Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gerbil update

This is Stacy...

And this is Lilly.

They've been quite the hit at our house. It's like Gerbil TV. I catch the kids, and even myself, spending large amounts of time watching them run around, play with each other, and chew up cardboard. (They love toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes.) They don't mind being held, but they're so curious that they mostly just want to squirm out of your hands and explore.

Gerbils have been a good choice for our first family pets. We clean their cage once a week and there is seldom an odor by then, unless you put your face right in the cage. After buying the cage and equipment, the ongoing costs seem to be very low. It's been about a month and the small bag of food we got has lasted all this time. They only eat about a tablespoon of food per day, plus the vegetables and fruits we give them. They like pears, apples, carrots, celery, and grapes, so far. Lettuce doesn't seem to be one of their favorites. We made a list of the foods that are safe for them to have, and the kids are keeping track of which ones they like best. Their favorite treats are raisins, Cheerios, Rice Krispies, and sunflower seeds. It's so fun to give them treats that we've had to strictly ration ourselves to keep the gerbils from putting on too much weight.

The kids have been happy to do the daily water checks, feed the gerbils, and help with cleaning the cage. So far, anyway!

Mike is the one who hasn't wanted pets for a long time, and even though he gave his okay to the gerbils, it was reluctant. He still jokes about giving them back to the Humane Society. But I've caught him watching them, or commenting on something they do, and I think deep down, secretly, he thinks they're cute too.


Lisa said...

Did I ever tell you about my little brother who traded his one big gerbil for the-kid-across-the-street's four baby gerbils? He thought that was a great deal. It was days before my parents noticed. And then it turned out that there were males and females and we had lots and lots of gerbils.

But the point of this story is that gerbils like to "gerbil" -- that's the word my dad uses to describe constant redecorating and moving stuff around. The gerbils were in a glass terrarium (probably just a leaky old fish tank) and my dad and my brother layered 2" of shavings, then a piece of glass that was as wide as a the terrarium but not as long, then another 2" of shavings, ten another piece of glass, then topped it off with shavings. They threw some toilet paper and paper towel tubes in there. The gerbils would spend all night building elaborate tunnels and stashes. We could watch it all through the glass. It was really cool -- they made a food stash on the 2nd level and hid their babies on the bottom level. Every night, they'd redo the tunnels.

Made it harder to clean the cage and took more shavings, but good, cheap entertainment. You could probably do the same thing with cardboard.

Andrea M said...

I too had gerbils when I was a young girl. My first one was named "Twinkie...he died the day before I went to Disneyland the first time when I was in 3rd grade. Then there was Muffin.....he too died after three years, which I think is a long life in gerbils. Then the last one was Buttons. He only lasted about 18 months. I am glad that the kids are enjoying their new pets. Gerbils are easy to care for and are super fun to watch. Have a fun time with them.

Reg said...

My kids were born into a family of pets! 2 Beagles and 2 cats! The boys were hissing and barking before they were speaking! LOL. Pets teach great responsibility, service and love! Glad you are having fun! Do they have Christmas Stockings yet?