Before we go any further, I must confess that this particular challenge brings up a little post-traumatic stress of sorts. When I was about nine years old, I begged my parents for a pet until they finally agreed to get me a hamster. We went to the pet store, and my mom insisted that we get a male, so there would be no danger of unwanted procreation. So I picked out a lovely little camel-colored guy who we took home and named Spike. We got all of the requisite accessories, including the plastic hamster ball so Spike could run around to his heart's content throughout the house. One fateful night not long after Spike had come to live with us, my mom accidentally left the door to the cellar open and Spike rolled right down the stairs in his plastic ball. He seemed dazed, but otherwise fine. The next day I came home from school and ran up to my room to see him, as I was wont to do. It was there that I had discovered that Spike was in fact a female, and had thirteen little hamster babies in the cage with her, six of whom she was EATING. Yes, people, my hamster was thrown into premature labor from a tumble down the stairs in her ball, and I got to witness exactly how fucked up nature is at a very tender age. Hamster balls kill!
Spike never really took to being a mother. I think she was just too young. She would run like a crazy person on her little wire wheel, sometimes flipping the babies all the way around if they got too close. (Eventually we got wise and got her a solid plastic wheel.) And once we got the yellow plastic Habitrail tubes and accompanying tower/loft she'd escape up there whenever possible and just chill out and fling her turds everywhere in her depression. When the babies got old enough, we gave them to the pet store with the exception of one -- a delightful little chipmunk beauty named Cupcake. When giving up the babies at the pet store I got so sad that my mom was bamboozled into buying me another female hamster (a fabulous gray angora whom I would groom with a Barbie brush) who promptly bit me when we got home and was thus dubbed "Jaws." We dumped her into the cage with the others, and the next day I came home to find Jaws just humping the life out of Cupcake. Yes, believe it, Jaws was a male. Cupcake had thirteen babies, thus perpetuating the cycle of hamster teen pregnancy while Spike looked on with judgment and dismay. It was a lot like Precious, except with sunflower seeds instead of chicken. The point of all of this is for the love of God do not defund Planned Parenthood! If Spike had access to free counseling and birth control, we all could have avoided a real tragedy. Also, the teenagers who work at your local pet store know absolute shit so you should do a little research yourself, or else risk your fourth grader asking you a lot of questions about hamster cannibalism.