Gerbil Diary
An account of Stacy's pet shenanigans. She must be missing them by now, so I thought this would cheer her up. (Or alternately, she'll never let me near the poor things again)
Day 1
gerbils arrive. Much fear incase we drop them on the floor. They seem like cunning little creatures.
Day 2

Put scaredy in the ball. He's pretty good. Then tried with Kinky-tail. He repeatedly tried to ram-raid the washing machine.

Scaredy cat is a gerbil-ball expert. I think he should join the gerbil olympic acrobats. He got stuck in the pantry though, bit of a one way system there. Maybe he was trying to get to the mouse trap. Least i think he's safe from that in the ball.

Alex came to read me a story and asked whether they always sound like that. It doesn't really bother me, the toilet tubes stop them chewing the plastic, so its only the wheel going round.

Day 3

Woodstock is supposed to have a fly twice a week. So I opened the cage and chased him out. He wasn't very good at flying. Nearly landed in the bin. Then he hopped around a bit. Eventually he made it onto the work surface where Alex and I were making dinner. He squeaked at us each alternately. Dunno what he was trying to say. I think he's fat and unfit.

He actually did get some flying done. Flew straight at the projector screen ... *thunk* slid like a stone down the wall *whoosh* *crunch* ... silence. We plucked up courage to see whether he made it. He was standing by the skirting board peering around as though nothing had happened.

The next attempts at flying were more successful, did a narrow fly by my ear and perched on various things. He likes staring out of the window. Alex thought it would make him dissatisfied with his captivity, but woodstock got very frightened when alex tried to convince him to go back into the room. Unfortunately, he tried to fly through the window. Whenever I went near him I walked really slowly so as not to intimidate. You can really tell when he's frightened.

He had difficulty getting back into his cage, alex got him with a teatowel at 3 am. He didn't seem to mind the tea towel at all !!

I think kinky tail is bigger than scardycat.

Day 4
I phoned abi for a recipe for sweet potato mash. She told me that Canaries regularly die of shock, surprise and fear. Chasing them out of the cage is a BAD IDEA. ooops. She also said that all gerbils need hay. Where am I going to get hay? I told Scott. He said "long hay or short hay" ... how am I supposed to know?! Then he checked the price of hay in 'farmers weekly'. They really like their toilet tubes.
Day 5

Scott brough home some hay as a present to the gerbils. He'd seen it laying after some one had been mowing in our back garden. I don't know what that hay does to them, but they have stopped biting the plastic.

Took a video of gerbils. I'm convinced that kinky tail is twice the size of scardycat, but the video doesn't much show it. They didn't do anything interesting while i was filming. Typical.

Day 6

Woodstock definitely needs the exercise and he tweets at me and bites at his cage door when i come in. Alex was against another flying lesson but I persuaded him to let me open the door, and if the canary wanted to come out then he would. I opened it and he flew right out. I made him a landing platform so he can get back in the cage easier. He's much better at flying. I think he maybe didn't fly much in stacy's room, just because its not big enough for him to navigate easily.

Anyway, it was going quite well, until he got stuck between the wine bottles on the top cupboards. Alex was cooking dinner again, so I was worried he'd get too hot. He got out though, I think its his little hiding place. He didn't get frightened at all, until he stuck himself behind the radiator. This was a small disaster. I lifted the radiator off the wall to get him out, he has been a little squished. There was blood. He can still fly alright, but you can see an indentation of the corner of the radiator in his side. I wonder if it'll heal before Stacy gets back.

Day 7

Alex says Woodstock is not allowed out of his cage today.

Gerbils haven't needed any more toilet tubes. They must be using the hay instead. Have developed an easier way of getting them to go in the ball. Rather than trying to grab them, I place the ball near the hatch on the left and if they want to go for a roll, then they can. This is good, because then they get the choice also. Of course, i can't tell when they want to go back. I figured if they try to start digging in the ball, or if the 15 minute time limit is up, which ever comes first.

Alex handled the gerbils for a bit. They like it in his pouch at the front of his hoody.

Day 8

Alex says Woodstock is not allowed out of his cage ever again.

Went to the acorn petshop today. We're out of gerbil food. Also bought a syphon for the fishes. Duncan and I looked at the fish they had round the back. They have these 'glass' fishes ... completely transparent, very cool, but they look so fragile! I discussed the difficulties of canary catching with the shop assistant. He said they're tougher than they get credit for, one escaped into the shop once and tried to hide in the dog baskets. Then I remarked upon the strangeness of keeping nocturnal pets. I was informed that Gerbils aren't supposed to be nocturnal, Hamsters are. That's it! no more creeping around in the day trying not to disturb you now.

Day 9

Alex says Woodstock is maybe allowed out of his cage in Casey's room, if I stay and watch him, and get him back in the cage by myself. However, I couldn't find a way to cover that bare light bulb. I think I know woodstock a little now. He's bound to try and land on it. Its the only light in the room, I can't just switch it off.

Informed the gerbils that they are not nocturnal.

Kinky tail was on Duncan's shoulder and the other was in the ball. He (she?) loves it. but then the ball opened while it was on the floor. Thank goodness these are happy gerbils. Scardy didn't seem to want to run away at all, in fact it was easier to catch than when they're in the cage.

Day 10

Woodstock looks at me longingly. Alex has removed the landing ramp, because woodstock's not going flying again, and he's started to become a substance-abuser, sniffing the packing tape that held it up.

Is kinky tail pregnant? How can the gerbils see where they are going through that pink ball? ... I can hardly tell whether it has a gerbil in it!

Day 11

Woodstock loves Jimi Hendrix. He sings along.

Cleaned the gerbil house. Changed their bedding in the cage and bedroom. Smells much better now. I think they like it too. I gave them a toilet roll to chew to take their mind off the upheaval. They covered the water bottle with sawdust, and water seeped into it so I had to fill it again. Its not my fault if they want to live in a damp lump :(

Wonder if gerbils like bananas. Stuck some banana in their cage.

Day 12

Duncan put kinky tail in the ball but forgot to close the hatch. He did some work, made dinner, played some computer games, and Tim came round. As they were talking in his bedroom, scardy cat came bounding down the hall. He noticed he'd been spotted and reversed course. Scardy managed to outsmart Duncan and Tim for quite a while. Duncan put some food on his finger, and our acrobatics genius would just take it off his finger and eat it behind the fridge. So Duncan put the food further back on his hand. Scardy came round the side, grabbed the food, and ate it behind the fridge.

The stuff that happens while i'm away! meanwhile, I was busy capsizing in the Forth with Dave. I'll have to remind duncan that kinky tail isn't allowed in the ball for more than 15 minutes anyway. That sounded like more than 15 minutes to me.

Day 13
I went to work in the evening. The ball was wedged up against the cage. Duncan was at his computer when scaredy cat came to see him again. They had pushed the ball away from the cage and escaped. Both of them. Duncan picked up scaredy straight away and hunted kinky tail for a further half hour. First thing he thought of was to trip the killer mouse trap in the pantry in case the bait was more attractive to kinky tail than it is to the mice. Sounds like kinky tail was having fun taunting Duncan. Finally Duncan got him, and he bit. blood. When the two were reintroduced, i don't know if they were fighting, or horny or happy to see each other, but they had some very excited interaction.
Day 14
The gerbils don't like bananas. Removed the piece of banana. They have brought some of their bedroom tissue down into the main cage area. Today they seem intent on moving it back up again. Its very cool how they gather it in their arms and mouths. Saw kinky tail drinking from the water for the first time today. He drank ALOT. maybe not all the water went into the bedding. They were chewing the plastic again, so i got them some hay from the garden.
Day 15

Erm, They have moved almost all of their bedding from the bedroom down to the cage below. No one really understands this. Theories include a) they've had babies under there b) its a cushion for crash landing on to c) the bedroom is now the toilet d) its something to do with the hay i put in e) they just wanted a change f) they like digging tunnels g) the plan is to move the stuffing into the gerbil ball at the next opportunity. Anyway, it makes playing in the wheel a different game. One of them runs in the wheel with all the stuffing in there with him, the other runs underneath.

They've been very cute, drinking from the water together.