Saturday, January 06, 2007

Evil Hamsters

There are two kinds of hamsters. Good Hamsters are mellow and like being handled. As long as they're not abused, they're gentle.
Then there's Evil Hamsters. Attack Hamsters. The ones who think fingers are chew toys. Hold a treat in front of an Evil Hamster and he'll ignore it and bite you.
One I worked at a pet store. It was an animal-friendly* place where cages, water dishes and food bowls were scrubbed daily. Sick animals were treated by a vet. Even disabled creature s were cared for, even though they wouldn't sell. Only one creature wasn't welcome: Evil Hamster
I met my first one when I cleaned his cage. The other hamsters let me gently scoop them into a temporary cage, but Evil Hamster had other plans. He pierced my finger with his teeth and bit down, hard.
My boss saw the blood. Whenever he encountered an Evil Hamster, he explained, he let it go in an overgrown park behind the shop. Oddly, there were never Evil Rats or Evil Mice. Not even an Evil Guinea Pig. Just hamsters. Every few weeks a new one got the boot, joining his Evil brothers in the city wilderness.
The shop is long gone, but I wonder about those hamsters. Since only the nastiest of the nasty were let go, there's probably one vicious hamster colony in that park. Maybe they've got tougher and meaner over the generations. Do they ambush picnickers? Pounce on joggers and drag them to their death? The next time I have to drive by that park I think I'll take a detour. It'd be real embarrassing to have to explain to my insurance that a band of hamsters hijacked my car.
*Unlike many pet stores in the early 1990s, this one disliked puppy mills and refused to sell dogs. They sold a few kittens, but only unwanted ones from shelters.

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