Helping Hamsters Help You

In searching for new ways to generate power in an energy-efficient way, scientists should consider hiring hamsters to power homes and other buildings by the power created in their marathon-like endeavors of ‘running the wheel’!

Hamsters, and other rodents, have shown exceptional interest in running on wheels to help save our world and to create cleaner, more efficient energy to power homes. Here are some facts that rodents want you to know:

Fact #1: Hamsters prefer large wheels. According to Wikipedia, “Choice tests with Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) have shown that they prefer larger wheels; the animals chose a wheel diameter of 35 cm (14 in) over 23 cm (9 in), which itself was preferred over 17.5 cm (7 in).” Why not get the largest hamsters and the largest wheels and put them to work in the basements of our homes, generating energy?

Fact #2: Hamsters can run for a REALLY long time. Like other rodents, hamsters are extremely motivated to run in wheels. I’m not sure what the appeal is. Perhaps they have been watching ‘Rocky’ or ‘Chariots of Fire’ or they are trying to escape. But nevertheless, ‘it is not uncommon to record distances of 6 miles ran in one night. Other 24-h records include 26 mile for rats, 18.5 miles for wild mice, 11.5 miles for lemmings, (9.5 miles for laboratory mice, and 5 miles for gerbils.’ I guess the rats set the record, but they aren’t nearly as cute as hamsters, though I did have a pet albino rat named ‘Splinter’ growing up.

Fact #3: IT CAN BE DONE! Make Magazine made a generator from a mouse wheel – it’s enough to light an LED light – 2-3 volts. If the LED light uses 1 watt and you had, on average, 10 LED lights in your home, you would need only 10 hamsters to run in your home when you were there.

Fact #4: Hamsters need a home…and something to do. Its better than just hanging out in a cage, so put your hamsters to work and give them the exercise they need and the joy in knowing that they are contributing to a cleaner planet.

Fact #5: Hamsters don’t have to be the only one’s on a wheel. More and more ideas are out there about how human’s can generate energy to power their own products, like cellphone and iPods. According to the Washington Post:  “A new, knee-mounted device harvests energy from the end of a walker’s step, in the same way that hybrid-electric cars recycle power from braking. With a device on each leg, volunteers generated about 5 Watts of electricity, while using little additional energy. That’s enough power to run 10 cell phones at the same time, and twice the power needed for computers in developing regions.”

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