The giant hamster

When I was little I had a mouse, a white one. How I came to be the owner of Fridolin is a story on its own. He didn’t stay with us for long as he was a smelly fellow (he was always in the mating mood), he had a whole room to himself. Then I had Frida, a female white mouse, who was lovely, always a bit scared and not the adventurous type. When she died, I was devastated.

For months I tried to convince my mother to let me have a hamster. I went to the local pet store all the time to look at the hamsters. And then one day, they had a litter of 4. I came back every day I think. Once they were old enough to be separated from their mother, I managed to somehow convince my mom to let me have a young hamster.

It was a Saturday, I took home a beautiful silver gray hamster with black eyes (there must be a picture of him somewhere, I just don’t know where). In the litter they had been two with silver gray fur, which I was told was rare. Just there was a small problem, what should I call the little fellow? For some reason we went for Samstag, which means Saturday in German.

Samstag was an adventurous hamster. He took an airplane across the atlantic with a service called “pet air”. I don’t think that my mother imagined that having a hamster would be such a huge budget. We retrieved him in the Cargo terminal at Philadelphia’s International airport, which went for hours. But we had a great laugh, as the guy who was meant to get Samstag, used a forklift to do so. He came back with Samstag inside his cat travel cage on his lap (they did not trust the hamster friendly travel cage we had brought ourselves, and made us purchase a cat travel cage).

Samstag was a runner, his wheel was big and had to be oiled well, after all he was working out all night long in my bedroom. He didn’t live to move back to Europe, he was buried in the flower bed surrounding the back porch of the house we lived in.


Years later, whilst living in Lille with S, we liked to go to the local Zoo. Lille has the only free Zoo in France. And you can see some cool animals there, such as Kookaburras, Zebras, a fishing cat (a cat that likes water and swims…), snow owls (yes, like Hedwig). The snow owls even had babies one year. And then there were these giant hamsters or guinea pigs. First time that I saw them I could not believe my eyes, I was seeing a giant Samstag. Turns out that in Lille’s zoo they had some Capybaras. Capybaras are the worlds largest rodents. I so wanted to take one home, but I think that my apartment would have been trashed in no time. From my point of view, they were so cute and cuddly, their utter laziness did probably help.

Here are some photos (which I am hosting on flickr) that I took of the Capybaras, the quality of the photos isn’t the best, but that was with my iPhone 3GS.



I was kindly nominated by Ula and Gulara to participate in the Five Photos Five Stories Challenge, thank you. I really recommend that you check out both blogs if you have not done so yet. I met Ula through the A to Z challenge, and she hosts a wonderful series called Monday Inspirations, thanks to this series I got acquainted with Gulara.

I recommend that you read this post by Gulara, and this post by Ula.

Now I would like to invite the guinea pigs of George’s Guinea Pig World to participate. They sprang to mind as I often enjoyed their posts during the A to Z challenge, and as todays pictures are all about rodents. I must admit, I only hit the follow button over there today. But better late than never.

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!

17 thoughts on “The giant hamster

  1. I loved this post, Solveig, your story-telling ability is amazing. I hang onto every word about your childhood pet and your future encounters with rodents. And many thanks for giving a shout out about my blog – much appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Gulara, I cherish each and every comment of yours, they are so motivating and inspiring 🙂
      I have been digging in my memory to tell nice stories. And I am happy to see that they are appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so happy to have met you through the A-to-Z Challenge. I’m catching up on reading your posts and having the loveliest time! First, because I had two gerbils, and later a Peruvian guinea pig when I was a child. Pets that might make me uncomfortable now, but I loved then. But also, I love the photo of two elder ladies. It’s gorgeous. And I also love Calvin and Hobbes (as well as your colorful signature). I hope you’ll keep posting photos and stories; it’s a nice series!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! You are one of those motivating and inspiring commenters I have!
      I am glad that you are enjoying it, it has been purely improvised, but has been a lot of fun!


  3. I have to say I am not a fan of rodents of any type, but I enjoyed your story. If I saw the Capybaras at the zoo, my first thought would not be to take them home. I love all animals, but some I prefer to love at a distance.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha, I so wanted to pet them, but they didn’t want to come up to us. I went back many times. Many animals in the zoo were there as they had been illegally imported, and others were there as they were on preservation programmes (rhinoceros springs to mind).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Samstag is such a cute name. I remembered what it meant from the very little German I learned with my phrasebook while visiting Berlin. 😀
    I had a hamster when I was little. Her name was Betty. I’m starting to think they are not the best pets for young kids… they live so little…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you, they have a short life expectancy, have to live in cages and then they are only active at night. You don’t really get to enjoy your pet.
      He didn’t even suffer a jetlag… Because I was counting on him being active by day after the move.


  5. Capybaras look awfully 🙂 familiar to me. I am wondering if I have seen them in South America?? along a river’s edge in Bolivia at one time. Will need to look it up. I loved rodents (when they were controlled in my house) when I was younger … but less so now when I find them roaming in my house of their own free will… have had my share of problems with the invasion of mice who seem to love everywhere I live!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I had some my first year of Uni, they were in the student housing and showed up in the kitchen!!! Just claimed through the window, and whatever wholes they could find. Not pretty!
          Then I had a mouse in one of our apartments, I think it was living in the roof, it would come out at night and try to steal stuff from the garbage. We put up a trap, and it never got caught, it was too smart. We sometimes heard it slam shut, but no mouse inside and no more cheese. Well it would have made me feel really bad to see a dead mouse…

          Liked by 1 person

I won't bite, seriously!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.