Monday, April 12, 2010

Hamsters and the Macro Lens

As you may or may not know, Kelly has six little hamsters.

Well, some are little, and some are bigger, but all together, they're probably no more massive than a newborn kitten.

One of you, my beloved faves, wanted to see how big Cheerio was when compared to a ping-pong ball. Well, I couldn't find a ping pong ball, but Kelly found a quarter.

Kashi is the tiniest of the hamsters, but Kelly is the only one that can tell the difference between Kashi and Cheerio when they're standing still. (The rest of us can tell them apart when they move, because Cheerio can only turn left. We think that she probably had a brain injury when she was born, but it doesn't seem to have affected her, except that she runs around like a Nascar driver, and if she gets stuck in a corner, she can't turn right to get out of it.) I think this photo is of Cheerio, though. So if you can imagine, there is one hamster that's even smaller.

With the fancy-pants macro lens (which, I will add, I am *not* sold on. It's quite slow, and takes FOR-EVER to focus on things in auto-focus mode, so I've had to switch to manual focus, which is rough when you're trying to hold a toad with one hand... I'm just saying.) we took some shots of the rest of the menagerie at home.

Oreo and Souffle are our Campbell's Dwarf Hamsters. Oreo is a female, and has really grown gray gracefully over the past months. At first, I thought it might be that she'd gone white for the winter, but the more I think about it, she's almost one and a half years old, and a two year old dwarf hamster is considered quite geriatric.

The more I think about it, the more I think she's probably also going blind. She moves to sounds and disturbances, but doesn't seem to actually SEE stuff. That could explain why she's gotten quite a bit more aggressive in the last year. Also, she's quite the drinker, a sign of diabetes, which could also be contributing to her diminishing sight. But she's just such a cutie-pie, we love having her around. Here she is, polishing off a handful of Kashi-puffs.

Hmmm. For comparison purposes... here she is last year.

She really has gone grey, hasn't she?

Anyways, she's got a good life, living in a large tub full of climbing toys and burrowing media. So what if she can't see that well. She'll never run out of food.

Souffle lives in a big tub next door to Oreo. He *loves* her, but he can't visit, because she's just not that into him. Whenever we handle the hamsters, we have to handle her first. If we handle him first, she bites (hard) any spot that has his scent on it, fighting it off, as if the side of our hand was suddenly the worst kind of intruder. But if we handle her first, he comes running to our hands, and climbs aboard, licking us most tenderly. It's quite cute.

See how he pines for her?

Kashi and Cheerio are our Roborovski Dwarf hamsters. Robos are the smallest hamsters of all, and can live together in family groups. Kashi and Cheerio are sisters, and, technically should be able to live together just fine. Alas, Cheerio seems to have a big chip on her shoulder (perhaps because she can't turn right?) and picks on Kashi, so they've had to be separated into two tubs, also.



And then we have the giant hamsters. Actually, they're just 'average sized' Syrians, but compared to the dwarfs, they're massive.

Cheddar is our timid male. He didn't sit still for his macro portrait until I brought out the broccoli.

And S'more doesn't live with us any more. She's the class pet in Kelly's class. But I do have a recent shot of her, as the class of 2010 just did a poll that divided the class up into a bunch of ridiculous (and sure to cause hard feelings) categories. Kelly and a few of her friends were voted "Animal Lovers of the Class", and when I was at school on Friday, I took the photos for the yearbook, and told the girls to bring S'more along for the photo shoot.

One of these days, I will have to take Macro-lens portraits of S'more. She is also getting old, and I sometimes wonder if she will still be alive when Kelly heads off to Middle School in the fall. But we will cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, she is the center of attention in the classroom, and seems to be flourishing there.

And that is a tour of our fluffy menagerie, courtesy of the rented macro lens.

OH! Wait!

How could I forget?

Hello, Jewel! Of course, I took a bunch of macro photos of you, too. Your feathers look lovely.

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