A hamster’s old age speeds by as fast as the rest of its life. The first signs of old age appear with relatively little warning, and from then on hamsters age quite rapidly compared with dogs and cats.
Most old hamsters die quietly. One day, you’ll find the hamster’s small body, still and lifeless, in its house or curled up in a corner of the cage. Because the animal looks as if it is asleep, death is probably painless. The hamster simply breathes its last, like a candle burning out.
These are the visible signs of an aging hamster:
Behavior: spends most of the time sleeping; loses interest in its surroundings (including his wheel); stores small amounts of food.
Appearance: loses weight; rounded head becomes more pointed; coat loses its uniform sheen and looks matted and unkempt; eyes’ color become pale.
Motion: no longer scurries about; movements are slow, awkward and unsteady.
Hygiene: doesn’t have the strength to groom itself as often as it used to; sometimes unable to clean its bottom when it ‘poos’.
Health: there seems no age-related problems (unless there is a tumor or other illness).
Senses: smelling, hearing, and vision possibly decline with old age (?)
(Source: My Hamster and me, copyright 2001 by Barron’s Educational Series)
DATES: Rain and all time-lapsed movies, May 2008; The Hall scene in sunset, 11 July 2007; The Hall scene in monochrome, 28 October 2007.
Ispidbol must had gone by now. For the past four weeks, he’s been showing signs that his time is swiftly running out. But remarkably, his condition got quite better. Sudden rains that dispelled the heat of summer seem to have a good effect on him.
He still spends all day and night sleeping – yes, and he had long trodden his last mile on The Wheel. But somehow he wakes up to take his meals and clean himself off his refuses. Once more, he can manage to move (in a sloth-fashion) across his homecage to the opposite corner, just to pee.
This is actually Ispidbol’s “second second chance.” The sunset scene, with him shown in the video, was his “first second chance” – the day he rose up from his bed of illness (11 July 2007), when he was about 16 months old. Ispidbol is indeed a weaker hamster compared to his brother Isnobol, and that is why he won my favor to be the steward of The Hall (This has been the rule ever since their first ancestors).
Hamsters are not blessed with nine lives – not even a long one. But like any other higher creatures, they do have second chances. As for my Ispidbol, I do not know for certain how long this yet another second chance will last. Weeks? Days? …or hours?
Will this be his last second chance?