What do you do if you notice a hairless animal who seems to be chilly? In the case of Silky the hairless hamster, an OHS employee decided to crochet her a tiny sweater to help her stay warm. *Oct. 24 update below – Silky has been adopted!*
Silky came to OHS when her family found they had to move and could not continue to care for Silky. They brought her to OHS, where she is now receiving excellent care from staff and volunteers, who fell in love with this sweet little hamster.
Silky is about one year old, and is hairless by birth. She does have short, curly whiskers on her snout, but is otherwise hairless with soft, sensitive skin.
“Silky is hairless due to a genetic mutation,” said Diana Gabaldon, OHS staffer. “While she isn’t fluffy like a normal hamster, she is just as cuddly and playful as any other hamster. She does need to be kept in a heated environment, especially during the winter, and have a higher protein diet to keep her warm.”
When OHS Animal Care Technician Selene Mejia saw Silky huddled in the corner of her cage, she felt bad for the little hamster, and decided she had to do something about it. She crocheted a tiny sweater for Silky, sized just right to help her stay cozy.
For now, Silky spends the majority of her time “au naturale” in a warm, clean habitat, with fresh bedding, food and water, and a wheel to run on. She only wears the sweater for special occasions.
All animals that come to OHS receive health checks from our veterinary and animal care teams. When Silky arrived at OHS, it was found that she had an infection in one eye. OHS animal care staff are treating the infection with medicated ointment for five days.
It is expected that, following this treatment, Silky will be available for adoption the week of Oct. 24.
Oct. 24, 2016 Update: Silky has been adopted!
This weekend, Matthew Sears of SE Portland was reading BBC News online when he came across Silky’s story. He was ready to add a pet to his life, and called OHS right away. Sears’ timing was perfect, as Silky was just being made available for adoption.
He went straight to OHS and met Silky, and it was a match. He reports that “Silky likes people and is super friendly and outgoing.” The two of them feel right at home together: Matthew is also “hair-challenged,” and he jokes that he imagined Silky would say, “There’s Daddy!” when they first met.
Sears added, “I had a wonderful experience visiting the shelter. If anyone ever feels bad they should visit there and meet all the happy people. Even if I had not adopted, it was a good experience, there was so much love.”
Silky went home with a care package including her habitat and, of course, her tiny sweater for those special occasions.
All OHS adopters are encouraged to share updates on their adopted pets with the tag #OHSpets on social media.
Photos of Silky
Learn more about the care of hairless hamsters here »
More information about adopting from OHS »