Before bringing a hamster home, make sure you have considered the full impact of your decision. Below is a brief overview of the type of needs a hamster may require and what to consider for a hamster’s lifetime care …
– from AdoptAPet.com
The competition was unfair from the start, and I knew it well. But after a few drinks, you sometimes start doing stupid things.
Unless you’re a hamster and you can keep your liquor.
I’m definitely not a hamster. Not even close, it turns out.
I adopted a hamster several months ago, partly to stay company during the various lockdowns and “just stay home” mandates. I had considered Match.com, but then I found an article on AdoptAPet.com, and quickly realized how much cheaper it would be to live with a hamster.
I called him Harley and he seemed to like the name. He also seemed to like Jim Beam.
There is apparently a scientific explanation for this. Hamsters evolved in the wild – of course – which would be Syria’s wild nature, somewhere no self-respecting hamster would feel comfortable today. (Just a passing political commentary that has no real bearing on this story.) At least hamsters in their natural habitat hoard grass seeds and fruits to get them through the cold winter months, and like anyone who has ever hoarded grass seeds and fruits know, very well, these foods tend to ferment. So hamsters have been genetically predisposed to consuming foods high in alcohol.
Coincidentally, they are genetically predisposed to ‘live it up’ in the winter. As I found out Saturday night.
Not all animals are blessed with a tolerance to splashes. Elephants, for example, are absolutely lightweights when it comes to fire water because they lack a gene to metabolize alcohol. We are all very lucky that elephants do not hoard grass seeds and fruits for the winter, otherwise our prehistoric ancestors might never have survived the early millennia of Africa.
Hamsters, on the other hand, can metabolize alcohol as nobody’s business. In fact, they like liquor better than almost any kind of beverage. When a psychologist named Gwen Lupfer studied the consumption of alcohol by hamsters at the University of Alaska Anchorage, she discovered that they preferred unsweetened Everclear over plain water and would consume an average of 18 grams per day. kilograms of body weight every day. This is equivalent to the alcoholic response of a human being who drinks one and a half liters of 190-safe Everclear.
I knew all this information before I challenged Harley to a drinking competition on New Year’s Eve. But we are both bachelors and we both like to have fun.
To make things fair (considering I’m a bit bigger than Harley) I found a glass thimble that I thought looked like a shot glass, and then used a full size shot glass for myself. The game went like this: every time I hit a shot, I filled Harley’s thimble with Jim Beam (using an eye drop), and he quickly slurped up his portion.
We would then take a break, enjoy the warm feeling that spreads through our veins, and spend a few minutes discussing the benefits of being a bachelor. Of course, I talked the most. Harley listened for the most part.
Then repeat. I’m taking a shot. He takes a shot. We discuss women.
The last thing I remember was that the room had turned into a slow-moving carousel, and Harley told me about a cute Syrian girl he was with at a pet store in Denver.
But I might have imagined things at the time.
What I do know for sure is that when I woke up on New Year’s Day – with a fatal headache – the bottle was almost empty and Harley was training on his hamster wheel as if he had no care in the world.
The underrated writer Louis Cannon grew up in the great American West, though his ex-wife, given the slightest opportunity, will deny that he has ever grown up at all.