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Old 02-01-2017, 06:38 PM   #21
Hamster Pup
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 120
Default Re: A Dwarf Story

The time has come to update again!

Today, the first litter of pups is one month old. We also now have 18 dwarf hamsters. They are all lovely. There is so much cute!

Jo-Jo and Lou-Lou have been rearranging their nest a bit, but other than that, they just hang out and provide cute! I have noticed Lou-Lou starting to get patches of color again already. I wonder if she's a pearl or not. I really have no idea since she was fully grown and going into her winter coat when we got her, and the mandarin gene seems to fade quite considerably. It reminds me of the Syrian hamster's umbrous gene, but the fading takes place much earlier. I suppose springtime will bring some truth.

Ginny, the single girl in the wire cage, is super sweet and happily comes out of the nest to hop into your hand. She's a joy to hold, and a hamster who often finds herself in the hands (and shirts) of our guests.

We have had the five boys from the first litter with their dad Bo-Bo in the bin. Bo-Bo seems more confident and content these days. He doesn't startle easily anymore, and my daughter (the same one I keep referring to, we'll call her "T") keeps coming up to me with him, so he must not be camping in the nest all the time. I have been hearing squeaking occasionally, possibly just arguing while they get comfortable in the nest, possibly some dominance assertion, or maybe squabbling over certain items of food. Just little squeaks.

Today, after we held them and fed them, there was some squealing, but no one has any bites. It appears Bo-Bo is the offender. There wasn't any blood, but he was acting aggressively, so I removed him. I have been keeping an eye on the rest of the boys.

Otherwise, things have been rather peaceful. They are currently in a high-traffic room in the house, so we often interact with them throughout the day. I love giving them baby food jars to lick out (the leftovers after the baby eats). When I do, all of the boys come out to get some and say hi. It's a treat for us, because some of them don't like to come out of the burrow very often.

One of the boys that I see the most is Fred. Little Freddy. He is very sweet like his sister. One of my husband's co-workers was holding Fred the other day, telling me about dwarf hamsters he used to have, and started saying he needed one. Fred can do that to you.

I noticed the mandarin twins have lightened considerably. They are changing color rapidly! A few times I have been fooled telling between Fred and George, even though they have differences in personality, size and facial structure. They are just changing so quickly, if I don't hold both of them side by side every day, I am more easily fooled. If you'd like to see the changes so far, check out their photoshoot update.

Ron is a hamster I see out of the burrow more often than the others. He's a friendly guy who always has to see what's up, and he's starting to look more and more like Lou-Lou. He has always been his auntie's mini. As I'm writing this, T is holding Ron, talking baby talk to him. She says silly things like, "Tute wittle Ronny Bonny." Lol. I think he's her favorite.

Our shyest boy is Harry, the agouti. He is most likely to startle out of all of them. He is so pretty and cute though, he is a treat to behold. He and George are usually the ones holding down the fort - building the nest and keeping up with it. Fred and Ron are the little food collectors.

Draco seems to have the most "balanced" or maybe you could say, indifferent traits. He doesn't usually run away from me, but he's not quick to run up to me, either. Like his dad, he doesn't hop into my hand right away if I approach him, but he lets me pick him up. He's not as shy as Harry and George, but I see him out less than Fred and Ron. When I see him, he's usually standing still rather than scurrying around. I love holding him, it's like holding a little cotton ball. He likes to lick, too.

George doesn't seem overly shy, he just seems to enjoy being in the burrow, and doesn't enjoy handling as much as the others. When he's actually out, he'll come up to me to say hi. Occasionally, he hops into my hand. If he's in a fair mood, he'll give me a few licks, and he's off. If he's feeling particularly antisocial, I might get a forceful nibble: "Let me be!" But George is so cute, he looks just like Alice. I can't help but pick him up sometimes. He doesn't complain much, as long as I don't hold him for too long.

Let's not forget Alice and the new pups! Alice seems to have settled down and slowed down a bit. She seems to be very loving and committed to her pups, but she also seems to have this air about her that she is done being a mum after this. (I feel you on that one some days, Alice.) I decided to clean her cage a few days ago, when the babies were 9 days old. It actually hadn't been cleaned from the last litter; what I did was simply turn the bedding and replace the furnishings. So, it needed it.

I got a good look at these little beauties, and met them for the first time. They are all healthy and thriving. No runts, no imperfections. I got a new nestbox, put some of the old food and most of the old nesting material in, and put it in the samer corner of the tank. I kept it simple, with only about 3 inches of bedding. I wanted the pups to be accessible since they are getting to be handling age. Then I put a few familiar furnishings in from the previous setup. Alice didn't seem worried at all. She just got to work making the nest how she wanted it.

Since I'm not allowed to post pics of hamster pups with eyes closed, and I don't have any pics anyway, I'll tell you a bit about them. Four of them are sapphires, and four of them Two of them are light orange, and two are dark orange. I am fairly certain there is either one or two new shades of orange in this litter. Honestly, I will have to take a picture of them at two weeks to compare to the picture of the last litter at two weeks!

Out of the sapphires, there is one pretty little solid sapphire. The other three sapphires are pearls. The white on them seems to take more after a merle pattern than a pearl pattern: more color than white, but I am fairly certain they would be classified as pearls. One of them has more color on its head than the other two. Like Bo-Bo, actually.

I'm not sure what to make of these four orange pups. Again, there is one solid, but it seems to be darker than the mandarins from the last litter. It's definitely orange, but it's not like anything I can find online, and neither are the other two. It has a brown dorsal stripe. Then there is a pearl that seems to be the same color. It's hard to tell. Plus, I only looked at the litter once, it's hard to remember all eight of them exactly!

The two light orange ones are super pretty. They are obviously lighter than the mandarins from the last litter, and they have an orange stripe, not a brown one. They also have black eyes, like all the rest. They are both pearl/merle (you guys will have to tell me what you think when you see them). It's almost like one of them has a white stripe going across her back. Their pattern looks a lot like the merles on this page.

I am pretty sure all or most of this litter is female, but I didn't want to harass them too much. Time will tell! I can't wait to share pictures with you guys. Peace!
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Old 02-03-2017, 05:08 PM   #22
Hamster Pup
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 120
Default Re: A Dwarf Story

Last night, I decided to see if I could get to the bottom of Bo-Bo's aggression. I got a clean 10 gallon tank with 1 inch of clean substrate and nothing else. I put the boys in with Bo-Bo at the same time, and observed, ready to separate if need be.

They were fine. They sniffed, a few of the boys squeaked defensively, but no one attacked. I left them for a few minutes and observed them. They just dug and shuffled around.

Then I added one simple food item: broken crackers. A few of them nibbled on some, but no one seemed overly concerned about the crackers. I also added an obstacle: a cardboard tube. Still, no one seemed concerned. So, I took them all and put them in a large carrier. I set up the 10 gallon with a large nestbox on one side and another large obstacle on the other.

I added Bo-Bo and the boys again. Again, they were fine. They scurried around and explored, most of them went to hide in the nestbox. I gave them tissues to nest with. Then I added food in a pile on the floor of their cage. THEN Bo-Bo attacked!

Once I added their seed mix, all heck broke loose. He was chasing, lunging, and chattering up a storm. When he seemed satisfied no one was close enough to the food pile, he'd go back to it and continue stuffing his pouches. No blood, but it certainly seemed like it could take a turn for the worse.

Apparently, he wants all the food to himself? Or maybe, a certain smell is triggering something. Like a memory, where he had to defend himself. Who knows. All I know is, Bo-Bo is going to have to be solitary for now, and he can certainly have his own food pile, then.

Alice was out this morning when we came into the sun room for breakfast, and I could hear the babies shuffling around in the nestbox. I decided to take the opportunity to hold them. They are 13 days old today, so I knew they'd have their eyes open.

This litter is a bit more nervous than the last. It wasn't quite as peaceful when I took them out for the first time. There were a few of my children making noise and wanting to see them, and I was taking them out to clean the cage, not to cuddle (unfortunately!). Several of them get fairly vocal sometimes, especially one of the sapphire pearl girls! She is always telling everyone what she thinks. I have often heard her in the nest squeaking loudly - just like a puppy cries! I always wondered who it was.

There is one "new" color, but I'm realizing it's not a new color to me at all. Lou-Lou is a mandarin (pearl, I believe), and Alice is this color (solid). It's lighter than the "normal" mandarin color, with a distinctly orange stripe (the mandarin color has a brown stripe). Since I am unable to find a firm reference anywhere, I'm going to call this color "honey."

It seems this lighter "honey" color is mandarin + sapphire. I learned that the mandarin gene is dominant, but it's also homozygous-lethal, meaning that a hamster can only be heterozygous for the mandarin gene, and a hamster cannot carry the mandarin gene without displaying it. Any pups that are homozygous for this dominant gene (phenotype MeMe) will die in the womb. Any hamster which displays the mandarin color will have the phenotype "Meme". ("Me" is the mandarin gene, and "me" is a non-mandarin gene.) Therefore, mandarin x mandarin = smaller litters.

By the way, while we're on the subject of phenotyping and genetics, I think dwarf hamsters could best be described as polymorphic, not two separate species (Campbell's and Winter Whites). Just something I've been pondering.

There are four boys and four girls. The solid sapphire is a boy. The three sapphire pearls are girls. The two honey pearls are boys. The mandarin pearl is a girl. The solid mandarin is a boy.

The one my fingers are by is the vocal girl. The solid mandarin boy is buried in the corner.

The two honey pearls with the mandarin pearl underfoot.

Trying to get a mandarin/honey color comparison, and they wouldn't have it. Though, the sapphire pearl with the darkest face was looking.

I apologize for the horrendous quality of photos. The litter was wiggly, wanting to find the nest and cuddle in, so it was hard to get pictures. My own "litter" of kids was also around - and wiggly! (My camera is ancient and broken, to boot...I have a whole laundry list of excuses, don't I?) I cuddled them all in my hand after this. (The baby hamsters, that is.) They seemed to calm considerably after that. <3
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hamsters, alice, lou-lou, jo-jo, bo-bo, back, cage, babies, dwarf, setup, wanted, face, run, winter, dwarfs, sapphire, things, time, small, pregnant, wire, put, big, make, hamster

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