Hamstercaching, a little known branch of geocaching has been around for a few years now. When our interest was piqued earlier this year we were shocked to find that there were no Hamstercaches within an 8 hour drive of home so after several months of extensive research and experimentation we feel we are ready to finally bring Hamstercaching to Scotland.
There are many considerations which need to be taken into account.
Air: We initially tried setting the cache with a common syrian hamster however their breathing rate is much to high to sustain life for more than 4 days in a partly filled 1 litre box. We attempted this several times using different cache sizes and although one could last almost a week in a 1.5 litre container, we were disappointed at a mortality rate of only 18 hours in 350ml container. It wasn't a pleasant experience opening the smaller boxes after our 3 week holiday even with the pure oxygen suppy in the box. We have finally created a cross-breed hamster, the slow breathing Cricetinae Scubii , which can hoard its oxygen supply in glands along the length of its back giving an estimated 8-10 weeks before requiring an air change. Please however give the hamsters a few minutes to breathe in the fresh air when opening the cache.
Temperature: Only certain varieties of hamsters can survive for any time below 0°C even with their furry little bodies so we have had to choose varieties carefully. Luckily several lesser known varieties of hamster will go into a hibernation state when the temperature reaches approx 5°C so by experimenting with these varieties we have solved the problem of the long Scottish winters. This solution has a secondary plus point - when these hamsters hibernate they enter a state of suspended animation thereby allowing them to survive for up to 5 years instead of the normal 2. We believe that on a high mountain, with snow on the peak until late in the year, a hamstercache could sustain a single hamster for up 7 or 8 years.
Sustenance: Due to the hamsters normal behaviour, they will hoard food within their pouches (the name hamster is derived from the German word hamstem meaning to hoard) ensuring that they always have a supply of nutrients. We estimate that condensation created by their breathing should ensure they have enough water to sustain them although if you find the cache on a rainy day, please try and let the hamsters drink some of the fresh water readily available.
Amusement: We have found that hamsters by nature prefer to spend their time in dark, enclosed spaces so by filling their cache with information leaflets, logbook etc we have managed to cram them into as small a space as possible and therefore making them as comfortable as they would be if out in the wild. In fact when in the wild hamsters will burrow and live underground so this hamstercache is creating as natural environment as possible therefore letting these tame hamsters live safely and happily.
Reproduction: We believe that hamsters kept in such ideal conditions will be only too happy to do what hamsters do best. We are therefore attempting to create here the first ever self-sustaining hamstercache with hopefully a good supply of young hamsters through the busy summer months for those cachers wishing to create their own hamstercaches. The resident hamsters Kate (female) and Suffa (male) have been specially selected to produce only the best young hamsters who with minimal training will be suitable to move straight into a new lock and lock box. The breeding season for hamsters lasts between April and October so if searching for the hamstercache during these months would you please discretely cough before picking up the cache to give the Suffa & Kate some warning of your approach.
Obviously we have had to give Suffa and Kate an extensive training programme to ensure they they are up to the demands of a hamstercache hamster (It's not just any hamster that can live for months on end in a small plastic box with only its mate for company). We ask that these hamsters are not swapped out of the cache, however they are friendly little hamsters who enjoy human interaction. Please post photographs of you with the hamsters so we can be happy in the knowledge that they are living full and happy lives. There are several information leaflets in the cache giving more information on hamstercaching - please take one.
Warning!! - a film canister is not suitable for a hamstercache - not only are they not waterproof (nobody wants a cold, wet sneezing hamster as a swap do they?) but it is possible for the hamster to gnaw through the softer plastic lids.
Cache is a 1.5 litre hamster cage with lock tabs for hamster security. No swaps although there are hamstercaching information leaflets to take away.
For more information on hamstercaching please see:
**Mega Scotland does not endorse this cache or accept responsibility for any hamsters contained within.**