I wonder if the scientists in my previous blog entry would consider this an enriching environment for hamsters.
Someone put a lot of effort into this one.
Golden hamsters live alone in the wild, so they don’t show social cues about their thoughts and feelings. So how can we tell what is going on in the little hamster brain? Seems it has been very difficult, even if hamster owners try to figure it out for themselves. Hamster depression?
Scientists took this conundrum to heart and started studying the furry little pouchers. They needed to know if hamsters kept in captivity were happy, and of course they don’t speculate, they use scientific process.
“We highlight and address some issues using a laboratory species not previously tested: the Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus). Hamsters were tested using a spatial judgement go/no-go task in enriched and unenriched housing. We included a number of controls and additional behavioural tests and applied a robust analytical approach using linear mixed effects models. Hamsters approached the ambiguous cues significantly more often when enriched than unenriched. There was no effect of enrichment on responses to the middle cue.”
“enrichment items” included; deeper aspen substrate and extra nesting material, two coloured transparent plastic huts (10×12 cm), a suspended hamster tent (15×12 cm), four hamster gnaw sticks and a wooden ledge (18×13 cm: all of which increase opportunity for natural and exploratory behaviour. The metal barred wheel was replaced with a larger solid-floor plastic silent running ball-bearing wheel (16.5 cm).
The authors say in conclusion, “We cannot say whether the hamsters in our study felt happy in their enriched housing, but the changes in cognitive processing of ambiguous cues certainly suggests enriched hamsters became more optimistic about the likelihood of future reward when faced with uncertain information.”
The scientists could have also talked to Mathijs van der Paauw, the author of Happy Hamster. The cookbook of cooking for hamsters.
Looks like this hamster is happy to me!
Some people think that Valentine’s day is over-rated. Perhaps it is just an excuse for the sale of roses and chocolates, but I say it is a good time to show those around you that you love them, and if they love roses and chocolates that makes it so much easier.
So for all of you lovers out there, and with a special dedication to the one I love, I offer some Valentine hamster videos I have found for your enjoyment.
May you have a wonderful Valentines day!
Tonight we just came back from a week long trip visiting family. Of course there is not much in our fridge, so a natural option is to pick up a simple pizza from the local grocery store and add our favorite toppings. Not too unlike the hamster in this cute video.
Now some people may be concerned that this tiny hamster eating a tiny pizza may be consuming potentially poisonous toppings for the little beastie. Not to worry. The author, AprilsAnimals, assured us with this topping list; whole wheat pita, natural peanut butter, carrots and mealworm. Great for hamsters, not as appealing for people. It was her second shot at cooking for hamster, as this video from behind the scenes shows that hammy decided the first veggie pizza was not as tempting.
The one option that hamsters have that we as human don’t is to stuff your leftovers. The BBC has a revealing program about pets and featured a spot on hamsters hoarding abilities including x-ray of the remarkable talent. Rest assured, I won’t be stuffing my cheeks with tonight’s leftovers.
I may have missed this group when they released this video on December 24th, but better late then never.
Seems that they may be just doing the air band thing, because I don’t see their little paws on the keys or the strings. But then, who cares? Hamsters are hamsters.
A biology lab in Devon, England has an unusual learning experience. The teacher wanted to students to observe live behaviors of animals, so when the lab was renovated he had installed a hamster run on the ceiling of the room.
He said: “It was a crazy idea that I had when I was designing the lab as I had had hamsters before. I wanted them to have space and allow the pupils to observe them and their behaviour.”
18 Roborvoski hamsters inhabit the lab and the surefooted rodents are more then Andrew Colville can keep track of while they scurry to and fro. It certainly adds life to the study of biology.