Thread: Gerbil!
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Old 03-31-2021, 12:42 PM  
Stella Maris
Hamster Pup
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Canada
Posts: 55
Default Gerbil!

Bumble Bean, my hamster, is a sweet little guy, but, well, a bit boring.
He sleeps ALL day. 16 hours! Goes to bed when I get up; gets up when I go to bed. Every day or two, or three, he’ll spend 10 minutes running around the flat, looking for a good hidey hole. Sometimes, he’ll be still for all of 15 seconds while I hold him and pet him. As I said, a nice little fellow, but not a lot of company.

So I decided I needed a more diurnal rodent.

Enter: The Gerbil!
I didn’t want to get a gerbil from a pet store, since they come from ‘rodent mills’ where they’re not treated well. Still…I always guiltily glanced in the rodents-for-sale section (just looking!) on my way to get supplies for Bean, but there were never any gerbils on display, so I was able to uphold my lofty ideals. (When Covid hit, the mills had to instantly shut down; evidently they’re being cautious about starting up again.)

For most of the past year, I’ve been looking for a breeder. No joy. There aren’t many gerbil breeders in Canada to start with, and Covid threw a spanner in those works as well. Meanwhile, I constantly perused the ‘rehome’ sections of the local electronic media. Nada. Many MANY guinea pigs, many many rabbits, a surprising number of rats, the odd ferret or hedgehog, 2 hamsters, no gerbils.

Finally saw an ad offering two gerbil pups! Yay! They like to be in pairs. Unfortunately, one was a girl and one, a boy. So they’d be a bit too fecund a pair….

A week after the ad ran, the gal got back to me. The female was gone, but the male was still available. Now I have a gerbil!

Because I enjoy singing and playing jazz, I’m calling him, ‘Scooby Dooby Doo’. (Also, it’s fun to say.)
He’s 3 months old, and as part of his adolescent rebellion, he’s informed me that he thinks his name doesn’t have enough gravitas; he prefers, ‘Scooby D. Doo’, so that he can tell people his middle name is ‘Darius’.

Gerbils are the opposite of hamsters; they’re diurnal (with naps) and VERY HIGH ENERGY!!! He’s either full steam ahead, or asleep. It’ll be a challenge to get him to be still for 5 seconds, let alone 15! Still, I have high hopes. The gal who raised him started the taming process; he’ll happily come and climb onto my hand for a sunflower seed treat. I need to get him used to staying in my hand when it moves, letting me scoop him up, etc. Since he doesn’t have a buddy, I want him to be comfortable with me scritching around his head with my fingers and grooming him like another gerbil would do. (There’s a video on YouTube, “Luna’s Life”, of a contented gerbil, eyes closed in happiness while a woman scratches its neck. Very cute.)

I put him in my (his?) ‘gerbilarium’ and he loves it! I could see his tiny brain thinking, “I need to dig in this substrate right NOW! Hey, things to chew on! Wait! I need to run up this ladder! A wheel! I need to run on the wheel! A sand bath! Look! The human put the sand in a herb jar that sits at 45 degrees! I bet she’s hoping I won’t kick sand everywhere! She’s wrong! I’ve got two big feet in back just like a kangaroo! Look! I’m firing sand right out of the cage and onto the human! She looks surprised! I guess it’s the first time anyone’s kicked sand in her face! This is fun!!!”

Scooby seems like an outgoing, happy little gerbil, which is good because until and unless I find him a gerbil buddy, I’ll have to keep him entertained on my own. So, in conclusion,
NOT boring!
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