August 19th, 2004

rat on computer - 2

(no subject)

After a week of plying Stella with yogurt drops, I thought I might be ready to try picking her up today. I've had my hand in the cage for ten or fifteen minutes each night, and she's been curious, not alarmed.

The first time I tried to scoop her up, she hopped out of my hand. I put my other hand in as well, and she sniffed it and tried to nibble a little. I let one nibble get too far, and she bit down some but didn't break the skin. She didn't seem upset; I don't think she meant to bite out of fear or aggression. She was just trying to eat my finger. So I scooped her up, very slowly, in both hands, and brought her to my chest.

For a few moments, she was an extremely happy hamster. Then she scrambled up my arm to my shoulder, and Toeffe came into the room. This is not a hamster-proofed room, and she's obviously not tame enough to be easily recaptured should she escape my control. So I called Ken in to use the igloo house to scoop her up and put her back in the cage, before she could tumble down my back to freedom (I was sitting on the floor).

She wasn't too happy with that -- she bounced around the cage and stretched upward, trying to figure out how to get out again. I know most hamsters are pretty focused on escape, but I think it's worse than usual with Stella. She must be very bored in that little aquarium. (The new stuff for the Martin's cage is on its way, so she won't be in there for too much longer.) I put my hand back in the cage, and without the slightest hesitation she jumped right back on it. I took her out for another few seconds to reinforce the behavior, but she's so energetic that without a nice hamster-proofed area I'm really not comfortable having her out. I looked around for the old hamster ball, but couldn't find it. I may need to get a new one. Pronto. It's pretty sad to see her scrabbling at the cage corners trying to dig her way to freedom. The Martin's cage will surely be more interesting for her, but still, outside time is always at a premium.