just wriggle around in the wood shavings and get to where they needed to go. That was about the time that Star Trek had the episode about the Tribbles, so it was pretty cool that we had our very own.

Neighborhood kids would flock over to get a look.

"Hey! Neat-o."

Until one day when my aunt was visiting from Midland and she decided that the smell of eight hamsters was getting a little too foul. So, one morning she parked the hamster cage in the back yard to air out. Just for a bit.

This was in Texas. In the summertime.

By high noon, we had eight hamsters who had died of sun stroke. The little Tribble hamsters had survived a traumatic birth, a psychotic mother, and a life of being a hamster invalid. But were no match for a summer day in Texas.

A shoebox was procured . . . .

8 Comments:

At 3:11 PM , Anonymous the neighbor said...

Omygosh - the end of this story almost exactly duplicates mine about the time my son Tip took his two (very stinky) mice to school to show the class. The teacher asked that they be removed outside until it was time for me to come pick him up. Reno - hot playground, baked mice, shoebox.

Another one of the many joys of motherhood.

xo nayb

 
At 4:15 PM , Blogger gina said...

Ohhhhh that is SO sad - in a hilarious kind of way.

 
At 12:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last day of school when our son was about 10, he arrived home with the class gerbil husband and wife (monogamous) "to keep for the summer". "Is it okay?" We were more surprised the next morning when there were six or eight babies. And again in six weeks. And again in six weeks after that.

We convinced a pet store (against their policy) to take the whole family. After all you couldn't split up the family, right?

Ed

 
At 1:18 AM , Blogger Jon said...

Ed, I think that splitting up gerbil generational siblings is better than taking a chance with having the mother eat all their limbs off.

 
At 1:20 AM , Blogger Jon said...

Nayb - your son is named "Tip"?
My mother named me "Buck".

I love you.

 
At 1:34 AM , Blogger Lorraine said...

And oddly, I could have sworn I left a comment earlier and yet, not so much. Maybe I was laughing too hard and forgot to actually post.

 
At 2:34 PM , Anonymous the neighbor said...

Buck Dahling,

(coincidently, my brother's name is Jon...that's J-O-N Jon, a scandihoovian thing)

My son's full name is Tipton - he was named after his great uncle Tipton who was named after the town of Tipton, Kansas. Long story - I'll tell you over 4th of July if you're interested. And I'll also tell you about the time our dog ate the class guinea pigs.

Love you back - XO nayb

And Lorraine, get it together, please.

 
At 8:34 PM , Blogger Iwanski said...

This story is fascinating, funny and sad.

Poor little hamballs.

 

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