I haven’t yet introduced these two new girls here… Well, I’ve had them quite a while now, they were bought from Dobbies where I had initially assumed they were around 6 months old or so, but actually I’m beginning to think that mum might be a year+ old. Mainly due to her bulk, which isn’t normally seen in gerbils under 2 years old. These two are much larger than any gerbils I’ve had in a long time – I’d almost forgotten they could be so large! So it’s nice to see they have good size regardless of coming from a pet shop.
It’s funny because I still think of Sienab and Kobette as being my ‘babies’ when in fact they’re older than these two! But they’re only a fraction of their size; Kobette in particular is tiny.
At around Christmas 2011 I spotted mum in a tank and thought she was alone, but the assistant told me there were actually two in there; a mother and daughter. Sure enough when she went to the tank, daughter popped her head out. I left them there, thinking they’d have more chance of being sold as a pair (I’d planned to intro to Isi, if it’d be a loner). Then, when I returned in March, they were both still there and I decided I’d bring them home where they can have a better life with plenty of substrate and digging to do. They’re now almost fully competent with digging tunnels, but do still seem to favour corners – especially daughter, who spends far too much of her time scratching away aimlessly.
Daughter – I don’t really have official names for them. Only jokey ones; Snorkmaiden (maiden)
One of those times when I’m left smacking my head on the desk wondering why we’ve spent the past 10 years promoting gerbil husbandry, care, genetics and I go on the American Gerbil Society list and even the ex-president doesn’t have a basic grasp of gerbil behaviour or genetics; it just makes me wonder why we’ve spent so long trying to educate owners.
How can the supposed largest gerbil society still be over 10 years behind others?
Why are the American Gerbil Society still using cb? Which doesn’t even exist in gerbil genetics. Oh but it’s much too hard to type c(chm) instead.
Oh no, it took me an whole second longer to type.
The AGS has a lot to answer for imo as to why so many owners keep their animals in sub-standard conditions. Perpetuating the idea that gerbils are throw away pocket pets by being adamant that they are ‘happy’ in a 10 gallon tank when countries such as Austria and Switzerland by law require a minimum equivalent of around 50 gallons and at least 25cm of substrate. I realise this is not a law in the US, however these countries have deemed it so FOR A REASON.
Why ignore what other countries are doing? Why invent the wheel all over again? Just because the US, UK and other countries haven’t taken the time to impose such laws does not mean we can turn a blind eye and try to justify why keeping animals in smaller spaces without even a basic requirement of theirs – digging – is met.
AGS, it’s about time you sorted yourselves out, and opened your eyes.
How the months pass so quickly since I last posted!
It’s recently been brought to our attention that there are some health issues in the lines from Poland. After having repeatedly requested any sort of history of the gerbils brought from the continent, in all honestly it comes as little surprise that something else beyond the paralysis and epilepsy in the lines has popped up.
From what we can gather it’s been known for a while now that some gerbils are suffering from spots around the eyes, this is in all lines and not contained to only wavy lines.
I will not rant about husbandry or morals when knowing there are health issues but instead try to stick to experience and try to properly document what’s happening here.
Soon after being told about these eye spots, I discovered that two of mine were losing hair on their upper eyelid and it was looking a bit angry and sore. One – Jenny, began to swell somewhat and after around two or three weeks little spots appeared.
A trip to the vet was in store, along with the rest that were also showing symptoms. And a shot of antibiotics given to Jenny as she was the only one obviously suffering – the other just looked a little red but has not yet swollen up or got any worse if anything I’d say she looks better now without any intervention!
The antibiotic lasted a week and Jenny’s eyes definitely had an improvement and they no longer looked an angry red. However there was a spot still left, so another shot was given; this time supposedly lasting 2 weeks and we’re hopeful that the spot will have completely gone after the two weeks.
After speaking to the vet, we now believe that it’s possible the spots will go anyway, especially since they are reacting to the antibiotics. And we can only assume that it’s perhaps in some ways similar to a stye in humans.
Here’s the only photo I’ve managed clearly showing spots:
And this one shows the swelling and how the eye must at least be tender for her
I need to get some updated photos which show the eyes are now more of a natural light pink colour.
Also, the waved lines have now been split from my normal lines in an attempt to minimise any risk of contamination. I am very strict in my use of alcohol handwash between tanks, so know risks were already low but it’s easy for things like this to spread.
I’m sad to report that little Hazel has passed away; I’m not entirely sure of her age but I think she was only just over two, so this is a very early death for me as I’ve only had a couple of others die before their third birthdays previously.
She was found looking fluffed and listless, I grabbed her straight out to see if she was cold. I kept her in my hands for a good while to warm her up and set up a hospital tank with heat mat. Sadly she didn’t pull through.
Hazel when she first arrived home
And more recently, only around a week before she and Isi also declanned…
Over the past few days I’ve barely seen her, at all. Normally I’d see her out and about a fair bit; usually popping out for a pee and so on but today I think I’ve only seen her up and about once and I haven’t seen her go up into her topper for a sandbath in a good while now. We’ve also been noticing over the past couple of weeks that she isn’t eating all her food – she’s leaving quite a few things when normally all of it would be quickly scoffed – there’s been times when we went to feed and she still seemed to have so much around that we didn’t bother putting any more in.
It’s probably just old age because when I see her she doesn’t seem to have visibly lost any weight, I think she’ll be coming up to 3 just before my birthday in a couple of weeks.
I noticed a lovely long tunnel along the girls’ tank today and a tiny little hole going into one of their ceramic plant pots… I kept an eye on them thinking I might see them digging away and looking cute.
Sure enough along came Skye and starts digging. Then, after a little while; as I’d anticipated, Sienab and Kobette are most likely dug, or kicked out of the plant pot
The videos aren’t great as the battery for my camera was on charge so I had to use my phone instead… But I think you can get the picture, regardless.
I love in this one how Skye appears to kick Kobette out! Teehee.
So, Hazel and Isi also fought.
I’m at a loss to the trigger and both times I’ve seen no warnings of anything going on. In fact, recently they’ve been sleeping on the top of their substrate in a happy little pile looking all cute and cuddly. Mind, the same thing happened with Cole and Tye – they too slept up top and looked perfectly happy; we were even able to lift the lid quietly and stroke them whilst they slept then one day they suddenly fought.
On Monday I saw Isi was in their sleeping spot, I moved a little closer to her to see if Hazel was hidden underneath (she’s a big girl) and I noticed her fur around her side looked a bit scruffy and I thought perhaps it was greasy. I moved to a different side of the tank for a better view and sure enough could clearly see her chin fur had a reddy tinge to it.
They’re now both in hospital tanks with a heat mat to keep them warm so they can put energy into healing.
I haven’t really taken any photos of their injuries; it’s a bit macabre really. But I have managed a few cute sleeping videos of Hazel.