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.

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)

Bebang

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…