Saturday, 14 December 2013

HOME THE SWEETEST HOME

Nutka is nothing like any other hamster I've ever had. In time she became very territorial. What she values most is her nest. She spends there 99% of time and leaves it only if she must collect some food or nesting material. She doesn't like going outside the cage anymore. She also isn't after caresses - she's never been.

LET'S BOTH PRETEND I'M NOT THERE

I guess that's because I took her from the pet store when she was an adult hamster, when she already had her own habits. Don't get me wrong: she's a true darling, never tried to bite me, but you can tell by her behaviour that she's got her own half-wild world where humen are not exactly necessary unless they bring some delicious threats. I'm ok with it as long as she's healthy and happy. It was my decision to rescue her from becoming a snake food and I was aware that there might be some problems with taming. Well, she tamed beautifully, she's only got different needs. Sometimes I miss all that cuddling and stroking, but after all it's an independant being who doesn't exist to fulfill my desires...

BLURED AND BALANCING - I'M COMFORTABLE THIS WAY, AREN'T YOU...?

Despite of her age (she must be about a year old now) Nutka is still too rapid to catch her with my camera. So far I've never succedeed in shooting her properly (LOL), but I'm not giving up - still trying ;-) I'd love to give her a proper, natural hamster habitat (there's this huge project growing on me for some time), but I'm not sure whether I'd finish it on time (before her time comes). I don't know.

Friday, 22 November 2013

STILL TRYING...


I dropped by just to show you how taking pictures of Nutka usually looks like. First of all, there's much of an effort on my side and much of running on her's. Then there's what I take for THE SHOT. And that's how the results look like:


I was never any good at photographing moving objects. My camera has many modes proper for children, sportsmen and so on, but none of them applies for Rapid Hamster Movement (LOL). What a big nose! Nutka, you're being nosy! ;-)

Saturday, 19 October 2013

HONEY, CLOSE THE DOOR...!

It wasn't late at night although it was very cold and dark outside. We were sitting in a cosy living room, my husband and I, with the curtains shut. I heard Nutka is awake so I rushed to let her out. I took her with me to the living room and let her play on the sofa, next to us. Suddenly - she must have heard something we didn't - she froze and then (before I even blinked) she jumped from the sofa straight onto the floor squicking out of fear! Thanks God the carpet there is quite thick and soft... The next thing she did was rushing under our thick, long curtains. She vanished behind them so I followed her. I drew back the curtains and... I almost fainted. It turned out that the balcony door was opened all the time (my husband left it that way and forgot to tell me). I stared into the cold darkness behind the doorstep picturing scared Nutka falling out of the fourth floor balcony... I couldn't catch my breath and was about to scream when I noticed a little movement in the corner of the room, behind the curtain. Yes, it was Nutka! Words can't describe my relief... I don't have to tell you how I yelled at my husband, but it's hard to blame him: he's so tired after work... From that moment I don't trust even myself while taking her out of the cage and check everything twice in case my Guardian Angel is busy...

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

AUTUMN FALLS...

In case somebody asked: we're doing fine :-) Nutka's nose is healing and there's almost no sign of the injury right now. Well, a little bit of fur is still missing but the hamster itself stayed intact. No meds needed. What a relief...!

DON'T STARE...! BRING ANOTHER ONE...!

Nutka is enjoying her Autumn menu and the corn turned out to be something she fell for. Even an apple had to give it the way. She's also buliding strange structures with sticks, parsley and dill. Just like a beaver she thinks she is ;-)

OM NOM NOM NOM...
Think I might use my camera sometime and show it to you, guys, since it's so funny while she's dragging those huge sticks, trying to fit them into her nest. Nutka happenes to be a real architect, it seems. Very attached to her burrow.

Monday, 9 September 2013

I WAS JUST SNIFFING FOR SOMETHING SWEET...

Has anyone just mentioned health...? Aw, it was me. But it wasn't the obduction, it was regular walk outside the cage that revealed Nutka's injury:


There. The naked spot over her nose. My first thought was: Oh, my God, it's cancer! It took me a while to grab her for the obduction. Luckily (Phew...!), it turned out to be just a scratch. Of course it still wasn't supposed to be there.


Probably she got it sniffing under the door, but I'm not 100% sure. Now, another true fluffy toughie in my crew... Darn it...! I'd better keep an eye on her, since she became so self-destructive. Even though she doesn't seem to give a damn and I'm the only one who's concerned and over-reacting here :-P

Saturday, 31 August 2013

HEALTH PREVENTION

As you may or may not know, I had some health difficulties with my hamsters in the past. The fact that both, Lilly and Kropeczka, departed so suddenly made me check Nutka's health systematically and even more thoroughly nowadays...

WEEE...! I'M A FLYING SAUCER...!

Well, it's not the best part of the week and certainly Nutka doesn't look like being pleased with the obduction. I also don't like bothering her this way, but it's still necessary.  So far so good, but better to prevent than cure, right...? :-)

NOW, THAT'S ENOUGH! IS THIS SOME KIND OF U.F.O. PLOT AGAINST MY LITTLE TAIL...?!

On the other hand, Nutka's never tried to bite me, so I think she knows (feels?) it's for her own good. Sometimes, when I happen to be less gentle than usually, she nibbles my fingers to let me know. As you can see, we manage to get along.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

SHOOTING TIME! ;-)

It's celebration time...! :-D I managed to shot two - considerably clear - pictures of Nutka who is an extreme fidget, most difficult to photograph. Here they are:



Yeah, I know, the colouration is crapy since I had to use camera light to make Nutka visible 'cause usually she's pitch black in the pictures. Still, there she is.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

PACKED AND READY TO GO ;-)

Every now and then hamsters must play hide & sick with their food ;-) It's crutial for it's phisical and mental health, that's why we - owners - usually stuff their snacks in some weird places just to let our little furry friends find them. Sometimes it's good to let them just crawl inside the box and see what happenes next. Nutka loves this version of the game. And how about your hamsters...? :-)

JUST ANOTHER MACARONI-TAIL :-)

OH, MY...! I'M AFFRAID A DIET IS UNAVOIDABLE...! *___*

LET ME IN, LET ME IN...!

...OR YOU'D BETTER DON'T.

Friday, 19 July 2013

OOO, THE SWEETEST THING :-)

The simple fact, that Nutka has fallen in love with her new clay house, makes me burst with joy. I can watch her take care of it every day. Every day she leaves the nest to collect some new bedding material and hoard a little bit of food. I've noticed that parsley, apple slices and broccoli pieces are being most desired :-)





Isn't she lovely...? She really makes my day, you know. And it gives me pleasure to think out new improvements for her cage. I hope only the best awaits her :-)

Sunday, 7 July 2013

EXTREME MAKEOVERS BY NUTKA

Well, to be honest, my design didn't last so long... Don't get me wrong, I really loved the results when I removed the protective foil even though my burrow was a little bit lopsided. Quickly I put it into the cage for the Nutks'a review...


...which came in days: the little tenant didn't seem to be entirely pleased with the look of her new apartment and decided to rearrange the space in her own hamster way almost giving me a heart attack when I saw this upgrade by her:



Well, it seems like she needed just a couple of additional doors and windows ;---) It's a miracle this house is still standing after such a transformation LOL


THE LITTLE CULPRIT LURKING IN THE SHADOWS

Friday, 5 July 2013

THE CLAY NEST PROJECT

Dear fellow hamster amatours, today I'm going to share with you my way of building a fancy clay nest big enough to be suitable for an adult sirian hamster.


Depending on your creativity there are many different ways of achieving similar effect, therefore, I'll just describe what I did and why. You may follow my steps or just do it your way and remember: not everything always goes right, so be patient and keep on trying until you succeed. Just to encourage you, here's an example of my first attempt (more like a cannon than a burrow LOL):


It was a spectacular failure, to be honest: this 'gun' fell apart as soon as I took away the books and the rest of it was so ugly I couldn't look at it ;-) So I thought the whole idea over, changed it entirely and tried once again to finally succeed.


TO BUILD SUCH A CLAY NEST YOU MAY NEED:

- a damn good project (blueprints)
- 2,5 - 3 kg of self hardening clay (f.e. JOVI Terracotta, Fimo)*
- bowl with a little bit of tap water
- cutting tool (f.e. blunt knife, line)
- ruler
- big board (any that can be washed up later)
- big rolling-pin
- some forms to shape the clay on (f.e. old cage tubes, vases etc.)
- foil
- disposable gloves if you're alergic to clay (dirt), otherwise I recommend using bare hands 'cause not many things compare to the feeling of smooth, wet terracotta under your fingers ;-)  

* There are many different products on the market nowadays. Make sure the one you choose is non-toxic and animal friendly. In general, what's good for small children, won't hurt a hamster.


STEP ONE
 BLUEPRINTS

Think of what you're going to build: how it's supposed to work and look like in practice. Since I decided to make a burrow that consists of 3 removable parts (to allow easy cleaning), I badly needed a good plan to make it work and not to waste too much of the material again (which is not that cheep). That's why I made a few sketches even before buying the clay and chose the one I liked best.

At this point it was also crutial to plan the job and decide which sections will be done firstly and which - secondary. Wise planning may save you some material and effort. Of course, if you feel confident in the later stage of work, you don't have to stick to the blueprints. You may modify your plan a bit, to make it more  practical and interesting to an eye. As you can see, that's exactly what I've done.


STEP TWO
PREPARATION

It's very important to find oneself a free space to work undisturbed and prepare all the materials and tools needed, not to distract yourself later seeking them during the sculpting when your hands are dirty and your project is in progress.

 
As you can see in the picture above, not having one big wooden board I used two smaller ones. At this point I also decided that I prefer a curved tube (not the straight one like in the blueprints) to form the entrance tunnel. For shaping the main chamber I chose a huge vase (glass is good: the clay do not stick to it).


STEP THREE
 SCULPTING THE ENTRANCE TUNNEL

I knew I'm going to start my work from the element I considered to be the most complicated and potentially most tricky so the entrance tunnel it was. I measured and mixed two kinds of clay together (I wanted my burrow to be two tonned, but you may choose otherwise) just kneading it as if I kneaded pastry.



Than I used my rolling-pin to roll down this 'clay pastry' into thin layer, as if I was going to bake some cookies ;-) It has to be made slowly and carefully (you'll get the trick in time) not to tear the clay. The rolled down clay should be cohesive, firm and aproximately 1 cm thick looking like a huge, thick pancake.


As you can see, using this method one is able to create some fancy patterns as the two tones of clay mix together smoothly giving this interesting, marble - like effect. After I had my 'pancake' rolled down, I measured and cut the desired shape of a rectangle big enough to cover the cage tube (my mold) and freely reach the ground with both it's ends. One need to be very gentle while forming.





The pictures show I helped myself with two little glasses: I put the whole construction on them since I needed the tube just to provide this curved shape of my tunnel. There's also one detail you may be interested in: do you see this small something on the top of the tunnel...? Well, this is the joint part that will fit an adequate hole of the main chamber section. See, how smart you can get?



When I considered the tunnel section finished I left it to rest since the air drying clay needs few hours to harden itself. Keep in mind, that during this process, the clay (always!) shrinks a bit loosing it's capacity. So, what's next...?



STEP FOUR
SCULPTING THE MAIN CHAMBER

This is the core part of the project because we came to the element in which our little fuzzy friend will spend most of it's life hoarding, eating, sleeping, grooming and God only knows what else doing ;-) So it has to be big enough to become a comfortable hamster home. To get it done, firstly you have to act exactly the same way as in the tunnel case: measure and mix the clay (huge amount this time), than roll it down with the rolling-pin to get this 'pastry' texture. You can make it even thicker this time (more than 1 cm) since this is the main element of the whole construction keeping all the other parts in place.


Once again you need to cut the desired rectangle and wrap it around some huge tube (I used a glass vase) just to form it (sorry for no pictures, I totally forgot about them while wrapping LOL). Having the main chamber formed you may now gently remove your mold from the inside, cut the entrance and form it's shape just to make it fit to the premade tunnel section. Use the foil to cover it.


After you make a sufficient connection, shaping the clay all around the foiled tunnel and inside the main chamber (if the clay dries too fast you may help yourself by dipping your fingertips in the water), leave the whole construction like this until it hardens itself in the open air. It should look anything like this: 



It really doesn't matter that much whether it's straight or not. Just try to keep it as neat as you can, your hamster will enjoy it anyway ;-) In the meantime, while it's drying, you can make the last part of the burrow: the main chamber cover.


STEP FIVE
SCULPTING THE REMOVABLE LID

Since it's the last part, you may get crazy a bit and use all the clay that's left in the sculpting process ;-) Take all the steps like: measuring, mixing, rolling down and cutting the clay to get the desired lid shape (it may be round, but it may be rectangular as well, the sky is the limit). I chose a common circle and added three 'blobs' of clay in it's down side making an additional edging to keep the lid in place better but they're not necessary (Nutka ate them anyway LOL).



Having the lid hardened I realised that I'm not pleased with it's look. I got plenty of clay left so I used it to upgrade the lid and make it look like a real cover (I even added a little heart on the top of it, LOL). It took some effort (wet sculpting all around the edges mainly) and needed additional forming directly on the main chamber section protected with the foil, but it was totally worth it.



The construction was left like this untouched for next three days to let it dry definately. I wanted to make sure that all the parts harden properly before I put the burrow into the cage and leave it to the beasts ;-) The lid cracked a bit during this process (the clay shrinking, remember...?) but I didn't mind: it was like a scar on Harry Potter's forehead LOL, the visible sign of love bursting from my clay heart on the top of the lid ;-) Nothing left do be done but cleaning.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

EXPLORING THE PLAYGROUND

I had to give Nutka some time to make herself at home. As you remember, she was an adult hamster when I bought her. That's why I didn't want to push her towards me too much. Playing outside the cage was suspended. I chose to wait until she's tamed knowing it would be much safer and less stressful for her this way. When the day came, she was thrilled above excited to discover The Closet:

LOOK, I'M A SAUSAGE-HAMSTER!

At the beginning Nutka was very cautious and reserved. She's pretty shy in general so I had to encourage her a bit to make her get used to the open space. For the first four months of her life she's been staying in the closing, after all. I can imagine how she must have felt when she finally got on the loose: Whoa...!

I'M PRETTY SURE THERE MUST BE A HIDDEN PASSAGE BEHIND THIS PANEL...
  
There was much of sniffing around, trotting, licking and nibbling. So many new textures, smells, noises... It was fun to observe how she becomes more and more self-confident, trying new things like climbing the sleeves (she loved that one!), sliding the towels and - of course - running The Great Spinning Wheel inside the wardrobe. And, man, she's quick as lightning, barely I can keep up!

NOW, THAT'S A PROPER HIDEOUT FOR A LADY...!

In the end I was way more tired than she looked like. It's amazing, how every hamster is different, with it's own habits and needs. It takes great deal of attention and love to understand it's little heart. Hope I will achieve that goal.

Monday, 17 June 2013

LOOK WHO'S WATCHING

:-) We're living peaceful, happy life together. Nutka has already got used to her new home and quickly turned out to be a real darling, a true sweet little angel. She loves fresh greens but her favourite treat is an apple. She doesn't eat much, though, she's not greedy. If she's hungry, she gets some, but if she's not than you can give her most delicious food - she won't take it. Nutka also is not affraid anymore: she lets me stroke her, kiss her and lift her up whenever I want to or need to. It's very kind of her ;-) And, of course, she loves her spinning wheel :-)

THE BIG BROTHER WATCHES YOU

Nutka is a normal, happy and healthy hamster, but in many ways she's unique. For example she loves to stare :-) At anything. Sometimes she's watching me doing something in the room, sometims it's the flower next to her cage she's up to. While doing this, she strikes most weird poses, like hanging on the cage bars or freezing inside the tubes. Bah, the tubes...! In her case they are not being regarded as home: it's just the passage from one cage to another. She's never even tried to build her nest inside them. She sticks to the ground, there she builds her nests, there she feels best. Well, we've already run in the room and she's just discovered the huge spinning wheel and the playground inside our wardrobe. She loved it but there's also one thing I made especially for her: a new clay burrow I'm gonna present in the near future but let me tease you first:

DID ANYONE CALL ME...?

Words can not express how glad I am I went with her... I know now, we may not have much time, so I'm gonna squeeze each day with her like a lemmon and live the time given to us like there's no tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

MAKING HERSELF AT HOME

It's hard to believe it's been the whole week since we brought Nutka home. Judging by my experience I can tell she's not accomodating easily. Still she's very careful while treading and leaves her temporary nest only late at night...


But we've also had our little successes: I've already stroked her few times and she eagerly takes treats from my hand (she also happened to climeb it once) so I believe we'll get there in time. No rush. By the way, Nutka's fur is very soft :-)


By now, it's only her rare fluffy end I'm allowed to touch, but it's much anyway for a few-days-long acquaintance, isn't it...? ;-) It seems Nutka loves fresh greens. While she's busy with it, you could do with her whatever you want to ;-)

Saturday, 4 May 2013

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I GIVE YOU... NUTKA !

Let me introduce the new tenant - Nutka :-) I was writing about her in the previous post, now I would like to share some quick pictures of her I've taken lately. They are low quality since she's still very hectic and frightened easily so I'm trying not to scare her with the camera. Hopefully, soon I'll be able to present better shots, maybe even some close ups of this sweet little black bear.









Because of Nutka's age (about 3 months) and the fact that she practicaly doesn't know a human touch (except of rough pet store occasional treatment while cleaning, feeding or moving her to another location), I may encounter some difficulties in the taming process. I'm aware of that, but I'm also faithfull 'cause Nutka is very trusting: she's already happened to touch my nose with her nose and took a piece of an apple from my fingers. First of all I had to solve another problem, though: very quickly it turned out that the top part of the tubes which connects two cage sections together is too high after all. I had to rearrange the whole construction just to lower it a lil' bit, enough to be climbed at. Here it is:



Thus far, Nutka is living (sleeping) in the second cage (closer to the flower), where she's made herself a cosy little burrow in the cartoon tuba hidden in the litter. That's where she spends the day. In the night she's moving to the first cage (under the bulbs), where she's running in the spinning wheel almost whole night long. For now it seems that the tubes and their transparent bulbs are only the passage, not the apartment ;-) It's so uncommon behaviour in comparison to Lilly's and Kropeczka's habits! I wonder if it'll change in time...