If you have an aversion to domesticated rodents, you may want to skip this post. I’ll be back with yarn and knitting in a few days, but for now, this little episode of “The Things we do for our Kids,” just had to be recorded…
If you read about the dramatic Christmas save of 2016, you’ve probably been wondering about Captain Whiskers. (And if you didn’t read that post, you might ought to.) Maybe you’ve been hoping for an update, but were afraid to ask. My friends, I have good news. Captain Whiskers is alive and well….
And in fact, after a brief courtship he was married (in God’s eyes, as my mother would say) to a certain “Miss Lavender” late last fall. (Shortly thereafter, Captain Whiskers returned to life with his brother, and longtime companion, “Cream of Wheat.”)
Thought their marriage was brief, it was fruitful and 24 days later six blind, hairless, ugly cute babies were born.
You might be wondering how this all came about. Who is Miss Lavender? Why is Ginny breeding gerbils? Or maybe these just seem like normal everyday events. I have no idea anymore what’s normal and what isn’t. Maybe everyone breeds gerbils and they’re just keeping it a secret because they don’t want to seem weird.
Anyway, here’s the story:
Last year, Larkspur told me about a plan that she and her friend Josie had devised: to acquire a female gerbil to mate with Captain Whiskers in an effort to continue the noble bloodline (Josie’s words) of “Willow the Gerbil.” I thought it seemed like a reasonable idea. (Willow belonged to Josie, was her favorite gerbil, was Captain Whiskers’ father, and has crossed the rainbow bridge. Hopefully I haven’t lost you. I really should draw a family tree.) So one fateful day in early October, I took Larkspur to the pet store and we bought Miss Lavender in hopes that Willow’s bloodline might be continued…
I wasn’t expecting the babies to be so cute. Especially based on their day one appearance. But once the fur came in, they were pretty darling.
On day 19, the babies’ eyes opened and Josie arrived to choose her royal pair.
About four weeks later, the babies were ready to go to their new homes. A playdate was scheduled and after an afternoon exploring the woods, we said goodbye to four of the six babies.
Oh, but it doesn’t end there. No, no, no… I haven’t told you about Giuseppe yet.
Our litter of noble gerbils contained five females and one male. (Larkspur told me again and again that first time mamas usually only have a few babies but Miss Lavender is an over achiever, I guess.) We kept one of the little girls to be a companion to Miss Lavender, and the other four went in pairs to Josie and another friend, but that left us with an oddball male named Fernando, to whom of course Larkspur had become very attached. Gerbils need to be in pairs to be truly happy (same sex pairs for obvious reasons), so I did the sensible thing, the only thing, and contacted a local hobby breeder about getting a friend for Fernando. Because breeding gerbils leads to needing more gerbils somehow. Trust me when I tell you that I didn’t expect it to…
On Giuseppe’s homecoming day, I met the gerbil breeder in a grocery store parking lot (for the sake of convenience) and we had the loveliest of chats about gerbils and genetics and how bizarrely interesting the whole gerbil scene is. She shared that she was taking a large group of her own gerbils to a gerbil show in Maryland at the end of the month. I laughed and told her, “You know they make movies about people like you, right?” And we both had a good laugh. (I was thinking of this movie which is about chickens, but the premise is the same. I loved that movie, by the way.)
Fernando and Giuseppe now live on our homeschooling table and do an excellent job of distracting everyone from their lessons. And while this has all been more fun that I ought to admit, I don’t plan on breeding gerbils again in the near future. Please hold me to that.
p.s. In all seriousness, gerbils make lovely, relatively low maintenance pets. Sharing just in case the question of gerbil ownership has been weighing heavily on your mind lately… 🙂