Bakit isa, bakit dalawa?

Amboy (♂)Amboy (♂), his other side

Hamsters usually open their eyes when they are about two weeks old. When the Chochobebes were sent to us for the third time, Syma’s eyes were both open, but in case of Amboy, it was only one.

Amboy is my smallest and youngest hamster. He was then so thin and lanky and so nervous he was easily get startled. He was very uneasy and so paranoid whenever I handle him he even jumped from my hand.

Inside his cage, he has chosen to stay most of the time at the innermost corner, and very rarely did he play on the wheel. When he was playing, he was always ready to get back to his “comfort zone” whenever he felt some movement outside his cage.

At first I assumed that the opening of one eyelid was just delayed, or was inflicted by Syma’s attacks. When at last it opened, I saw a lifeless amber color that made me realize it was indeed blind: a congenital defect. It was my first time to see and own a one-eye-blind hamster.

As to the etymology of his name, the boy was first called by his former owner as “Spiderman” because of his agility to traverse the ceiling of his mother’s cage in a spider-like fashion. Later I called him by the Pinoy equivalent “Gagamboy” which later changed to “Dagang-boy” (little male rodent) to “Dagang-bulag” (blind mouse) to a sound as it was pronounced by a small child “Dagam-buyag” 😆 … Oedisige — Amboy na nga lang!

One-eyed Amboy

Amboy is eating his first tofu (tokwa) here. The cage is his mother’s which we decided to ‘buy back’ from Chocho’s owner. Amboy is the weaker one, so he inherited the cage.

At six months, maski medyo maliit pa rin ang built nya, tumaba-taba naman. Nabawasan din ang pagiging PRANING niya.

Click this for USAPANG PINOY: Bakit ISA, bakit DALAWA?

Published in: on 28 December 2007 at 6:00 pm  Comments (14)  
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Kulang sa pansin (Part 2)

Syma (♀)

Syma “sungit” 😆

When Syma and Amboy were sent to us for the last time, Syma couldn’t be restrained from harassing her helpless and nervous skinny little brother.

Hamsters, even the untamed ones, can be safely handled by the loose skin behind their neck. But for Syma any way of handling can be unsafe. Even if handled this manner, she has a nasty way of turning her head sideward and backward enabling her to bite my fingers. She is also able to use her paws to hold my hand and kick using her hind leg. Really nasty!

When inside her cage, she is always ready to bite any body part of an intruder — human or hamster alike, that gets its way close to her cage. Whenever she gets loose or escape from her cage, which happened more than once because she was chewing and had managed to make an exit, I had to scoop her up with a plyboard or with a box-cage.

Because of this trait, we named her Syma — short for Symantec, a powerful anti-virus PC software. Mabagsik! 😆

Hamsters tend to be unfriendly if they were not accustomed to handling — kulang sa himas, kulang sa pansin. They may not been handled as often as they should have been since they were young. This is a fact which is true in any other pets as well (and mind you — even in humans)

Grumpy Syma

This is what she does whenever I put her in this temporary enclosure while I am cleaning her cage in the evening. Hamsters do not want the smell of other hamsters except when a female is in heat.

At six months, hindi-hamak na mas malaki sya kay Amboy. At medyo napabait-bait ko — Kita nyo naman sa video nahahawakan na.

Click this for USAPANG PINOY: Pansinan sa pamilya…

Published in: on 28 December 2007 at 9:00 am  Comments (14)  
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Kulang sa pansin (Part 1)

The Boolagirls Beria-girdel and Chocho. Playing on the wheel together.

Chocho (named later by her owner, a friend’s daughter) was a Boolagang for adoption. Before living this family, she was given as wife to Isnobol and the mating was successful. She was almost three months old then (just one day short) when she gave birth to the Chochobebes (The Boolagang’s birthday was March 5; the Chochobebes, June 4).

I cannot say that the new mother was inexperienced, I’d rather say that it was her new owners. It was my fault: I failed to stress on telling our friend that most hamsters don’t want to be watched while giving birth, especially if it is the maiden birth. In fact, even after a few days, I would discourage an owner from being overly curious to look at the newborns (sobra sa pansin?) — otherwise, that may be the only sight of them he will ever get. As for Chocho’s babies, some died moments after birth; Some after a few days, so what was left of the litter which was supposed to be six was only three.

On their fourth day, at about five o’clock in the morning, Chocho got out of her cage leaving her still suckling babies. She was nowhere to be found! Our friend notified us, so I advised them to send the babies to me at once. Chocho didn’t show up for one whole day.

What am I supposed to do!?” These are rodents — so small and fragile, not like dogs or cats — and they were only 4-days old! (*O help me God!*)

I dipped a strand of thread in a milk (my wife bought a Ucare powdered milk just for this) and let the three small starving creatures take a sip from it whenever they open their mouths. That I did very carefully, baka ekako malunod?

At 6 pm, our friend happily sent a text message to us: Chocho finally showed up from her hiding place — a pile of shoes in a rack. Fortunately she didn’t get out of the house, where cats and dogs and all sorts of possible dangers abound.

I told them to send the mother to me because I knew that the “reunion” would be so delicate. For a hamster, that more than 12 hours is very long enough — it is possible that the mother could have forgotten that she has a litter and might kill or eat them up.

The reunion was quite funny (I was sorry I didn’t ‘video’ it)… Chocho’s eyes were so widened due to what I thought was an expression of puzzled amazement as she saw her three pups squirming — she was trying to run away from them! So I held her by the scuff of loose skin at the back of her neck and let the babies suck from her. Moments later the mother felt comfortable with them. I managed to shoot a video of them before sending them back to their owners the following day.

Mama Chocho with her babies

Napaka-maasikaso ni Chocho. Mga nanay, padadaig ba kayo sa isang daga lang!?
At sainyo na mga nanay-to-be (o maski kayong mga dalaga pa): Panuorin nyo pagkatapos nito yung powerpoint presentation dyan sa baba…

Their story didn’t end here though.

When the babies were 12 days old, our friend’s daughter texted my wife telling us that one of the babies fell from the cage (they hanged the cage at the ceiling so that cats or ants couldn’t reach them) and died. Our friend sent them back to us once more because her daughter was busy in her studies, and she was quite “guilty” for what had happened. That was when I shot their 13th day video (the following day). After a few days the girl was missing her hammies I sent them back again.

On their weaning age (about 21 days old), the girl texted us again saying that the bigger one of the two hamsters was harassing her younger sibling — including her mother. It was time for the babies to be separated, I thought. And since the girl has only one cage, she asked us to take care of the two small ones and let Chocho stay with her.

So the weaned babies was sent back to us for ‘fostering’… After about a week, Chocho died to the anguish of her girl owner. 😦 Our friends discouraged their daughter to own a hamster again for some time.

That is why these two youngest hamsters are now with this family, ‘reunited’ to Isnobol their father. And that was when Syma (a girl) and Amboy (a boy) got their names… More stories of Chocho’s babies in the following posts later today:

“Kulang sa pansin” Part 2 (28 December 2007)

“Bakit isa, bakit dalawa?” (28 December 2007)


WARNING: This presentation (.pps) may make you feel uncomfortable (better if it does), but I want it for your eyes to see. Be ready to explain it to the kids if ever there are some around.

“A letter from an unborn baby”