The Boolagirls Beria-girdel and Chocho. Playing on the wheel together.
Chocho (a name later given by her girl pet-owner) 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 them 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 not to become overly inquisitive to look at the newborns (sobra sa pansin?). Otherwise, it may be the only sight of them he will ever get.
Some of the babies died moments after birth, some after a few days. So what was left of the litter which was supposed to have about six was only three.
On their fourth day, at about five o’clock in the morning, Chocho got out from her cage unnoticed by her owners leaving her still suckling babies. She was nowhere to find! Her owners told us this and 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!
What I did was to dip a piece 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. I did that very carefully or else they might get drowned.
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 at once 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 has 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 owner the following day.
Mama Chocho with her babies
Napaka-maasikaso ni Chocho. Mga nanay, padadaig ba kayo sa isang daga lang!?
At kayong 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 (the real pet-owner and care-giver) 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 their daughter (the care-giver) 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 for all these hammies, she asked us to take care of the two small ones and let alone 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.
Well. This story of the mother and her babies was long enough it deserves a separate post. More of Syma and Amboy on the next two posts later today:
• “Kulang sa pansin” Part 2 (28 December 2007)
• “Bakit isa, bakit dalawa?” (28 December 2007)
— PLEASE WATCH THIS PRESENTATION —
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.