It’s a silly hamster video on YouTube, by the way, further confirming my notion that YouTube is for two types of people: 1) Those who have too much time on their hands, and; 2) Those who will watch anything because they have too much time on their hands (there are days that I am both).
In August 2006, I was reviewing a mobile phone for T3 magazine and wanted to test its video recorder. I ended up filming my Syrian hamster, Hamster Dam, going about her business—either trying to escape or hoarding food. I posted it on YouTube for kicks, not expecting it to earn more than ten views. It’s received 14 comments and 13,114 views as I write this. But really, it’s just a silly video.
Hamster Dam passed away last year, though. I have since replaced her with a Roborovski dwarf hamster I named Mini Me.
Hamsters are feistier than they look. I’ve learned the hard way that these little ones, though really cute, aren’t ideal for kids unless supervised by an adult. They bite. Hard. When I first brought home Hamster Dam, I was trying to feed her when she went for my finger instead. She bit so hard I had to flick my hand just so she would let go—don’t worry, she didn’t go flying or anything. My finger hurt, but I’ve stapled my hand in the past, so the pain was no big deal to me.
I knew she felt threatened, which was why she bit me. I should’ve known that a hamster should be tamed first before attempting to handle or feed them by hand. Taming isn’t hard. Speak softly to it whenever you can and let it get used to your voice and scent. Instead of trying to pick it up, let it come to you. You can leave a pinch of food on your palm and let it feed from your hand. At this point, you can try to pat its head with your finger. Do this regularly and after a few days, it can be tame enough to be handled—and eventually filmed to become a potential YouTube semi-celeb.