Friday, November 18, 2011

The tail of two gerbils.

Gosh - isn't he just such a cutie pie, that Fergie? Doing a very credible flop for us, to show that bunnies and gerbils have some characteristics in common. It was almost .. foreshadowing.

Yesterday morning I stumbled out of bed and into the kitchen to make tea. I saw something flash by on the ground near the couch but didn't think much of it. I am not unknown for hallucinating movements when tired. (I'm sure Lena would remember me ducking a non-existent bat in Bino's) I made tea. I went into the living room and sat on the couch. I stared at the gerbil cage as a few neutrons tried to rub together and give me an important message.

Hey - why's Fergie running around underneath the cage?

Oh. Crap. WHY IS .. *&@#!! 

Fergie, fortunately, is too dumb to figure out how to escape the wood skirt that was under their cage. Freddie, however, is a devious little snot and probably wiggled out in under two seconds. I started Googling "How to catch a gerbil" having had trouble catching rabbits in the past.. and let's face it, rabbits, even Scout Bunny!, are much larger than gerbils. Another flash of movement and Freddie has run under the TV. "Ack! Not my cords!" I had flashbacks to every bunny proofing Scout defeated and every cord she'd nommed. (How she never electrocuted herself, I have no idea.) I dived (figuratively) across the room and managed to corner Freddie. With a bit of artful hand movements I managed to catch the little .. uh, sweet wee guy. (Little mother farter!)

Into their travel cage they went. Not that this could, or would, hold them for long. Fortunately for me, they're now too tired from all their adventures to chew through the top and have escape number two. (I'm fairly confident even Fergie the Challenged could have figured out how to climb out the top.)  As its not the end of the month, I'm at the end of my bank account. A panic message to parents and brother "Send money, the gerbils have teeth!" (Okay, it was a little more explanatory than that.)  Dave saved the day and sent me money to get them a new cage.

Problem is - I was discovering as I went through the local petstores - all the available cages had *plastic* bottoms. It wouldn't be long before they just chewed through it again. One of the very nice people at a locally owned and operated store said "Get them an aquarium!" I couldn't manage to transport a 20 gallon aquarium by myself, so they got the 10 gallon model with a screen for the top. ("I could sell you the clips to hold it down, but really, just go down to the river and pick up a big rock and put that on top. Gerbils, unlike snakes, aren't strong enough to tip the lid.") 

The real challenge was the water bottle. I hadn't even thought of that "slight" problem when I bought the aquarium - there was no way or place to attach it! So, in went a crock and for them to dump bits in and I went on a quest for something that would work.

I ended up having to borrow MORE money (this time from the parents) and drove out to Abbotsford, just over 30 kms (19 miles) away. The Petsmart didn't have any real solutions either, just a bottle holder that she said would go over the top, you put the lid back on and Bob's your uncle. (Like my Mum needs another brother??) So, I buy that and go home.

I was right to be dubious. The way the bottle sat, the holder sat, AND the lid of the aquarium sat.. even if I bent the holder about to fit over the side, i wouldn't be able to get the lid on! And while the furry felons have yet to figure out how to get to the top of their new home, I don't doubt they will very quickly! Especially if I put a shelf in there for them! So - I threw in the towel and went to bed.

Unable to sleep I got up and started mucking about. I had two bottle wire holder thingys. (Y'know the bit that goes around the water bottle to attach to the wires of the cage?) I had twist ties. Surely I could do SOMETHING. After application of pliers, profanity, and ingenuity, the water bottle now hangs from the metal screen lid and is within drinking range. Now if I can just get them to stop tipping their food crock about..

Over all, I think the aquarium is a better home for them. If for no other reason than it's darn harder for them to chew out of and they can't fling the discarded shells and bits from their food every which way. (Again - I give them time to figure out how to shove it out the top.)  Best yet - the freaking wheel no longer thumps loudly every time they run on it!  (It would bounce against the bottom of the plastic cage.) 

Its a good thing Sage and Scout trained me to be outsmarted by cute furry things on a regular basis or this could have been a real blow to my ego!


  1. Reminds me of the gerbils my sister once had--a couple of them were real Houdinis; if you didn't have the lid of their tank weighed down (and every so often, my sister didn't), they'd get out and cause mayhem. They never missed an opportunity, either--any time my sister took that lid off, they would watch her like a hawk to see if they would get a chance to escape.

  2. I'm so glad the little furries wound up ok! I decided recently that glass aquariums are far better for rodents than any other option. My friend called me this summer in the middle of the night (ok it was 8 am), and said, I found a mouse stuck in an adhesive mouse trap in the sweltering heat, I'm coming over, we're saving it. We waited til the local pet store opened, bought a cage, came home, transferred mouse, and went out for breakfast. We went out afterwards, Jon went home and was like, the mouse is GONE. still have no idea how the little bugger got out but after that we took the mouse to the woods.

    Glass can't be scaled, bent, or chewed. Seems like the only logical choice.

    I used to have these mesh triangles for my lizards that had little suction cups that attached to the side of the cage, so the lizzy could climb up a bit. I can find out what they're called if you're interested.

  3. Thank you, Christina. :) I suspect it was a Rabbit Guy who pointed me your way. :)