Isang ikot

Birthday ngayon ng unang post ni Hello Hammie ko. Bukas naman ( Sep 8 ), isang ikot na rin simula nung ipasulat at ipa-post nya sa akin ang sarili nilang bersyon nina Malakas at Maganda (click that for the original version).

Hindi na ako masyadong magbibida, para may panahon kayong samahan akong mag-ikot-ikot dito sa IkawTubo bidyo. Ni-produced ito ng magigiting na mga salinlahi nina Mauslakas at Magandaga. 😆

See 12th comment (mine) below. ↓

Hirs a litol song I rowt

Yu mayt want to sing it nowt por nowt

Donk Wodent… Bi Hammie…

Aru… lumala yata ang vertigo ko. 🙄 Tsokey lang… Basta naka-one full turn na akong sakay ng blogosperyo. 😀 Isang taon na pala akong nagkakalat ng superbabaw kong kaligayahan sa internet?

Pasensya na po kayo sa mga korning jokes ko. 😳

Galing sa Yahoo Mail inbox ni misis:

There comes a TIME in our LIFE when we have TO LET GO of all the pointless drama and the people who created it and surround ourselves with people who make us laugh so hard that we forget the bad news and focus on the pleasant memories. After all, life is too short for us not to be HAPPY!

🙄 …Nyay! 😳 Ahehe… Hindi naman sigruro “pointless” yung mga dramanobela na nikukwento ko dito, di ba? Atsaka mas marami naman “pleasant memories”. 🙂

Seven in 5

Another thing the month of August reminds me is how this clan had started.

It was five years ago when I first saw these two (later bacame the first couple), with the rest of the litter, helpless as they were, “sucklings” to their mother. Their owner was my wife’s friend, a former “suki” in our cross stitch and framing business.

The following month (September 2003), she offered us to adopt a pair of these hamsters. Her auntie didn’t want to keep these “bad luck” critters any longer, and was thinking of disposing all of them soon. (You have to squeeze your way in to reach the innermost end of this blog’s sub-terranean tunnel for details… Take this shortcut.)

I’ve been keeping records of my hamster’s “chronicles” even before I gained access to the internet:

19 had lived and perished before I started to blog.

One passed away soon, less than two weeks after I launched this blog.

13 were left to be seen “on-live” in my posts.

Out of the 13, nine are still living as of this day.

The following presentation was also produced in their pre-blogging chronicles (Ispidbol’s appearance was added just later). CLICK the photo.

NOTE: WordPress does not allow a .pps-file upload anymore, so this is a .ppt (powerpoint) presentation. Wait for it to be downloaded, open the file, then hit F5” on your keyboard to play and watch the presentation. “ Less than 3 minutes. Nakakaaliw ito, para sa mga “batang” paris ko! 😉

ADDENDUM (2009 Nov 16) : PPS format can be uploaded again; Just open the .pps-file after the download and watch. Thanks!

Hamster cages and wheels are kinda expensive, so I learned to improvise.

One of my utmost concerns is what to do when a hamster got sick, or how to prevent incidence of illness. That was the first topic that I researched upon gaining internet access in August last year. My searches led me to Wikipedia, then to fellow pet- and hamster-bloggers. Eventually I thought on blogging at WordPress, signing up with Flickr and YouTube ONLY as photo and video hosts. (My blogging is another story, so much about that next month).

I am not a breeding expert. I was quite disappointed when I learned that what I’ve been doing is not a “good” practice. I knew some basic rules about genetics, but I was not seriously aware about the ill-effects of in-breeding. I stopped “marriages” among closed relatives since the last litter of June 2007 – after I have gone through seven generations.

Amboy’s ♂ ‘good side’

Seventh-line descendant Amboy. Will he be my last hammie?

Amboy is my 33rd hamster. He belongs to the 7th generation (maternal line; see my first comment below) and is the youngest. He had gone past midlife but still celibate – a forty year-old virgin, at that. 😆 Now he is faced with the question:

“To breed or not to breed?”

FLOOD for thought:

Remember that the Ark was built by an amateur, Titanic by professionals.

Pamana ng isang DAGA

The storyteller behind Ikabod tower. Right: The Tower, “aerial” shot.

Kilala nyo ba si Bitoy?

Bitoy and Bebang are the names of the first pair of hamsters in this family: They are the ancestors. If you want some detail, you can go to the second post of this blog:

A tribute to Bitoy and his girlfriend

Yung mga alerdyik sa daga e okey lang kung DI nyo type ang blog ko, no problem. Meron nga dyan alerdyik sa pusa, o kaya sa aso — maski sa surot pa nga. Alam ko naman ang feeling ng mga me “allergies” na paris nyo.

Pero TIP lang: If you have a phobia (irrational hate or fear) there is something wrong with you — maski tanungin nyo ang bespren nyong saykayatris… Learn to overcome it. Okey lang kung hindi kayo magkahilig sa kinaa-alerdyik-an nyo, just do away with the “prejudice”. Hindi ko naman ipipilit sayo itong blog ko. Maglaro ka ng apoy hangga’t gusto mo ahehe. Daig mo pa ang sumuntok sa buwan.

Dun naman sa mga tatay na alerdyik sa ingles: Maghintay lang kayo, hane? — Tutal nakakaintindi naman kayo. May foreign readers din kasi ako (Yang allergy sa foreigners, xenophobia yan. Dapat balanseng pananaw sa bagay-bagay). Usap tayo mamaya tungkol sa mga DYUNYOR nyo. Pramis, mananagalog ako…

I was a former government employee — a desktop artist, still cameraman, video editor (sometimes), exhibit developer, and scale-model-maker. As a research photographer I loved shooting small insects in rice fields for crop protection. When public officials here and from abroad were visiting our Institute I also shoot them. Mga scientists, ambassadors, congressmen, senators; May mga barangay kapten barbel pa kung minsan, escorting presidents from Cory thru FVR (to Erap) — Sayang hindi ko na inabot si madam GMA… So that was one of my jobs — shooting insects and politicians. Nung kalaunan e hindi ko na malaman kung sino ang insekto at ano ang politiko. I resigned in 2000 — As a freelance servant, I have chosen custom-framing to earn my keep.

Now, in my framing jobs, moulding scraps littered every corner of my house. Instead of disposing, I used these materials to construct some domicile for my hamsters. Thru this, my wife and I are entertaining kids who visit our small home. Makita lang naming namimilog ang mga mata ng mga paslit sa tuwa at pagkamangha, kami ni misis ay masaya na. Entertaining these children was not part of the plan — nagkataon lang… I made the homecages because my hamsters need them; It just so happen that simple carpentry are among the things I enjoy doing.

“Bulwagang Bitoy” (Bitoy Hall) with the Lupindilayk Wheel

The hamster was Faramir, direct descendant of Bitoy. Faramir was the grandfather of Ispidbol on the father side. This video was taken in May 2005.

“Bahay ni Lola” (Bebang Pension House)

The hamster was Boromir, Faramir’s elder twin brother. Boromir was the grandfather of Ispidbol on the mother side. Taken during the house’s early stages of construction (03 July 2005).

“Mansyon ng Daga” (Hamster Mansion, still unfinished)

September 30, 2006. Ikabod tower is the structure at right. The hamster was Bebong, one of the offspring of Faramir, just like me, unable to sire. No big deal.
(Mga fathers, yung sabi ko kanina ha? Usap tayo.)

So that’s it…! A father hamster’s legacy to his sons and succeeding generations. “Ang pamana ng isang ninunong daga sa kanyang mga anak-anak at mga kaapu-apuhan.” (Yun lang? Anubayan…)

Mga bata, hanggang dito na lang tayo, hane? Maglaro muna kayo sa labas at kakausapin ko lang ang mga tatay nyo.

To my foreign readers, the next topic concerns a ‘national issue’ and is an Usapang-Pinoy lang. Thank you for reading about my hammies.

Redi? KLIK nyo dito.

Mini polar bear

Siguro kung tao lang si Bitoy, matagal na nyang diniborsyo si Bebang.

2005-05-25 (Gandalf)

In every litter produced by the first pair there were always some whites: one, two and three in the first, second and third, respectively. No wonder, for Bitoy and Bebang were carriers of the albino genetic code. The first couple’s father was himself an albino. Mistisong kastila kung baga… 😆

Gandalf was the youngest among the third litter, and the youngest of the 22 hamsters of the second generation. By reason of his color (or the absence of it), I named him after a middle-earth wizard in Tolkien’s trilogy Lord of the Rings. I also called him Gandalf-pola because he looked to me as a small polar bear and his eyes were colored red (kulay-pola ang mata).

Timid and shy. Nervous and clumsy, frequently looks disoriented… Afraid of high places — always likes to climb but afraid and hesitant when going down, which usually ends up with unglamorous fall… That was my Gandalf.

2005-05-06 (Gandalf)2005-05-11 (Gandalf)

Doesn’t refuse to be handled, but nips fingers that get through their way inside his cage… A habitual sleeper under his ‘bed sheet’. Upon waking up in the late afternoon, patiently waits for a treat on the top deck of his cage… Another inventive wheel-turner… These were just some of his unforgettable traits.

Gandalf lived for 26 months and 14 days. He was definitely not immortal like Gandalf the wizard, but Gandalf the hamster’s memory was immortalized by the endless journey round the circle of the Wheel that was named after him.

2007-10-08 (Wigwam)

Gandalf’s great-grandson Wigwam Wigglerson reviewing the finishing touches of Gandalf’s Wheel.

Ispidbol is sleeping in the Hall at the background.

Published in: on 8 October 2007 at 6:36 am  Comments (7)  
Tags: , , , , ,

The 17-day mother

When does motherhood begin? We know that a mother is a mother as long as she lives, and her role (other than economic or financial, I hope) of being a mother to her sons and daughters ends when she dies. But when does a mother start to become a mother?

I believe that for a particular child, a mother’s role begins not at the moment of that child’s birth, but at his conception in her mother’s womb. Let us not forget that the phrase “to bear a child” does not only mean to give birth to, but also to carry, a child. The carrying is a nine-month burden that will lead to the moment of truth: the agony of labor, and the JOY of birth.

For Snowy, it was just the burden and the agony.

2005-08-01 (Snowy)

Snowy was one of the last litter, a sister to MsBraun and Warwik, given for adoption. She was the hamster who had an encounter with a house rat, so her foster-owner told. We don’t know her detailed experience there, but I supposed the nasty vermin wanted — but failed — to molest her. Somehow the rat had managed to put a notch in her ear. After a month she was sent back to us to be a wife to Mocha Rurik. The agreement was for her to get pregnant and after four weeks upon giving birth to her offspring, her foster owner will take her back with some of the litter.

So, after Snowy was given to Mocha Rurik in marriage, all we’ve got to do was to wait for the next 16 days of pregnancy to pass. On the 16th day, the signs of birthing was evident: Snowy refused to play but laid on her back all day. The whole day was nearly over, still no sign of babies. In the last few hours of the following day, one by one came out the babies, all lifeless…

Hamsters have a peculiar trait of eating up their newborn babies when they are threatened by the presence of hamsters other than their litter in their cage. Some experts termed this trait as protective cannibalism. What a horrible way of protecting one’s young!!! Protecting it by devouring it!? It doesn’t make sense! But I found it much harder to understand the reasons of some — sometimes even healthy, married human mothers. They maybe doing a less morbid thing for not eating their newborn child; but giving consent of expelling ‘it’ from their bodies while yet unborn, justifying that they are only protecting it from a bleak and uncertain future, is equally irrational.

I’ve learned that a zygote is kept alive by the pulsation of the individual cells in it(?), and as the zygote develops into a human embryo, one of the first organs to be formed is the heart in order for the embryo to help sustain his own life. The fetus at the earliest stage is already fighting for his life! Anybody who is heartless enough to think he has the right to stop the throbbing of this unborn child’s heart dare to stand up? Even you — his ‘mother’ — sit down! In the whole world, you should be the last person to dare to stand…

I am condemning the deed here, not the doer. These young ladies badly need understanding and guidance. If you know somebody in the same situation, I am urging you not to ‘push’ her in doing something that she’ll be sorry for later in her life. I knew a few mothers who have committed such a mistake long ago but until now each is keeping a skeleton in her closet, knowing not how to confess it to her living sons or daughters.

As for Snowy, she didn’t eat up her litter. The babies just came out dead; they didn’t come out on time. But somehow Mocha Rurik was so relieved she was still alive.

After what happened to Snowy, I never mated her again with her husband worrying that it might risk her life. Her foster owner never bothered to send for her again, so Snowy stayed here with her family for the rest of her life. As to if her life drama — that rat-encounter and the lost of her litter — was retained in her memory, I don’t know. I just hope that in her brain, the space for sad memories was blank clean and white like her name.

Snowy perished due to an illness, possibly a reproductive or urinary tract infection. She lived for 18 months and 7 days. Soon a clock will be ticking atop Ikabod tower in memory of her.


Appended on 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.

slide “A letter from an unborn baby”



Daughters became mothers

Breeders do not recommend the mating of hamsters belonging to the same litter, so I paired the second litter with the third: I matched Boromir with MsBraun, Faramir with Warwik. Long before, I planned to breed by using hamster from a different source; I bought a female (I named her Buttercrust Blondieback) to be a wife to Boromir but she died while she was still a maiden.

Though Boromir & MsBraun were the first to get married than Faramir & Warwik, the later couple were the first to sire, outrunning the former by 47 days. (Once again Boromir only came out as second!) Warwik got eight of which three were boys (they will carry the family name!) — MsBraun got four, all girls!

Why, for heaven sake, does it seem that Faramir always got much favored than Boromir? (I could not help but remember the twin brothers Esau and Jacob of the old testament.) But did it matter to them anyway? Obviously it didn’t — for two good reasons: First they were carrying the same surname (they were brothers, right?), and second (which is much simpler), they were only hamsters. Not a single rodent has even the very least idea of what a rat-race is. Good for them… or else they will only be stressing themselves as humans do.

2005-01-11 (Warwikgang at 29 days)

This is Warwik with some of her offspring. Out of eight, I kept the three boys and had given the five girls for adoption.

2005-02-26 (Mochabebes at 28 days)

This is MsBraun with her four daughters. From here I kept two to be matched later with two of Warwik’s sons.

Both of them were good mothers. This was especially true for MsBraun who refused to reprimand her daughters when they were bugging her. Her daughters had a nasty habit of biting her tail and all she could do was to shriek or squeak. If Warwik’s litter were separated from their mother for the normal reason that the mother was beginning to become aggressive towards her nearly two-month old litter, in MsBraun case it was the opposite: MsBraun had to be separated from her litter because the litter were harassing their mother! Just imagine all these four big daughters bugging their already thinning mother! I was not expecting this for when these two mothers were young, it was the elder MsBraun who always bully her younger sister Warwik… “Waaar–wik, the squea–ker! Waaar–wik the squea–ker…!” A role can really change one’s nature.

MsBraun died of illness at 19 months and 23 days; Warwik died in her old age of 25 months and 22 days.

Later in the history of this clan of hamsters, a posthumous “Pinaka-martir ngunit Pinaka-uliran” (Most sacrificial yet ideal) award was cited for each of the two sisters. A sister-category award for Warwik, and a mother-category award for MsBraun. 😉 The sounds of alarm on the penthouse gate of the Pension House always bring back the memory of these two squeakers.

2007-05-19 (Mochahontas)

The Penthouse Gate and Alarm. Mochahontas, a great-granddaughter of MsBraun and Warwik, is the day’s gatekeeper.

The menopause litter

This is Bebang’s third and last set of offspring — a litter of eight.

This batch had gone through a crisis they were almost wiped out with their mother who contracted a wet-tail barely ten days after they were born. When I first saw their seemingly hopeless situation, I was worried that even if their mother would survive, the babies might die. Their small bodies were awfully wet allover. They were scattered and squirming helplessly all around their nursery home. The whole place was a mess and I could already smell the disease. Bebang didn’t know what was happening — I didn’t know what to do. It was already night; waiting till morning would be too late.

With my fingers cross, I took my last chance. I tried very small doses of AquadoxTM soluble powder, a veterinary antibacterial (with multivitamin + electrolytes) for poultry and swine. Using a small medicine dropper for human infant, Bebang was orally administered with the solution mixed with powder of Gano-ExcelTM capsule, a food supplement that I and my wife are taking. The litter received treatment through their nursing mother. In the morning, the mother got better, the babies were moving around (my last night’s vigil seemed to pay off), except for the three who were too weak to suck from their mother. After some follow-up treatment, mother and litter were obviously getting much better. To make the long story short, five out of eight survived.

Though I was so relieved to ‘save’ the mother and most of her babies, I don’t want to experiment. If my hamsters are lab rats or research hamsters, well and good, that may be their mission. But these are my pets. I always do the best for them and I know that in such cases where their health and life are at a stake, even my best may not be good enough. A vet’s job is always the best, but I hope finding more than an animal doctor — a Dr. Doolittle type, who possesses not only a brain but also a heart for his patients, who understands not only their bodies but their language.

After the incident, I decided that this litter would be Bebang’s last. I noticed that long after she gave birth to these eight, the area near the base of her tail was elongated. This was probably due to her repeated hamster-bearing. Kumupas na ang kanyang kaseksihan. So I decided, or more appropriate to say: she decided (to Bitoy’s dismay), she had enough. For after her giving birth to the 3rd litter, her husband’s mating calls and sexual overtures interest her no more. Never again did I see her in her usual once-every-fourth-day frozen in-heat posture.

All in all, Bebang sired and nursed a total of 22 hamsters.

Who says that plain ‘housewife-hood’/motherhood is a lowly profession? No, not Bebang. I am not saying that career, working women are not good candidates for motherhood. Many wives and mothers perform best in other, non-household jobs of their calling. For some, working is a necessity especially in an ambiance where single parenthood is becoming increasingly common. But I still say: mothers… please do have time with the kids. As for Bebang, it was not so difficult then, for her husband was still alive and able, and a good ‘family-hammie’ at that. (So, husbands, especially fathers… this is an urgent matter: be RESPONSIBLE… Hindi kayo mga hayop na ang layunin ay ang magparami lang ng lahi.)

Bebang was proud of her noble role, a task which she considered a higher calling. By her good modeling, the next mothers that came after her turned out to be good mothers also. She was more than 10 months when she sired the last litter, about 15 when she was widowed. She lived for another nine months to see her 20 grand offspring of the 3rd and “3½th” generations.

The prodigy son’s return

Mocha Rurik was a light brown male, one of the three first-born sons. At the age of two months he left with his sister-wife Bebang II for Angono to live with my in-laws. They sired offspring there, all given for adoption.

On the 10th month of their stay there, Bebang II died of a trauma. She escaped being devoured by the household cat, but the cat’s bite inflicted a fatal fracture on her spine. Mocha, wanting to forget this sad memory of her, returned to the land of his forefathers and was reunited with his parents and the twin. He was later married to Snowy (of the third litter) but she gave birth to stillborn offspring.

Mocha was the sensitive and nervous type. But even when he gets startled by my handling him, he just turns over his body snappily, pressing his snout firmly against my hand, unwilling to bite. He was a very patient hamster.

2005-05-10 (Mocha Rurik) 2005-05-13 (Mocha Rurik) 1 2005-05-13 (Mocha Rurik) 2

What made him extraordinary were his acrobatic skills and ingenious ways of wheel-turning. Though he was very cautious, he was not scared to climb and jump from high places. This I never allowed because his dauntless character could harm him.

He lived to a ripe old age of over 28 months. When he died, he got no son to succeed him, but his grandnephew Berio (fourth generation) was there for his funeral.

A hanging bridge that will span the gap between the pension house and the tower will soon be built, bearing the name of this one great and mighty hamster.

Separate lives (part 2)

The humbled big brother

2005-05-06 (Boromir) 2005-05-10 (Boromir)

Boromir was a typical big brother who always gave in to his little brother’s wishes. He was the ‘elder’ son and yet he got the old rugged ancestral cage as his playpen and his father’s transport carriage as his daytime sleeping box.

2005-05-07 (Boromir)

He preferred to sleep here during warm weather and the hot summer months.

Occasionally he sneaked down the Hall for a tread or two…

2005-05-20 (Boromir) animation 2005-05-20 (Boromir)

…whenever Faramir was not around!!!

2005-07-03 (Boromir) 1

As the elder son, Boromir took over the business affairs of his father. Here he was shown inspecting the nearly completed Pension House. 2005-07-03 (Boromir in pension house)

Boromir died at the age of two years and 21 days, only two days longer than Faramir’s. He got weak sooner than Faramir did, but even in death, the big brother only got a silver medal. I am not saying that Boromir was a loser. Nobody who gives really loses.

Today, surmounting Ikabod tower was a monument serving as a memorial to the twin reunited. Boromir’s Bell and Faramir’s Beacon remind me of these two brothers — the strong one carrying and upholding the weaker one.

Separate lives (part 1)

The weaker takes all

Hamsters are born ‘naked’ and there is no way to tell what color their coats will be until they are about four days old. I can not tell you for sure who among the twin came out first. Faramir was the smallest among the litter; I assumed that he was the youngest.

In dispatching my ‘extra’ hamsters, the smaller and apparently weaker ones always win my favor. I am not a breeder. I am not concerned about keeping the best ones. Neither do I consider myself as a hamster expert. I am only hoping that a bigger and healthy hamster has greater chances of survival in case the owner-to-be has no prior experience in keeping hamsters as pets. I always tell them that their attitude towards the pet and their sense of responsibility are what really matter. Skills can be learned. Passion is the starting point, but persistence is the key to perfection.

It worked the same way on deciding who among those left with me will get the best home. So you got it… Faramir was the first in the list — he was the one chosen to stay in the Hall. He spend the rest of his life with Bulwagang Bitoy as his home enjoying its eight-inch- diameter wheel even during the hours after midnight.

Faramir was two years and 19 days when he died.

The first-borns

This is the second litter. The three first-born sons belong here. There are four sets of twin — pairs of whites, mocha browns, banded browns, and banded blacks. I called this batch the Lupindilayks.

If you ask me what’s the meaning of that word, I tell you… I don’t know. It just came out because it sounded like look-alikes. That’s how I name my pets since I was a kid: whatever goes out spontaneously from my mind. Non-existing words, or existing names from the stories that I read or movies that I have seen. I don’t know my pets’ consensus — whether they love their names or not. I just know they respond whenever I call them by their names.

Twin brothers Boromir and Faramir. They are the authentic Lupindilayks. Not only because they are twins; they also resemble the color pattern of their old hammie. They are the heirs apparent.

This is one of the heirlooms. This is the second transport box of their father. The first one (not shown in here) is much smaller and not so comfortable for a grown-up hamster.

This is Bulwagang Bitoy (Bitoy Hall), constructed in April 2004 during the heydays of their father. The photo was taken in June 2004 when the twin inaugurated it. Bitoy didn’t want to stay here but had chosen his transport carriage as a ‘dorm cell’ during the day, and the ‘ancestral cage’ (bought for my hamsters of 1999) as a place to play by night.

On Bitoy’s first year in August 2004, the Lupindilayk Exercise Wheel was installed. Construction was underway for the annexation of Bebang’s pension house at left. At right will rise the future Ikabod tower, named after Bitoy’s first princess Grizzly Ikabod. Ikabod was the eldest in the first litter of six daughters. She perished prematurely in an accident in February 2004.

Bitoy had chosen not to stay in Bulwagang Bitoy. Even while he was still alive and strong he gave it to his heirs instead. So, Boromir and Faramir shared a common cage and wheel for a very long time. Since the wheel was narrowly designed to accommodate only one hamster at a time, they agreed to take turns to play during their active hours.

Faramir: “O, Kuya… ikaw naman!!!”

Boromir: “Ikaw na lang muna uli, ‘tol… parang gusto kong umeskapo!”

Sometimes when I give them food, they just ignore it, climb to my arm instead. But if I give them sunflower seeds, they engage themselves in a ‘hoarding race’ as to who can collect more seeds faster (agawan, parang mauubusan!), only to discharge and store the seeds on one common spot at the corner of the cage.

Upon reaching their eighth month however, the twin have had occasional squabbles. As shown in this photo, they both have half-healed minor wounds in their face or body. Yes, they were sleeping and snuggling together all day, but during the evening I had been hearing loud squeaking coming from the hall. Most of the time the cause was this: the little brother bugging his big brother (Sutil si Faramir, pikon si Boromir), and later on, big brother bullying little brother for no apparent reason. Big Boromir was stronger, but Little Faramir could outrun him.

After 10 months of living together (each already met his own bride), the fight grew so frequently and worst. One night a disturbing noise woke me up. I proceeded at once to the hall to find out the two little creatures wrestling, furs and sunflower seeds flying all over the place. It took me so hard to part them — without being bitten.

Of course they were not squabbling over inheritance. Animals don’t do that — people do. Animals act according to their nature, guided by their instinct. People act according to their choices based on their moral values. It’s so sad to think that there are lots of warm and so close sibling relationships that were severed only because each brother or sister is fighting for his or her ‘right’ over inheritance, or parental favor — in most cases with the ‘pushes’ of their concerned spouses.

It was time for these brothers to part ways. In their final showdown Faramir was badly beaten.

Why should it matter to me anyway? They couldn’t be blamed for that. Syrian hamsters were created just like that — SOLITARY. Changing that nature is beyond the scope of my concern and capability.

Boromir and Faramir shared lives for 11 months.

Sequel to this post. (21 Sep 2007)

  1. Separate lives (part 1). The weaker takes all.
  2. Separate lives (part 2). The humbled big brother.
  3. The prodigy son’s return.

A tribute to Bitoy and his girlfriend

Ancestor hammie Bitoy, 01 June 2004.

He was just an ordinary hamster, a banded brown (inbred) male Teddy bear. He came to us in September 2003 with his sister (banded orange) when my wife’s friend offered us to adopt them because her aunt didn’t want to keep hamsters any longer. The hamsters were barely a month old; we “christened” them Bitoy and Bebang. From then on our household includes a family of more or less a dozen members whose roots can be traced back to this first pair. (click on this word: Genealogy )

This is Bebang, nursing two in a litter of eight of the second batch. She was very meticulous, neat and orderly in her cage. (photo 26 March 2004)


Although at a younger age not so friendly to human or animals alike (hamsters were no exceptions), Bebang was a very responsible mother to all her 3 batches of litters.

This is one of Bitoy’s few portraits (wala pa ko digital camera nu’n). I was working on the construction of a scale model of a rice harvester. I always use my hamsters as models to give a clue on the relative size of every miniature that I make. He was caught here in a bad mood because he was awoken for the sole purpose of this pictorial. (05 April 2004)

Bitoy was a constant companion in our visits to my mother and in-laws not very far from Manila, and in our regular trips to Baguio (We live in a small rented unit in Nueva Ecija). In the evenings of these overnight stays, we let him stroll freely in the room. Lying in bed with the lights off, I could distinctly hear his footsteps as he ran across the wooden floor with reverberating outburst of vocal delight (Tududududududu…!!!). He really enjoyed the overnight stays, but I think the long trips had been indeed very stressful for him.

In November 2004, Bitoy got sick and lethargic. He was refusing to play on his wheel and had chosen to stay and sleep in his transport box. During the evening, in the hours when he was supposed to be active, I let him stay and sleep on my chest while I was lying down; he just stayed there as if he was getting some comfort.

About seven days later I knew he was dying. He solemnly took his last breath while in my hands. (Incidentally, I was playing a country-western version of John Newton’s “Amazing Grace” in my PC’s CD; I cannot help but cry silently.)

I admired him for his struggle to survive (as most animals do). He didn’t seem to worry about his infirmity even until he was at death’s doorstep – he still ‘ate and moved on’ – as long as he was able. When he died, I even found a fresh sunflower seed in one of his cheek pouches.

He lived for only 15 months — too much shorter for the already short lifespan granted to such small creatures. But he left a lasting legacy.

I have had some small animal pets in the past (guinea pigs in 1975– , and hamsters in 1988– and 1999– ) but I have never been so attached to such a little creature before. Bitoy is no ordinary hamster after all.

His departure grieved me for a long time… but I must get over it. I knew more “passings-away” would follow…