Little hamsters turned big Internet stars

SLEEP TIGHT: Mr Shen filmed Enoki being tucked into its tiny bed in this YouTube clip uploaded on New Year's Day.
Little hamsters turned big Internet stars

ON THE THRONE: Bunapi nibbling on food in this YouTube clip uploaded on Jan 24. Enoki and Bunapi are a pair of female winter white hamsters.
Little hamsters turned big Internet stars

WARM AND COMFY: Mushi, a male Syrian hamster, snuggling under a blanket as its owner pets its head in this YouTube clip uploaded on Feb 4.


    Sep 23, 2015

    Little hamsters turned big Internet stars

    MEET sisters Enoki and Bunapi, and their friend Mushi.

    They have become online stars, thanks to a YouTube video that has scored more than 1.5 million views worldwide.

    They were even featured on Right This Minute, an American TV show that features viral videos, and 9gag, a popular website which showcases funny photos and videos.

    In case you are wondering, Enoki and Bunapi are a pair of female winter white hamsters, and Mushi is a male Syrian hamster.

    Their journey to fame began on New Year's Eve last year after their Singaporean owner, Jaieden Shen, 30, filmed Enoki being tucked into its tiny bed.

    In the video, when he stops petting the hamster, it wakes up and looks at him, waiting for him to continue before it goes back to sleep.

    Mr Shen uploaded the video on New Year's Day and titled it "Tucking my hamster in her tiny bed but she'll only sleep after getting a massage!"

    He did not expect the response that followed. The next morning, the video had garnered thousands of views.

    Within the first week, it had received 100,000 views and by the end of the first month, the views had hit a million and went on to reach 1.5 million views.

    Soon after, Mr Shen uploaded another video on his Facebook account, showing Enoki eating a piece of Chinese cabbage on her hammock. It garnered over a million views within days.

    Mr Shen, who works at a non-governmental organisation, told The New Paper: "It was so unexpected. I was humbled but thrilled at the same time.

    "I was like a daddy who's super proud of his children's 'achievements'. I don't see them as pets, they are literally my 'fur babies'."

    Since Jan 1, he has uploaded 29 videos on YouTube featuring his hamsters doing human-like things, such as lying on a hamster-sized hammock, sitting on a miniature toy toilet bowl and lying on a couch. The videos average about 80,000 views each.

    Jeffrey Lim, 37, general manager of digital agency Carbon Interactive, said that videos with emotional appeal such as humour, entertainment or good causes tend to gain the most views.

    Videos that are uploaded from Wednesday to Friday and last about a minute also have a higher chance of going viral.

    Said Mr Lim: "For this video, the high views are due to the cuteness of what the hamsters are doing. Just like cat videos, they relate to many people who love these animals."

    Mr Shen also buys doll's houses and toy tree houses for his hamsters. He can spend up to two days buying, cleaning and setting up their homes.

    He sometimes uses aquarium accessories - one in his hamster homes features a sunken submarine.

    He said: "I would usually have a theme for my hamsters' playpen and get things revolving around an idea."

    One house, for example, is like a doll's house, with miniature furniture such as a microwave oven, hammock and bathtub.

    Mr Shen also has a dog and cat, but says that his hamsters are his favourite pets.

    He said: "Their charming, curious and contented personalities can keep me entertained and captivated for hours."

    Mr Shen, who has kept hamsters since he was 10, said he puts in the extra effort with his hamsters because of their short lifespan of about two years.

    Also, he feels encouraged by the positive comments on his videos.

    One netizen with the username Bradley Mark, who posted a comment on YouTube, said: "This video made my normal life turn into hamster addiction."