Nothing much is new with Bo-Bo. He's just hanging out in the wire cage still, and comes out to say hi occasionally. He doesn't seem overly fearful now, and he'll poke his nose out if he hears me. He is slowly getting more and more used to the thought of being handled. I'm super slow and gentle with him. Still lots of licks for me if I offer him my hand (and nibbles, if it tastes like food). I imagine some better housing will be for him in the near future.
Same with Jo-Jo and Lou-Lou: not much is new. I think they've been hanging out in the nest so much since it's the coldest part of the year here, and they are in one of the coldest parts of the house. I imagine it's usually about 66-70 in their room in the winter. Not super cold, but chilly! I still see them come out and about. Jo-Jo seems a lot more settled for some reason; now he'll sit in my hands for longer. Otherwise, he's now the hamster that I see the least!
Lou-Lou is the one I usually see out, between her and Jo-Jo. She doesn't hop onto my hand, but she still always needs to see what's up. She comes up to me, and tolerates being scooped up. She loves food and treats, and I honestly think she likes to be petted, as long as she's not too nervous. She is not pregnant from what I can tell, and I have a feeling one factor could be that she is "winter mode." Though, maybe her and Jo-Jo never will have babies. Who knows?
Here she is in her winter coat. It's almost like she's a different hamster!
"Hold still, Lou-Lou, where's your face?" She was not impressed with the slick keyboard she was on. :P
Alice. All of the things happen to Alice. The day after her little escapade, I noticed she was limping: her back left limb was injured. I examined her, and thankfully, nothing seemed to be broken. She could use it, but didn't want to put very much pressure on it. She didn't react much when I touched it. I'm hoping that means it's not excruciatingly painful or serious.
Poor Alice. It's hard not to blame myself for her getting hurt, but I remind myself that accidents happen. I'm not sure what happened or when. I have a feeling it happened during her escape, but anything is a possibility. I did have some wire racks in her cage she could have caught her leg on. Since someone said something to me about that, it had me worried enough that I went ahead and removed them. I figured it wouldn't hurt, since her leg was compromised now anyway. I've been observing Alice more since I noticed her leg, and it definitely seems to be getting better. She is still in good health and has good energy.
I found out what Alice has been after. Greens! I offered her an array of food items after her escape, and she decided that broccoli was THE thing. Here's Alice attacking some broccoli last night. Sorry for the child-smudges on the tank. XD
Last, but not least, the pups! Oh, the sweet little darlings. My brain dies with cute just thinking about them. They are doing wonderfully. Very early on the morning of the 12th, when no one was awake, I decided to hold them. I felt confident they were big enough that I wouldn't hurt them, and I didn't think Alice would mind if they smelled like me. She happily hopped into my hand as always, got cuddles (which she really seems to love), and I placed her in a carrier cage so she wouldn't get upset when I opened up the nest.
I carefully opened the nest the same way I did when I peeked at them, and I put my hand inside slowly. I let the pups become aware of my fingers, didn't poke them, and gently caressed them. I laid my hand on top of them to make them feel safe, and they responded with adorable little clicking noises. Then I began to very carefully move them into my palm with my fingers, like a mother hamster tucking her babies under her belly. Slowly, I moved them out of the nestbox with my hand. I was only able to get half of the litter at a time because the box is so small. They startled a bit at being suddenly separated. I cupped them all in my hands, and they calmed immediately.
Even though I was so excited and nervous to be holding them, I kept my demeanor calm, confident, and loving. The babies seemed to respond and remained quite calm, also. I carried them into the music room where it's warmer, sat back, and laid them on my heart. I cupped my hand around them and, honestly, just stared in awe. I stroked them and talked to them. It was so quiet in the house; the morning atmosphere was almost magical being with these little creatures.
Though they are still quite young, I noticed a few personality quirks immediately. One of them even had his eyes open. They cuddled against my hand, and eventually began climbing into my sleeve. After two of them found the warm sleeve, the rest followed quickly. Once they were all piled in, and I'm in a coma from how soft and cute they are, they began to try and nurse on my wrist. The cute little smacking noises, the paws, the licks, the nibbles. A bite! After a few minutes of pure bliss, I decided to put them back with their mommy so they could nurse and fill their cute little round bellies.
I took them back to the nest, tucked them all in, and closed it back up. I cuddled Alice one more time, thanked her, and told her how beautiful her little ones were before returning her to the cage. I made sure to leave a few snacks.
Sweet little Alice and her beautiful babes. She reminds me of a hamster I had about 8 years ago who also became a mommy. Her name was Opal. Here she is pulling on my finger...not sure if she just thought it smelled good, but she was trying her hardest to bring it to her nest of pups.
Here's another pic of her at a precious four weeks old.
Another funny thing she did was "trance out" when I petted her. It didn't matter if she was sitting somewhere, in the cage, in my hand. If I full-body petted her over and over, she'd basically just fall asleep.
Sorry for all the pictures. I just love these little guys. If I had to compare myself to any animal, I would probably say I am most like a dwarf hamster. Haha. XD
Here are the pictures we've really been waiting for. I didn't say how many babies there were, or their colors. I think the pictures can speak for themselves. I just snapped a few quickly; I promise as they get older I will get better, more individual ones. Mommy Alice made a new nest after I removed the wire racks and took these pictures (they were taken Friday the 13th!), so I've just been letting them get settled in. New, better pics will be in order soon - they grow so quickly!
Boy, Boy, Boy, Boy, Boy, GIRL!
I tried to get some faces. You can see the one who looks like Bo-Bo...also acts like Bo-Bo. All of the others crawl away, and he's left sitting there with his eyes closed, like, "...Huh?" Then he opens his eyes and slowly crawls over and wedges himself back under the pile. He is so funny and adorable. The agouti boy is sweet and outgoing, the pudding/argente twins are like yin and yang. The girl is like Alice, and her twin seems to just go with the flow.
Glad you guys are enjoying the story. Peace!