Adjusting Spätzli’s internal clock

When Daylight Savings Time began just days ago, it became very difficult to even see my little guy. He would start coming out at 1.30 am, which would be impossible for me to manage in the long run. I was worried, unsure of what to do.

Spätzli

Yesterday, I decided to wake up earlier to see him before he retreats to his bed. I got up at 8am on the dot, and there he was, running on his wheel. I took him out, got some photos, fed him his treats. I noticed that he hardly ate the vegetables and nuts, instead storing them in his pouches. He was also too excited or in a hurry for some reason; He didn’t want to sit still. It was basically no fun seeing him before he went to bed.

I did notice one other thing. I opened up my curtains to let some light in, and after I locked his cage doors, he gathered some dry food, had a drink and then went into his burrow for the day. The bright daylight signalled to him that it was time for bed. So… I figured this was how I could train him to get up earlier at night. My brown curtains were always closed until I woke up; They must have been too dark all along.

Spätzli's home updated

Since he went to bed early after I opened the curtains, he got out earlier at night, more in line with the time he used to wake up. Success! Last night, I opened up my curtains just before I went to bed. I think this is the only way to get him up earlier, but I’m now happy there’s a trick to this. Hopefully, he’ll soon even wake up before midnight.

Drinking Spätzli

Spätzli the Hamster

As you know by now, we have a hamster!
We originally wanted to have mice, so they could fit into the smaller Ferplast cages. However, we could not find any mice to adopt. It is not a pet that is popular in Zurich. We even looked for breeders, but there were none. So, we chose the next best: a Syrian hamster. They live alone, which is a plus. Even though I wanted a pet, I didn’t want to be overrun like before.

Originally, I wanted to get one from a breeder, but I have no idea why we ended up choosing from a pet store instead. It was probably impatience! I did not know he was not tamed, until I saw him try to bite the shop assistant’s hand. Oops…. but it was too late to change our minds. We adopted Spätzli on 4th February, and had to work hard to get him to trust us, or rather, me. I deal with him the most. 😀 He is black and white with short hair, and he was already 7 weeks old at the time of adoption.

Spätzli the hamster

At first, the very sound of my voice scared him. Then, changes in my voice scared him. After that, my angry voice scared him when he bit me. He slowly got used to me, but still didn’t like being picked up. I bribed him with treats of fresh veggies and almond pieces, and only gave them to him when he sat on my hands. If he did not let me hold him, there would be no treats.

Late night excursion

Fast forward five weeks, and we have one tamed little cutie that really has an odd schedule. He would only get up after 12 midnight, and would be in bed by 8.30 in the morning. Since I am no early riser, I wait until after midnight to see him. I change his dry food and water just before midnight, so these noises wake him up gently. If I have to do some cleaning of his cage, I would wake him up earlier by lifting his house. It’s evil and I don’t like doing it, but I cannot clean his place at 12 in the morning! It’s a good thing he doesn’t really soil his home like rats and mice would. I just need to change his tissue paper bedding and perhaps scoop out a bit of his litter. He is the cleanest pet I have ever had.

Spätzli's new interior. Such a fun space now! He has a new bigger house too.

That brings me to the topic of his litter. I did some reading, and found that using soil is very effective in cutting down smells. Others have tried it with good results. The soil absorbs urine and masks smells, just like in nature. Of course one can’t use garden soil because of all the insects and fertilisers present. What I use is compressed soil blocks you can get at the reptile section of the pet store. I used Plantation Soil by Exo Terra. I expanded the bricks with water, then partially dried off the soil by airing some in broad, shallow containers. Baking would be faster and better since it also kills insects and germs, but it requires much more work, and you could potentially end up with a dirty oven. I give my little guy a lice, mite and worm treatment, so I’m not too troubled by simply air-drying the soil. I also mix his soil litter with bark and wood chips, which seems to work fine too.

We also got a Wodent Wheel for him, which he absolutely loves. He uses it every night after our play time. He is a pro runner!

New wodent wheel for Spätzli

Playing the guinea pigI also give him back rubs while he lays on my lap. He loves it! It’s so fun to see him stretch, yawn and grind his teeth while on my lap.
In the above photo, you can see he has the cutest little lower jaw which is white, while the rest of his head is black. To me, this makes him look like a little guinea pig! <3

Here is one last flattering midnight photo of Spätzli, but not so flattering for me:

SpätzliI find it too cute when he looks at my phone while I take pictures! He’s become quite photogenic after only a short time.

 

Day 10: Twelve Days Xmas Swop

Day 10! I am just a few minutes behind in posting… I went from having 2 posts scheduled in advance to writing it on the day itself!

Day 10: Twelve Days Xmas Swop

Day 10: Twelve Days Xmas Swop

On Day 10, Samantha got me a pretty black and white clipboard with notepad! I haven’t bought one of these in years, so I’m glad to have gotten one today, and a very pretty one too.

Clipboard and notepad

The ribbon is so lovely. I pushed it upwards to cover the clip, so I can still use the notepad with the ribbon on!

Day 10: Twelve Days Xmas Swop Day 10: Twelve Days Xmas Swop

I am pretty silly for not opening the envelope of photographs first, I know 😛
The left photo shows the back of the notepad and the photographed clue.

Pattern that goes all the way :D

Each sheet has the sweet flower pattern on the side. I find these notepads too precious to use, but I really have to change my ways. I used to hoard notepads when I was a child, finding them too nice to waste, but in the end I gave them away because I just had too many and they were already 20 years old and spotty. That will teach me to use things while they are nice and fresh.

Thank you again Samantha! You are a very experienced gift giver, a whole lot better than I am. 😀

12 Days of Christmas Swop, hosted by Juanita and Chloe. I’m Chloe’s Santa! Check out her Wasted Fashion Facebook Page to see the gifts I gave her.