Saturday, December 10, 2011

Exponential Growth

Why does this always happen with hamsters?
We can never just get one, or even just one family. I mean, look at what happened with the duffel bag hamsters. This is nowhere near as bad, but still.
This is Popcorn, and I'm fairly sure it all started with her. She arrived at the shelter with a nursing litter of 7 pups. They were already about two weeks old, so I took them home to foster for the last week or so. She also arrived with 6 young adults that I'm fairly sure was her older litter. The six older ones stayed at the shelter and went up for adoption.
Barney (right) and Ted are the only boys in the older litter, and super sweet. Actually, all six siblings are friendly, social and gentle, which is rarer than it should be with dwarf hamsters. Their sisters Salt & Pepper are also available as a pair. The family also has pretty patchwork markings that I've never seen in dwarves, it's neat.
Their sisters Sunny & Luna, above, were also available for adoption. I say 'were' because they are no longer available. I went into the shelter one day and, hearing a familar squeaking sound, looked under their little hideaway house.
Turned out Sunny'd given birth a few days before, but since she'd built such a nice nest and no one had looked under the house, no one had noticed. Oops.
Sunny didn't seem to care. Even with three little ones, she and Luna were as friendly and social as ever, and were completely at ease with us wrapping up their cage and sending them off to a foster home.
I can't say I'm surprised though. Because a week after she arrived at our house, Popcorn delivered the same surprise!
As you may or may not be able to tell from that over-exposed photo, she had four little ones. Poor Popcorn - that means she probably had three litters back to back. In other words, she had 17 kids in about two months. I'm surprised she's still alive, to be honest.
Anyway, she is a very good mom and her four newest ones are fat and happy, and just started tumbling out of the nest today.
 Her seven older guys (I guess they're the middle kids) are now split into three groups and ready to go into adoption. There's two pairs of females (Patches & Penelope, and Pippa & Peaches), and a trio of boys: Panda, Percy and Pablo (above). They're all nice enough for their age except for Patches, who is a bit of a chewer.

Basically, we ended up with 21 hamsters overnight. Right before Christmas, when adoptions are always slow. Honestly at this point, I'm not even surprised.
Hooray for hamsters!