Berio was a Herculean hamster with the balls of a Hobbit.
Berio was a banded black male, son of Bugoy and Bebang III, and belonging to the first litter of the 4th generations. Like Beria, his name was derived from the word Siberian because at his young age, he was very small. When he was nearly one month old, sexing was rather not so easy because not even a single testicle was visible. As he grew up, one — but only one — became visible, and this only showed up during warm weather.
Even though his single ball was small, Berio was no yellow. In fact he was the most fearless hamster I ever had. At maturity he was able to gain size and weight. I called him the bull hamster because of his big size.
As he mature, the other member of the pair (the other testicle) started to catch up. There was a time when I think I saw a third one beginning to show up, but I realized it was just a small swelling that soon went off by itself.
Berio was initially wary, yet very amiable. If he senses that someone is approaching his cage, he climbs up, stays near its door and puts his snout against it, waiting “in ambush” (Berio-bulaga). He does not wrestle with my hands if handled, but pushes my nose when I try to put it closer to his face; stares at me blankly when I talk to him, whiskers moving. He was the only hamster among the family who can tightly grasp my finger with his hind paws (as koala bears do). Berio always wanted to get out of his cage but immediately turns back home upon receiving his treat. He enjoys eating.
For Berio, hoarding a ‘cheekful’ of corn grains is not enough… he wants to take the whole thing – kernels and cob – to his home.
I have no idea why Berio suddenly got lethargic. I just remember I fed all the 12 hamsters some few drops of melted ice-cream that I was eating; then his father Bugoy got ill the following day, and Berio himself the next day. But his 26½ -month old hammie recovered.
Another thing I remember was, two days before the ice-cream, I mated him with his wife Mochahontas. Berio just got sick, and died five days after their honeymoon. Was he so much stressed by their arduous love affair? I don’t know. What I knew was before his wife was widowed, he was destined to be a father. For 11 days after he died, Mochahontas had given birth to his six beautiful posthumous offspring!
I observed simple ironies of life here.
Berio was born small but grew to an immense size at maturity to become the biggest hamster I ever had (his name was a misnomer).
He was big but he got small balls.
His balls were small but he was a brave hamster.
He was big and strong but his life was short (14 months and 28 days).
His balls were small but he fathered six hamsters — and mind you — he did it in just one hit!
Berio just proved that size doesn’t matter.