My Brother’s Menagerie: In Which my Little Brother Flexes his Creative Muscles (and Something About Pets that aren’t Dogs or Cats)

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My brother is a crafty, creative genius. Long before Etsy was a thing, my brother was hand-making jewelry, whipping up delicious creations in the kitchen and helping me build the most elaborate indoor forts known to man.

Most recently, he’s been found hand-making hamster cages.

Hamstervision: Homemade Hamster Cages and Other Pet Palaces
My hamster spent his entire life trying to create his own condo in my dresser. My brother turned an old television into a hamster apartment so his didn’t have to. He called it “Hamstervision.”

We grew up with hamsters. We started with a gerbil named Axel Rose, followed by a hamster named Jon Bon Jovi. The string of hamsters in our lives ended with my little furry lover, Romeo, who ironically ended his own life by trying to escape his cage, Houdini-style.

My brother’s menagerie was always a little more exotic than mine, though.

  • The chameleon that I may have terrified into losing it’s tail… (Seriously, this was the most horrifying thing on the planet. My brother told me to hold the damn thing by its tail…so I did…and the next thing I knew, I was holding a tail…but no chameleon).
  • The sickly turtle that couldn’t get used to living in a terrarium, even under a heat lamp. It was part rescue mission/part lost cause.
  • The hamster that we mated with our cousin Rachel’s hamster…who proceeded to eat all of the babies (Rachel’s hamster, not my brother’s hamster…or Rachel.)
  • The cannibalistic snail that ate my snail…and my replacement snail – jerk.
  • The pair of hermit crabs that lived in various seashells in the short time we had them.
  • The spunky dalmatian that was born in a thunderstorm and captured all of our hearts (including the old-man dog and old-man cat that dominated our household zoo).
  • The frogs that I apparently have zero recollection of whatsoever (but my brother assures me that they existed).

You can see, he’s always been quite the animal lover. Me?

Okay, fine. I loved animals too.

I haven’t had my own pet since Sammy Fish (my finned college bestie, who hated car-travel but had to suck it up at least four times a year). And according to Brian, I won’t have one for quite some time. Sad face Although we have discussed our very own exotic menagerie…and maybe a bunny named Bunnicula.

My brother, on the other hand, has had a string of delightful pets, including several hamsters and my newest little furry nephew, Biscuit the Hedgehog.

Biscuit the Hedgehog
Biscuit the Hedgehog – My spiky nephew currently lives in a cage built out of storage cubes

Whenever my brother gets a new pet, he feels the need to really create a home for it. But those store-bought cages just don’t do it for him. So he BUILDS HIS OWN PET PALACES. He builds cool toys for them to play with. He basically does some crazy juju magic to create these genius inspired homes for his fur babies. I absolutely adore him.

homemade hamster cages
Roxxi the Hamster lives in this china-cabinet-turned-hamster-palace. Note the details…like the cork cabin and the cork bridge.

So there you have it, my friends.

My brother is a creative genius and has the coolest pets around. With the coolest pet palaces around.

Would you build unique homes for your pets? Do you have any cool pets? Do you have any ridiculously crazy pet stories? Am I the only person in the world who de-tailed a chameleon?

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35 Responses

    1. ME TOO! I wanted my brother to write about it FOREVER ago…and then he was like “nah…” So when he built the last cage, I made him send me all the pictures. Apparently, he just wanted me to write about him again.

  1. Your frogs remind me of our iguana. Somehow it came up a few years ago while I was talking with my brother, and he didn’t believe me that we used to have one. He called up our parents to see if I was lying. Granted, I’m not sure exactly when we got rid of it (or if it died… I don’t even remember), but he would have been 6 at the absolute oldest, so I guess it’s not too surprising.

    But I’m definitely a dog/cat person. Smaller furry pets can be cute, but I’d never want one of my own. And I just can’t get into reptiles or birds or fish or anything like that. My love is reserved for mammals.

    1. YES! It’s like this thing never existed in my head. And I have a ridiculous memory too, so that makes it extra unusual for me to not remember.

      I much prefer the snuggle of a dog/cat. I never dug having reptiles around, but I loved my little fishies… I always wanted a bird. Never had one though.

  2. I love the hamster palace! I always feel bad for the little guys when they only get a boring “studio apt” to live out their lives. Looks like he really enjoys his pets!

  3. I have so much to say!
    I love your new site. Are you using Jetpack for comments? Awesome.
    I like the new design FA REAL.
    I’ve been planning an Aussa Pet Cemetery post for a while. By “planning” I mean occassionally thinking about it, but this brought up so many dark memories….. hmmmm…. oh, the dark ones are the most interesting.
    I also had a hamster named Romeo! We were obviously very clever little girls.

    1. Thanks! It’s still Jetpack; I haven’t gone to the CommentLuv (still gunshy…you know, even with a complete remodel)

      Thank you! I’m obsessed with it. My designer is a goddess (You KNOW I didn’t do all this magic).

      I feel like the Aussa Pet Cemetery is now an absolute necessity. Like can you post it tomorrow? Err…you know whenever.

      Yay for star-crossed hamsters! And super clever little ladies!

      1. You know… I had to deactivate Comment Luv because it wouldn’t work with Jetpack :-/ It wouldn’t notify people of replies and it made them fill out their info. SUCH a bummer :-/ I wish there were something like that which would actually work.

        1. That’s part of what I’m afraid of. I like Jetpack. I like that I can see comments up in my little WordPress bar whenever I’m on anyone’s WordPress blog too. So much convenience.

  4. Aww I had a bunch of pets as a kid. A cat named Simon (totally named after one of the Chipmunks) but we had to give him to a friend because my mom was allergic. I had an evil white Bunny that chewed on the legs of my mom’s antique dining room table. Eventually she got very aggressive and used to bite so she ended up on a friends farm. I had 2 hamsters that simply died of old age and a bunch of goldfish. Once I was an adult I had the most awesome fish ever named Homer (as in The Illiad, not The Simpson) who was murdered by a second fish I brought home that was apparently sick. Once I moved out on my own I got my furbaby Jasper who technically is a cat but in his little brain he’s a North American House Panther.

    That hamster tv is AWESOME. I am so not that handy but have been known to knit Jasper toys.

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