HAMSTERS JUST GOTTA HAVE FUN! Crops of Their Very Own—and a “Hamster Hotel” for Wannabes

A pesky little rodent from a small enclave in eastern France has nibbled its way into the hearts of the European Court of Justice—and the French government had better protect them, or else!

I’m talking here about the Alsatian hamster, a 10-inch bundle of fur that has been having a tough time in France’s rich farmland, especially since farmers began growing summer corn.  Planted later in the year, the cornfields yielded no seeds for the hamsters when they woke from their winter hibernation in the spring.

Long considered pests, the hamsters were trapped and poisoned by farmers until the early 1990s, when they were listed as an endangered species.  Expanding population centers had encroached on their breeding grounds and resting places, and their burrows along the river were destroyed.

So in 2008, the European Court demanded that the French government step in to protect the hamsters.  One approach was to encourage farmers to grow winter crops and alfalfa, so that the rodents would find plenty of seeds on which to feast when they awoke from their winter naps.  To this end, the French government ended subsidies to growers who produced summer-ripening maize.

But alas, this wasn’t enough!  Although the population of hamsters in Alsace increased threefold in the past few years, this progress was too little for the European Court, which threatens to impose stiff fines if decisive action isn’t taken to boost the hamster population.

So the furry little guys will be protected, even nurtured, in France—the same country which developed mifepristone (RU486, the “French abortion pill”) in 1980 to enable French women to kill their preborn children in the comfort of their homes.

It boggles the mind.

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In another [related] development, I thought you’d like this article about the “Hamster Hotel.”  Located in Nantes, France, the hotel offers guests the opportunity to become a hamster for a  day—playing in a human-sized hamster wheel, sleeping in haystacks, even feeding on hamster grains.  All this for the bargain price of just 99 Euros a night.