Tuesday, August 12, 2008
…Seventy yrs ago, America fell in love with a caramel-colored rodent. Awww.
…OK, some are other colors.
…Writing about the adorable vermin (Az Republic, Aug 11, 2008) Karina Bland reveals that this pet originally hailed from Syria. A researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem smuggled some of the lab animals into England in 1931 by stuffing them in his pockets.
…From there a highway engineer won a pair in a poker game and started breeding them. All hamsters were descendents of the pocket pets until a grad student from MIT caught some wild hammies in Syria and started a rival business.
…During World War II hamsters made great pets—they were small and cheap to feed.
…If this isn’t tacky to say, they are a good starter pet—they only live about two years.
…Some hamsters leap around like circus performers and are very entertaining. JFK had hamsters named Debbie and Billie at the White House.. Hamsters have had cameos on The Simpsons, Cosby, Calvin and Hobbes, and Lilo & Stitch.
…They can get a little stinky, HA recalls, thus the cedar chip thing. When they get away and get in the heating ducts and die, parents use forbidden language, but you can learn new words that way.
…They also must be pretty clean—hamsters were first used in leprosy research, but didn’t catch the disease and thus became pets.
…HA also remembers that finding the teeny, peanut-sized pink babies in a Kleenex nest was pretty thrilling.