Last night we went back over to my sister Kate's place and made a maze for my niece's hamster, Karen.
We made it with Keva Planks, which may well be my favorite toy so far in my boys' childhoods. The kids estimated Karen's size, how big a space he would need to amble through, and how high the planks would need to be to contain him.
The kids were delighted, and mostly kept their movements slow and their voices soft so as not to give the tiny thing a heart attack.
We looked up hamsters and found out some cool things:
- They are nearsighted and color blind
- Their food-storing cheek pockets extend all the way back to their shoulders
- They might fight another hamster to the death if put in a cage together
- They are omnivorous
- They (Syrian hamsters, the most common domestic breed) are mostly descended from a colony brought from Syria to the U.S. during WWII for use in medical research
- They are coprophagic, meaning they eat their own poop to be able to extract the proper nutrients from their food
Woody likes learning about and watching animals a lot, and finds them wonderfully amusing, but I've noticed he doesn't much care for interactions beyond a little pat. He seldom wants to go over to the puppy at the park or hold the snake at the zoo. He's much more likely to sit and let the cat come to him or giggle at the rodent's antics. His Grandaddy is like this, and has acquired many an animal admirer over the years--once even a wild goose!--because of his calm energy and easy acceptance that asks nothing of any other creature except not to be aggressive. It's not what most people mean whey they say their kids love animals, but it is a kind of love, an unconditional one that lives and lets live.