Nothing can quite prepare you for the exquisite sight of a hummingbird on the wing. Nature has truly spoiled us with this astonishing spectacle. Take a look as ten different species take flight in their search for food and marvel at the aerodynamics of one of the world's truly astonishing species.
This beautiful specimen is known as an Anna’s Hummingbird and was named after Anna Messina, the Duchess of Rivoli. It is found along the Pacific Coast from British Columbia to Arizona. Males perform remarkable display dives during the courtship season. The male, when his territory is threatened, rises up around a hundred feet before diving on to his rival. The dive is so fast it produces an “explosive squeak” as the wind rushes through the tail feathers.
Hamsters – they’re adorable and surprisingly good company too. Here we take a look at some unexpectedly funny things you can do with hamsters when you’re bored – and throw in some cool facts about hamsters at the same time!
1. Amuse Him With Your Office Anecdotes
Hamsters love to hear what went on at the office. In fact they like nothing better than a long and intense monologue. Start with the time you got to work and give him a blow by blow account of the day’s activities. You can even tell him those secrets that you can’t tell anyone else, like who is having an affair with the boss. Hamsters love gossip!
The name hamster comes from German. The word is “hamstern” and it means to hoard. It could have been worse – in the competition for names, other suggestions were Pelzkuge (furball) and Hundenahrung (dog food). Ah, those Germans and their zany sense of humor!
2. Shower Him With Presents
Like any other creature on earth, hamsters love to be spoiled. So, why not shower your little friend with gifts? We are not necessarily talking Gucci or Yves San Laurent here, but be careful to wrap up your gifts correctly. Hamsters are very up on the protocols of gift giving and you do not want to upset the little fur ball.
There are 28 species of hamster, including the golden and the dwarf. The dwarf was only introduced as a pet about twenty years ago, which is good because when it becomes extinct in the wild we won’t have to worry (that's called irony!).
3. Introduce him to world cuisine
Hamsters love variety, so why not expand his culinary interests and introduce him to some of the more exotic dishes from around the world? As you can see, the hamster in the picture is fascinated by the sushi he has been presented with. It’s not a “WTF” moment, honestly!
If you own Golden or Syrian hamsters, you may need lots of space! After the age of ten weeks or so they have to be kept separately. If not, you may have a Tarantino-type scene of bodies greet you. They will, however, bond with humans with the exception of the occasional sulky nip.
4. Teach Him Yoga
Hamsters need to keep fit, just like us. Part of the regime of well being that you could introduce your hamster to is yoga. Good for the mind and the body, it could only be a matter of time before they master transcendental meditation too.
In their wild habitat hamsters will really let rip with their tunnel building. As small as they are, their tunnels can go down as much as three feet in depth. If you hate your neighbors, why not buy a thousand hamsters and release them underneath their house? Within months subsidence and sub-prime will both take their toll.
5. Take Him To The Cinema
Long wet afternoons can be a source of boredom to hamsters as well as humans. So, why not let your little buddy accompany you to the movies? Hamsters love films of any kind, but their current favorites are Ratatouille and Mouse Hunt. They do not, however, like zombie films. Or Star Wars. They hate Star Wars.
Most rodents’ teeth will grow throughout their lives and the same is true of the hamster. To keep the teeth clean and worn, give them some plastic chewy toys to play with. If you get a plastic figure of your most despised public figure, both you and your hamster will have fun.
6. Introduce Him to E-Numbers
Like human children, a hamster with ADHD can be a handful. They love their food and so if you leave a biscuit tin open and a hamster loose around the “hoose” you will return to find a frenzied creature that will not do what he is told and will refuse to leave his Playstation.
Hamsters do not have very good eyesight – or depth perception for that matter. Pop a brick in front of them as they are running and you will soon prove this. When hamsters are somewhere with which they are not familiar they will rub their bodies against various objects to leave a scent trail. So, when you have a new hamster, don’t worry. It’s not doing what your dog does with any and every object it can find – honestly.
7. Teach him To Act
Hamsters have a fine sense of the dramatic, so teach them some Shakespeare or Wilde. Acting classes may well help channel your hamster’s angst in to something useful and you can make money out of. The famous “hamster recites Shakespeare” video on YouTube got sixteen million hits, after all. They can be a little hammy on stage, though. Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.
Anyone who has ever had a hamster will know that they have bags of energy. In the wild they can travel anywhere up to eight miles in a night in their search for food. Since their introduction to urban homes, they much prefer a drive to the Seven Eleven.
8. Then Become an Audition Mom
With your hamster fully trained up and a RADA graduate, you can then sit back and watch the money pour in as they enjoy dramatic success. They could be the next incarnation of Doctor Who, or tread the boards at Stratford-Upon-Avon as Hamlet. After all, if David Tennant can do it, there should be nothing stopping your little chum in his search for stardom. You may have to be an audition mum for a while, though, as hamsters don’t much like bright lights. A little encouragement goes a long way!
Hamsters can carry up to half their body weight in their pouches. Some children have seen this as indicative of strength in other areas and have used this as a reason to see whether their pet can carry up to a hundred times its own weight on its shoulders. Parental Guidance is advised in these circumstances.
9. Give him a Rubik's Cube
Although many Olympic sports are beyond the ability of most hamsters – despite many appeals to the Olympic Committee over the years – a rubik's cube may prove to be a fine option if your hamster has a competitive nature. A game that a hamster can master in minutes, if not less, it still isn't quite the perfect size, however.
Hamsters don’t live a long time, so are perfect pets if you want to teach your children those important lessons around life and death. Generally, they live for between two and four years. The record for a hamster in captivity is twenty years. That family did not have any children.
10. Have A Silly Face Competition
Although hamsters loathe people who patronize them, they like nothing more than a funny face competition. While at the sushi bar (see above), why not engage him in a competition? Pop your cuddly friend on your table top and engage him in pulling funny faces. Encourage him to enter the spirit of the competition by making the occasional encouraging outburst of baby talk. Watch as delightful men in white coats come and join in the fun!
Hamsters do not smell, contrary to popular opinion. We do.
11. Take Him to a Rehab Clinic
Life can get tough for the average hamster, especially after all those auditions and visits to Cinemas and Sushi bars. A week or two at the rodent equivalent of the Betty Ford Clinic should put him back right as rain. Although it means your best friend and companion will be away from you for a few weeks, you can keep in a kind of contact and know his movements by alerting the paparazzi to his visit to the Rehab Center.
Hamsters’ nails can get too long very quickly. If you are careful, you can clip the nails yourself. Do not allow your four year old child to do this as a hamster with no legs cannot run. If you put a little sandpaper on their wheel, this is an alternative way to keep your hamster’s nails short and possibly less dangerous for the little guy.
12. Play Hide And Seek
Hamsters love to play hide and seek, although they won’t tell you as such. If you have ever owned a hamster you will be only too aware of their predilection for this game. One note for the novice, however. DO not attempt to play hide and seek with your hamster while someone else is doing the vacuuming.
The name for a hamster baby is a puppy. Do not get confused while at the pet shop, however. You may end up with a squished hamster and a woeful looking baby canine.
13. Teach them a musical instrument
Hamsters have a musical ear and while you are tucked up in bed, they have been known to form rock groups and go on to world stardom. If you are in any doubt about this, do an image search on Google for the band Oasis. You will soon get the point.
Hamsters will eat anything, and that isn’t a poor attempt at being rude. Do not make the mistake of buying a plastic cage for your new buddy. It will be beyond repair within a month and it has no value as sustenance.
14. Take him to a Karaoke Bar
While grooming your hirsute pet for super stardom, it is best to allow him (or her) to get some practice in beforehand. A visit to the local karaoke bar will be good practice for their future career. Keep an eye out in the local press for competitions. You will soon be on to a winner.
The gestation period for a hamster is anything between sixteen and thirty days. Read it and weep, ladies. Yes, our cuddly chums are almost as quick as Morticia Addams. “Gomez, I’m having a baby. Now.”
15. Take him for a makeover and photo shoot
Hamsters are natural show offs so something you might consider doing if the pair of you are bored is to take him for a makeover and a photo shoot. You may have to suffer a few prima donna histrionics, but the end result will be worth it. Plus, the pictures may well make good publicity shots for when you enter your pet for “Hamster’s Got Talent”.
Male hamsters are called bucks and female hamsters are called does. Several were recently arrested trying to film an adult remake of Bambi. What they tried to do with Thumper cannot be published here.
16. Bore the hamster
Misery loves company, so if you are bored, tell the hamster the worst jokes you can think of. Regale the furry friend with tales of your child hood traumas – or even better, fill him in on the latest dark experiences you have had while looking for Mister Goodbar. Expect a fully sympathetic and measured response. As above.
Hamsters will eat anything. Or at least, they will attempt to eat it, hence the previous warning above. However, they are allergic to one thing – and oddly enough that is cedar. Go figure.
17. Have A Friend Round For Dinner
Hamsters may not necessarily be the most friendly fur balls when it comes to members of their own species, but they enjoy good company and conversation. Why not invite some friends over for dinner? They will no doubt be impressed by your clever choice of new friends. One note though, if your guest have names like “Mrs Tickles”, “Bongo” or “Sushi” you should reconsider the whole dinner thing. Menus often get confused in the heat of the moment.
If your dwarf hamster gets pregnant, you can determine the sex of her offspring by changing the temperature. A hotter environment will mean more girls, cooler will mean more boys. Some hope for the species with global warming stalking us like a great big giant stalky thing, then.
18. Introduce Him to alcohol
If the only friends you have are feline and the dinner date is out of the question, then why not introduce him to your friend Jack? Why rodents shouldn’t experience the full gamut of life’s little mistakes is a contentious question. Beware, though, when under the influence of Mister Daniels, do not take the hamster to the Karaoke competition. Unless you want a permanent ban from your favorite watering hole and stains on your clothes.
Hamsters cannot be spayed or neutered – and as such are the envy of the pet world. However, they are very, very fertile. So beware, they go straight to third base on the first date and as such should always have an adult escort present when meeting the opposite sex.
19. Use them as low paid labor
You will get a very happy hamster -for a while. This joy will last a while, but don’t be fooled. Revenge is a meal best eaten cold and hamsters know this only too well. Expect a sharp nip when you are least expecting it!
You can buy hamster chew sticks, but sometimes the hamsters will go against type and not try to eat them. If you have a dog, give them a dog biscuit. It will help keep their choppers a reasonable size. Dogs with a penchant for jealousy should not be informed where their biscuits are going. It can lead to confrontation and the dog usually wins – by a mouthful.
20. Throw them a party to say you're sorry!
Even if you do exploit your hamster they are very forgiving creatures. Throw them a party and all will soon be forgotten!
Hamsters are very, very cute! However, like any pet they do need to be looked after. If this article has made you want to rush out and get your very own cute bundle of hamster then give yourself a few days to consider whether or not you have the time or indeed the inclination to take full responsibility for a precious little life!
A big thank you!
The Ark in Space would like to thank Flickr photographer pyza* for giving us her very kind permission to share some of her wonderful photos with you. If you want to see more (and she has lots, lots more!) then please visit her wonderful Photostream.
So, Easter has come around once more and that means the usual treats – did the Easter Bunny leave you anything this year? The tradition of the Easter Bunny has is hundreds of years old and has its roots in the Rhineland. It was introduced in to the US by Dutch settlers in Pennsylvania in the eighteenth century. But what does the Easter Bunny do with the rest of the year? Jump about madly is our best guess, going by these pictures. Behold the wonder of bunnies!