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Queen (April 1995 - September 1996)

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Queen was our first female hamster, bought with the intention of having our first hamster litter. She was also a birthday present to myself that I bought on June 15, 1995. Queen loved to completely stuff her Habitrail Whirl-a-Wheel with wood chips and bedding for a great nest. The only problem came when she later tried running in that same wheel, with wood chips and bedding inside. That didn't work very well.

Having two hamsters of opposite sexes for the first time was fun. We found out that they call out to each other by squeaking loudly, especially every fourth day when the female is "in heat." In August of 1995, we mated Queen with our sweet Rook, who was happy to take on that challenge. Sixteen days later, eight babies were born. Sadly one died early on, but seven survived. We kept the one who most looked like her sweet dad and named her Bishop. Another baby went to a teacher for her classroom and they named her Fluffy.

Queen was such a wonderful mother that we wanted to give her another family. So we mated her with Knight. Unfortunately, we didn't realize that being 17 months old was probably too old to give birth. She had one large stillborn baby and then, sadly, Queen died too.

Fluffy, Queen's baby, came back to us briefly around the time Queen died, and we decided to give her a chance to be a mom. We mated her with Knight and they had four adorable babies. Tragically, one of the babies, Oreo, had a birth defect on her leg, causing the others to attack her when she was 2 weeks old. It was probably just an instinct to eliminate a "defect" in the group. The vet fixed her up and we isolated her from the family, but we couldn't prevent Oreo from chewing on her own leg until she bled to death. Again, tragedy struck, because somehow, Fluffy, seemed to wither away until she died. It was as if the babies sucked the life out of her. Despite the tragic circumstances, the remaining 3 babies were healthy and took well to being hand fed from a dropper. In fact, they thrived and were especially tame, because they were used to being handled. We nicknamed them Vanilla (white one), Chocolate (black one) and Swirl (black and white). It was especially hard to give them away, but we had promised them to 3 new owners already. We didn't even have one left for ourselves to keep.

Queen lived to be 1 year and 5 months old.

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