After the last of our pet mice passed on, the kids wanted to try something a little different, so we bought a pair of female gerbils from PetCo. One of them got sick a few days later, so PetCo replaced it with another female from the same litter. Or so we thought.
Small rodents are notoriously difficult to sex, so with all the pairs we’ve been inviting into our home, it was only a matter of time before we got one that was sexed incorrectly. When the new gerbil, Midnight, began chasing the old one, Twilight, around the cage, and when Twilight subsequently got much larger over the course of a few weeks, we knew what had happened.
Yesterday, I noticed that Twilight seemed a bit more svelte, so I went rooting around in her burrow and discovered the little pink blobs shown above, photographed with a quarter to show their size. I think there’s another one or two of them hiding in the litter that I didn’t get in the photo — I don’t want to dig around too aggressively to count them until they’re a little larger and less fragile.
We’re just pleased as punch to have new babies in the family without my wife having had to bear them. The kids are also very excited.
Tomorrow morning we’re going to visit PetCo, ask whether the babies need any special care, and ask what their policy is about taking back rodents born to parents they claimed were both the same sex. It’ll be fun to watch the babies grow up, but we have no intention of keeping five or six gerbils at once instead of the two we started with.
If you’re in the Boston area and are interested in a free gerbil or two when they’re weaned, please don’t hesitate to ask. One warning, though: no one in my family has any experience gerbil sexing, so if you take two, you may later end up figuring out what to do with some extra gerbils.