The Peanut Perimeter

Animals are dumb sometimes.

And Barry thinks ours are the dumbest of all.  I’m not sure I agree with that, but I see his point, because they sure do some dumb and crazy things sometimes.  Far too many to mention here!

But then again, their small brains often allow them to do things that we humans only wish we could… if only we could stop thinking about the drawbacks of it.

Last night our hamster, Mars, escaped from his cage for the second time.

The first time, he just worked and worked at the cage door, and eventually pushed it right open.  I found him the next morning hiding behind some books on the bottom shelf of one of my bookcases.

See, his cage is in my office, and I keep the door closed at night… so even though he had chewed away some bits of carpet in an attempt to get out of the room, apparently he couldn’t dig a hole big enough to squeeze under the door… so he found the most convenient hiding spot.

Why did he do it?

Because unlike us, he’s not confined to his comfort zone…

Apparently animals don’t second-guess what’s going to happen if they take a certain action.

They just do what they want to do in the moment, always searching for something bigger and better than what they have now.

So as soon as Barry and I discovered him missing again this morning (yes, he somehow undid the plastic twist tie that had been holding the cage door shut, and pulled it off into his cage before pushing open the door again), I was pretty sure I knew where he had gone.

After all, people follow the same patterns and routines all the time, so why not hamsters?

I figured he would have gone for the same spot again, so I immediately looked there.

But no Mars.

So I looked everywhere else in the room he could possibly have been… behind all the books, under the computer, inside the storage drawers… everywhere. But I didn’t find him.

I of course noticed that he had chewed the carpet again, and left behind big wads of fluff near the door… but could he have possibly made it out of the room this time?

Well, crap!  If he had made it as far as the master bathroom just down the hall, there was an open floor vent, and he could have crawled right into the forced air system.

And if he had made it to the kitchen, he could have crawled into the space behind the dishwasher… or he could have gone the other way, and be living among the books and papers in the library (sure to soon become a pile of chewed-up bedding).

So after researching a bit on the internet about how other people had managed to round up escaped hamsters, I decided to narrow down what room he was in by placing peanuts at various spots.

Yup, every room had peanuts in their shells placed strategically around the edges… near holes, or just places where I could remember them, so if I came back to a pile of shells or even a missing peanut, I would know that Mars was nearby.

Then Barry laughed at my “Peanut Perimeter”, and suggested I write this blog post about the parallels between people and animals, and how we all think and act.  Obviously I thought it was a good idea! 😉

I was just unsure, at the time, how it was all going to play out.

Of course, since hamsters are nocturnal, I knew he wouldn’t touch any until evening or even after dark.  But when I came back into my office after dinner, I saw it right away… a peanut was missing!

That meant he was in my office after all, and had never left.

How was that possible when I had looked everywhere he possibly could have been?

I don’t know… apparently he’s a much better hider than I ever thought.  But now he was just cowering under my desk, and I was able to scoop him up and put him back in his cage.

And yes, the door now has one of Barry’s mini padlocks on it! 😉

So while hamsters need to be kept in their cage for their own safety and survival, it doesn’t mean they don’t have an adventuring spirit inside them.

If they can escape from their comfort zone, and be smart enough not to repeat the same patterns that put them back inside before… what can we learn from that?

Well, being an adventurous person who wants to learn, grow, develop and achieve bigger and better things means getting out sometimes… going for a wander sometimes… exploring what we’ve never experienced before sometimes.

We can always come back… but it’s important to know what’s out there first, so we can make the right decisions.

Decision-making is the one skill the poor little hamster doesn’t seem to have, which is why he can’t be left to his own devices the way we can.

But in the meantime, the little explorer can run around the whole place in his hamster ball.  Adventure with a safety net… perfect for hamsters, and often for people, too.

Your safety net is your ability to come back home, any time you choose to.

Keep Unwrapping The Mysteries of Life!

Heather Vale

One comment to “The Peanut Perimeter”
One comment to “The Peanut Perimeter”
  1. It is true that people usually second-guess what’s going to happen if they take a certain action, and that’s why they usually don’t take it. It would be much better for us to just do what we want to in the moment, even if it means leaving our comfort zone, assuming that it wouldn’t hurt ourselves or others. That sounds like a good strategy to me. I guess people usually do repeat the same behavior patterns that put them back inside their comfort zone (they give up too quickly for one thing). It is very true that you need to know what all your options are, which you will never learn by “staying home”, in order to choose the best one. It is a releif to know that we can indeed come back home if that turns out to be the best option.

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