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.

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.

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.