Lennon

lennon

At this point my blog has become a holder of memorials. I brought home so many furry friends month after month of each other. I suppose I should have been more prepared for this to also come to an end back to back. I’m at the point where I’m kind of in a numbness. Which also affects my ability to express myself well. But I know these memorials finalize things for me. Help. And so, I must put down a few words to honor Lennon.

Lennon, I named you after one of my favorite musicians. John Lennon. Anyone who knows me knows this was a high honor to be named. And I adored you as much as your brother. You two were so special to me. I felt that I rescued you both from that store room in a tiny plastic container of the pet store. And I think it made you both much more special to me than I would have expected You and Mercury were a new experience for me. I wasn’t sure what I’d think of Gerbils. Though I researched a great deal before bringing you both home I also knew you were unlike hamsters. It was fascinating getting to know you two. Slowly but surely earning your trust. Our mutual respect of one another. I did not handle you all too much as you did not appreciate it. But you would come take treats out of my hand and hop back in the cage. We had an understanding. And I earned a few “gerbil smiles” in your lifetimes. I will never forget them.

You were the nurturing one. You doted on your brother. And that is why without him I do not think you could carry on. You became depressed and listless with no one to care for. No one to fuss over. Though seemingly healthy. I think your heart was dying every day since Mercury’s passing.  For you were always washing Mercury and always cuddling on him. When Mercury was sick you groomed him and fussed over him and then you buried him with such respect and reverence. I am so sad that you did not have a brother to do that for you. Instead you had to bury yourself.

Did you have whatever illness that Mercury had? Did you die of grief? I will never know. But you are in peace now. Now you are buried beside your brother by the peach tree in the back yard. Rest in Peace.

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They’ve come a long way

 photo (2) The gerbils haven’t been in a playpen in too long. Rectifying that ASAP. They had a ball in here for an hour. I did a few switcharoos in there. Decided to get them to try out a Flying Saucer. Lennon attempted a few times but gave up. They are just not exercise toy Gerbils.

photo (1) photo

When I first brought home these brothers they were completely terrified of humans. They had been kept in the back of a store room in a TINY container with a chewed up plastic igloo house and a sprinkle of wood shavings. They were completely unfamiliar with people.

It took over a year and a half for them to truly become tame. I didn’t want to rush them. When I tried to at any given time it would upset them so much that they would back peddle. I realized that I would have to let them be. Just as they were. And I still adored them no matter what. Oh, they would come up to take treats from my fingers gladly and unafraid. But try to touch them and *zoom*. But something changed. It seemed almost overnight they were slowing down. Not easy to startle. Gained some weight. I thought – what the heck! – and attempted to pick one of them up. No trying to bolt. Just sort of letting it happen. I then gently placed them down and would attempt again every day. To the point where I was able to cradle them in my arms for a moment. Always giving them a treat they love (yogies) afterward.

So, nowadays it’s a new thing to be able to let them into playpens without it traumatizing them.

They’ve come a long way. I’m so proud of them!

Busy!!

20140715-172226-62546695.jpg I feel terrible that I am letting my blog go to the wayside. Our move is approaching quickly and just so much other life related things but I miss my space here!! All my critters are well. The gerbils bin was not safe enough. As their substrate got higher they were reaching a curve and groove at the top and gnawing on it. I broke down and got a Really Useful Box for a cheap $14 dollars with Amazon points. Normally for this size (64 litre maybe? I cannot remember!) it is about $26. Not bad for such a well made, thick and sturdy box. The inside is smooth and flat with no grooves for the boys to gnaw on. I hadn’t planned for the topper (a cage top to a small commercial cage) to fit so perfectly on top of the lid. As if it was made to sit there. This is smaller than the last but they have slowed down a lot. ( I will have had them for 2 years in September I think) It will do well for our travel over halfway across the country and for the limbo before and after the road trip. My sweeties before the cage change.

 

20140715-174241-63761839.jpg   video of my sweets

Kabobs always a hit with the gerbils

It’s been too long since I showed off my gerbil boys! Lennon and Mercury. Or made a post about them in general. I am around them the most of my rodents and yet I post the least about them!

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My gerbils are often bored. I seem to not take enough time coming up with new enrichment for them. But let me tell you! I cannot find a decent gerbil forum to save my life. One that actually talks about set ups and toy making. Ideas!!! I need ideas! Gerbil communities seem to focus on breeding. There seems to be less discrimination in these forums and groups I find for most matters. They aren’t as concerned about gerbil nutrition either. Pretty much they love their gerbils. This is very obvious. But it doesn’t make for much of an educational, inspirational or helpful group. It’s another “hey look at my cute gerbil babies” group.

SO I really have to google long and hard on images to get ideas for gerbil enrichment other than toilet paper/loo rolls. Find nothing! So I just stick to the kabob toy as a standby. I made an assortment of chews for them. And last minute cut a cup out of an egg carton and put Cheerios and yogies inside it for them to work to get to. It was a hit! I like how polite my boys are. They always take turns.

October 2013 Cages of the Rodents of Hammy Happenings Tour!

Alrighty! October’s Cage Tours of all my rodent babies. And of course – pictures of my rodent babies! All of these pictures were taken today and tonight except the one of Bob. The picture I took of him tonight wasn’t so great. But I had taken the one I posted a few days or so ago and love it.

OKAY THEN! So!

Let’s start with Penny. Ladies First! She had been taking a nibble at her chews.

penny chews pennys cage collage

Penny is in a Marchioro Kevin 82cm Cage. I purchased this cage for $119 at PetStore.com but it is also available at ThatPetPlace.com. It usually ranges between $119-$134. In the United States it’s one of the best sized cages you can get for any species of hamster but especially Syrian’s. It has 7mm bar spacing so ideal for as big as Syrians to as tiny as Mice and Chinese Hamsters.

Up Next! Bob having a moment beneath the toad stools

bob toad stools bobs cage collage

Bob is in the Ware Luxury Rabbit Cage. It retails a bit over $100 bucks. I got mine used for $20. It has 1” bar spacing so it needs to be meshed for hamsters. This is an awesome cage. It has casters and opens from the top and a large front door. The tray slides out for easy cleaning and then slides back in. I wish I could find another just like this for Penny. The height is much less scary than the Mamble which I had her in before. It’s long and narrower so it takes up less space without sacrificing footprint.

Now Strawberry as he lounges in his space pod.

strawberry space pod sb cage collage

Strawberry is my eldest hamster (I think!). He’s a hybrid Cambells/WW or “Russian” hamster. He has slowed down. Looks great. Healthy. Eating and such. But really not very active.  I have plenty for him to do now. And I love his “retirement” cage. A Grreat Choice Pet Home for Small Animals cage from Petsmart. It’s 24 inch long, 15 inch wide, 14 inch tall. Below the RSPCA guidelines for a dwarf hamster cage. It’s suitable for a retirement cage for a dwarf and honestly, it depends on the hamster. Strawberry has never liked large cages. I’ve tried. He has been really happy in here so far. I find it easier to interact with him and get him out and check on him in this too. And it’s easier to make a jungle gym for him in there. He loves to climb though I can tell he’s struggling with it nowadays. The high base is ACE for my little digger. He has epic tunnels going on around the entire cage.

 

Gabriel’s Turn! He likes to meditate and other business in his sand box.

gabriel sand gabriels cage collageMy Chinese hamster is also older. In fact he probably is older than Strawberry but I will never know. He is adopted with barely any known history. I’m his 3rd and final home! He is in the FOP Gabbia Tamburino Linera Natura – a hybrid of a tank and cage. I had hammocks and suspension ladder toys and the like going on in here and other cages I tried putting him in – he had no interest. Today I decided to leave the top grill off (the grid lid) because he cannot climb out. This gives me better view of him from above and I don’t have to meddle with lifting it up and putting it down (it’s loud because it needs a handle). Anyway, he prefers his environment low to the ground and with plenty of hideouts. He does like to climb driftwood and such. I go with a forest floor type of habitat for him.

Finally, for the hamsters –  the Roborovski’s Snow & Patch! Having their nightly sand bath.

snow sand

patch sand

robos cage

The Roborovski brothers were separated due to my ignorance. I began with them together when I brought both home from the shop. I had one wheel. Multiple platforms. One house. If you are to keep your robo’s social due keep in mind – no platforms. A home and toy for each. Two Robo’s = two wheels, two food bowls, two houses. Or some will say better to have no houses but instead numerous hide outs. By the time I realized my mistake it was too late. They were drawing blood. Snow reminds me of this whenever I see the sections taken from his ear by Patch’s past nips. So, I did a DIY cage out of a book shelf that a neighbor was throwing out. It was a dollhouse style bookshelf. I simply put vinyl tiles down for the floor. Contact paper along the walls. And made a partition that is removable for clean out. It’s also vinyl and is attached from the inside with heavy duty velcro. They cannot climb out. I forgot the measurements but it’s as long as Bob’s rabbit cage and a little narrower in width compared to his. It’s the most space they’ve ever had and it’s easy to clean and fun to and easy to watch them. They’ve never been happier!

Last but not least: My Gerbil’s Mercury and Lennon! Waiting patiently for their treat. They also give me kisses!

gerbils posinggerbils cage collage

My gerbils have sampled many a layout/aquarium. I had them originally in a tall 28 gallon. Then 20 long. Then a 110 qt Bin cage. And finally a 40 long. Then I DIY’d a topper to put on top. I change around their set up every time I clean out. I have large pieces of drift wood I trade out each time to keep it fresh. Various tunnels and bridges and such they bury down into the bedding. You can barely see the current drift wood I put in there. It was a smaller piece than usual. In the topper they have water bottles, a sand pot where they do all their business. A Gnawsome hut to chew on and they prefer to snack within with the treats I give them. The topper has 2 floors. Or two separate “lofts” where I put their food dish. Or just for a perch and look out. They are pretty spoiled methinks. They are worth it. My little daytime buddies!

And that is the October 2013 cage tour of the Rodent’s of Hammy Happenings!

Snoozing gerbils and Mercury’s AWOL Adventure

As many know I change around the gerbils layout every couple weeks. I put the burrowing box back in and filled it with substrate and did a few inches throughout the rest of the tank with a lot of hideaways to see what they would do with that. They love the hideaways. If they aren’t in the topper chewing up cardboard and eating then they are climbing around the driftwood and on top and inside the hideaways and pausing to watch us like little “creepers” I affectionately call them.

But a new thing is sleeping by the front of the glass where they know we see them and where my kids play right beside. They still aren’t gerbils that like to be held so I still don’t try to but they are tamer in that they feel absolutely safe and content sleeping somewhat exposed to us!

I snapped photos of them from a couple separate days because I thought watching them sleep was so cute. I wasn’t used to being able to see them when they sleep.

Keep in mind I usually have at least 7 inches substrate but this time they have about 12 inches in a burrowing box. Like I said I do change things around and like to give them the job of making their own substrate from hay and cardboard for stimulation in natural behaviors.

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A week ago for the very first time I had a loose gerbil. And I was very fortunate. I have been waiting to see if there was vulnerability in the design of the topper door. The door because it’s steel mesh and the topper is mesh there is a little warping. And so there was a gap even when fastened shut. Mercury discovered this apparently.

We were watching a program on TV and then I saw a rapid movement and a blur of black and knew immediately that it was Mercury. That was also when I noticed Lennon frantically digging and jumping about the tank and topper. He was searching for his brother!

I yelped out “loose gerbil!” And immediately closed off the area where I knew he was.

I eventually coaxed him into a large plastic cup and put him back. He seemed so relieved to be returned and Lennon was over the moon to have his buddy back. Mercury went immediately to his food bowl. I have no idea how long he was out if long at all. The last time I saw him was the evening before or maybe that morning. They have been lazier lately and so it wasn’t unusual for me not to notice during the day. They become most active around late afternoon and early evening currently.

I am just relieved because he was in an area with a lot of electrical wires and could have chews them. And I don’t trust that my dog wouldn’t kill him. I would have been heartbroken.

Needless to say I have adjusted the security of their topper door.