My name is Emma, but I more commonly go by 'Em'. I was born in August of '97, in north Dublin, Ireland and I can't remember a time of not having pets in my life. I was born to animal mad parents, and was subsequently raised with three rescued cats - and so it should be no surprise that I grew up to become the animal lover I am.
It may surprise you however to hear that I was not always a lover of all animals, specifically rodents, ironically. In fact, I was terrified of them for the first 10 years of my life, with rats being my #1 fear. I attribute this fear to my lack of exposure to rodents as a young child, with added stereotypes surrounding these species on top of this. Something changed the day my parents brought me to a library to pick out some books to keep me occupied on a plane journey; they booked a holiday to Menorca, and growing up with no access to technology, I was an avid bookworm - so giving me a book would keep me quiet. It was there that I stumbled across a book titled "The World According to Humphrey", and the bright red book accompanied with the adorable photo of a hamster on the front had my 10 year old heart captivated.
I would spend the next few weeks reading every book on hamsters available in the library, and pestering my poor parents to allow me to get a Humphrey of my own in the meantime. They agreed, but told me I had to wait until we came home from holidays. I stubbornly agreed to wait, and put half the money relatives had given me as spending money for our trip into a savings jar for my future hamster. I would then spent the next few weeks looking forward to our holiday being over, and spent the entire two weeks of our holiday in a beautiful, sunny paradise wanting to go home to dull & rainy Ireland so that I could finally get my hamster. We had an early flight at 8am, and so my parents had been up all night getting organised for the journey home - they were exhausted, and I still dragged them to the pet shop to get my hamster that same day. I picked out a female long haired honey Syrian hamster and named her the only name I deemed fitting; Humphrey.
With a brief one year period from 2012-2013, hamsters have been a part of my life ever since and have led me to keeping many other rodent, and non-rodent, species as pets over the years (yes, rats included!) and excluding hamsters, I'm currently a proud servant to a leopard gecko, african pygmy hedgehog, a pair of rabbits, a dog, & a cat and if I'm not spending my days researching hamsters, I spend my days researching the other species I keep instead. It was in 2013 with a syrian hamster named Chester that I discovered hamster forums, and realised just how outdated care books were. While I had researched prior to getting my first hamster, I did not research in the right place. Even with Chester, it wasn't too long before I was questioning why x standards this forum encouraged were the way they were, and it quickly became apparent to me that all standards were just based on what the average person was willing to provide, and weren't necessarily a reflection of the hamsters needs. This questioning of standards only intensified as I got older, and I quickly grew frustrated with forums and their lack of willingness to change to cater more to the animals, as I felt it was misleading to owners to make them believe that the standards encouraged had really anything to do with improving the quality of their hamsters lives in captivity. So, I took my passion to instagram; where I could share info without censorship or having to be subjected to approval by an admin - but without the highlight feature being available at the time, my info posts quickly became buried and with the caption limit, just weren't as informative as I wanted them to be. Someone suggested I make a blog... and so I did.
I do not claim perfection (though I believe my hamsters to be), and I will never claim to be an expert. I am simply a proud, self-proclaimed hamster nerd with a passion for hamsters, and this is simply my place to share my findings in the hopes it makes your hamster journey easier, and helping you provide your hamster with the best life possible in captivity with standards that reflect what is most appropriate for them and with standards that reflect the 21st century, while still keeping those standards reasonable to keep them achievable by the average person. I call this blog my passion project, and it is fueled by my passion & compassion for one of the most overlooked and neglected animals in the pet trade. If you wish to share my content (such as for translating, etc.) you are more than free to do so, all I ask is that you please give credit where credit is due. This applies to educational use only. You may not use any of my content for monetary gain. Pictures of mine may also not be used without expressed permission regardless of intent.
'Coco' was a algerian grey snowflake pinto African Pygmy Hedgehog I
rescued in November, 2018. Her old owners kept her in a 30cm x 30cm
glass tank in front of a radiator, with nothing more than a hide and some food and water dishes. When they decided to move, they no longer had time for her and I offered to take her in. She came to me at the age of 7 months old, and enjoyed a free range lifestyle where she had a 3 x 2 'C&C' cage with a doorway cut out of the base for her to come and go as she pleased (this was to give her her own space with her supplies, including heat lamp, that was free for any other animals scent, i.e. the hamsters), and lived a life perhaps some humans would be envious of; accompanying us on various hiking trips all over Ireland. Coco was my writing companion, and sat snuggled in my neck while I wrote the majority of these blog posts. She was my adored study buddy, best blog supervisor (albeit a major distraction), and ultimately my most treasured spikey potato in the whole world. Her life was tragically cut short upon a cancer diagnosis in October of 2019 and despite multiple surgeries and treatment, after fighting recurrence after recurrence, had to be peacefully put to sleep after a bravely fought battle shortly before her 3rd birthday on April 9th 2021.
Many of these blog posts were written in Coco's company, and I feel it is only right to acknowledge perhaps the best supervisor I have ever had.
Rest easy, Co. I will love and miss you forever.