"How I Got Into Gerbils..."
An interesting topic came from the AGS message board. A question was asked on how you got into gerbils. There were tons of interesting stories. So I captured them and put them here for all of us to read. If you have an interesting story on how you got into gerbils, email me and I will be more than happy to post it here. It is long but luckily most of is just text.
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 07:39:22 -0800 (PST)
From: Trina <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I was just wondering how everyone here got into gerbils?
How I became interested in gerbils (updated),
I became interested years and years ago when I was still in school. One of my teachers had them as a class pet and I immediately fell in love, A few years later, I decided to get a pair, unfortunately the pet store no longer sold gerbils because of the mangers experience with a mother gerbil eating her pups, he thought this was cruel so he stopped selling them (yes, very odd) A few weeks later I tried a different pet store, and they had the color I wanted (spotted black) unfortunately there was only one. After a few days of reading about gerbils on the web, I decided to get him a friend.
I had read so much about breeding and I thought it would be a great experience for me, so after some deep consideration I decided to get a female. I went to another petstore and got Princess; a spotted polar fox female. I introduced them after I came home from the pet shop, I waited 1 hour and they were already sleeping together. A few weeks later after I had come home from visiting family 3000 miles away, I peeked in the cage and there were 5 healthy pups.
Princess and Oreo had 1 more litter were only one pup came. I plan on breeding again shortly.
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 08:25:31 -0800 (PST)
From: JCHBlock <JCHBlock@Yahoo.com>
Some of the scientists at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, where Stuart was getting his post- doctoral diploma, were doing psychological research on gerbils and after the experiments were over, some of the scientists took gerbils home as pets. Stuart discovered them then. At that point, they were still very new to the
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 08:33:11 -0800 (PST)
From: Sara <email@example.com>
That is a good question. I got into gerbils after seeing them in the petstore, actually Earl May. I fell in love with this one female who was brown and black all over (later I found out that these are Nutmegs)!! I am one of those people that when I get a new pet I want to know everything I can about them. I found the AGS website and that gave me all sorts of new information. I also found the e-mail address of the only breeder registered in my area, Michelle (Double Star Gerbils). I went to see her and was just amazed with how cute these animals were and how friendly. I purchased Cosmo, my Schimmel, who is just the best. Caramel ended up being pregnant from the petstore, and the sight of those little ones got me started!!!
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 09:41:27 -0800 (PST)
From: Emily <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Originally I got into gerbils when I was 6 or 7; don't really remember exactly how old I was lol. My dad had brought home a white mouse for me when I was 4, and I was heartbroken when he died. So, my dad, being the wonderful father that he is (lol) bought me two gerbils from Wal-Mart (way back when they still owned them...well, not that long ago, I am only 20 lol). Well, typical "pet store" story, one morphed into a male! I got up to around 20 gerbils and then my mom made me give all of them to the local petstore; because Wal-Mart couldn't sell them any more....I only kept three. When all of those passed, I didn't have any pets (rodent wise) until about mid June last year. My boyfriend let me pick out two gerbils (he knew that I was going to breed them). I picked out a pied argente (Nutmeg) and an extreme mottled black (Marbles). Marbles has fathered many pups, with many females, but I have retired both of them from quote unquote breeding.
Date: Mon, 07 Nov 2005 18:58:14 -0000
From: "Diane" <email@example.com>
For me it started a little over a year ago. Steve and I live in an apartment. I wanted a pet so much. Dogs and cats were out so I started research on the little ones. I discovered that gerbils were the best plus one of my co-workers is a gerbil breeder. She said I can have 2 for no cost. I saw the babies for me to choose and fell in love. I have been addicted to gerbils every since. The AGS has been very helpful.
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 11:21:21 -0800
From: "Wendy" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I got a gerbil around age 8. She was pretty friendly. I named her Julie, she was an agouti. Soon after my Dad figured out she needed a friend and we went and got another agouti female, I named her Sabrina. She was the best gerbil *ever*. I credit that to my Dad who brought her home, sat me on the couch with him, and encouraged me to let her run all over us and the couch without bugging her. A great introduction!
They lived happily together about 3 years. One strange thing, the dominant one, Julie, would "thump" tho no babies ever emerged I suppose that was herasserting her protection over Sabrina?
After they died I got two more, both agoutis again. I named them Rosie and Robin. The first day one of them bit my finger, and hung on for dear life as I swung my arm trying to get her off.
Date: Mon, 07 Nov 2005 20:48:14 -0000
From: "Kathy" <email@example.com>
When I was in the 7th grade my science teacher had gerbils breeding as a part of the curriculum. At the end of the year we were all allowed to get permission to take home a pair each. Mine were supposed to be both boys, but turned out one was male and the other female. They were all kept in a large colony in a 50 gallon aquarium made to look like their natural environment. So we had no idea who was from who. Mostly because they were all Agouti. Brought them home and one month later the little one (female named Max) had a litter of babies. Stubby (a male with half a tail) was a proud poppa. I knew nothing about these first gerbils and so had them in an old bird cage. WE also had cats. I am sure you know what happened to my little family :(
My mom felt bad about it so we went to a petstore and got a fat lonely female. Brought her home with a tank and a screen lid. Gave her a mac & Cheese box which she did not leave for the next day. . . guess why! She was fat because she was pregnant! I named her Roxie; she was my first tux black. She began my first bout with breeding; I found the AGS a few years later in 98. When I lost some gerbils to health problems I switched bedding, in 99 I stopped dealing with the AGS as I got too busy working and in 2002 I lost all of my original line but one 3 year old male and 6 4 year old females. The male died November last year after living with my mom.
The girls died 2 years ago in December. Last December my hubby decided I need a new pet and surprised me with mice. All of which died of unknown causes. 4 months later I decided I wanted to get gerbils again and started looking, I had forgotten the AGS. Until Dani contacted me that she could adopt to me some breeders and sell me some cages :)
Thanks Dani, my life has been so much better since they came back into
my life :)
Kansas City Kenne
Date: Tue, 08 Nov 2005 22:44:20 -0000
From: "Cathy" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: how did you get into gerbils?
I first got into gerbils by chance. I'd wanted a cat, but wasn't allowed to have one. When I was in first grade (1968) my father came home from teaching at
as a thank-you gift for watching them. My mother used to let us get a breeding pair once in a while, too, and we kept the babies. We didn't know much about them when we started, but got better as time went on.
I've had gerbils ever since, although they didn't live with me for 2 years when I was away in college. We have 8 of them now, but have had as many as 20 at once.
Date: Tue, 08 Nov 2005 23:59:15 -0600 From: "Tana" <email@example.com> Subject: RE: how did you get into gerbils? As a kid, I thought white mice were sooo cute and I begged and begged my parents for one. My mom did some research and we decided gerbils would be better, even though they weren't white (then). I really enjoyed having them. We got a male and female and I hit all my friends up for homes for the pups! Plus whatever store we got them from took pups from us. I think they had about 50 pups total before we finally ran out of homes and had to separate Mom and Dad. That pappa gerbil, Whiskers, was really something. Sweet as can be, except if there were pups then you didn't dare put your hand in there! Chomp! I remember the mama gerbil, Honey, loved to be held and petted, unusual for a gerbil. She'd literally fall asleep in my hand being petted, and I could slowly turn her upside down and pet her tummy. Then she'd wake up and realize she was upside down and get all indignant. :) Anyway when I got married Mark was working evenings for awhile and I got a bit lonely in the house by myself at night. Didn't want a big animal, so we picked up some gerbils. I didn't really seriously get into them though until I found the Gerbil Mailing List, and then later, the AGS was formed. As I learned more and more about them I realized all the mistakes I'd made with them in the past, when nothing but bad books were available: keeping them alone, inadequate housing, bad bedding ... I felt bad but told myself I did the best I could with what I knew at the time. Somehow wherever their little souls are now, I think they know that and forgive me my ignorance. Tana and The Little Rascals
Date: Tue, 08 Nov 2005 23:59:15 -0600
From: "Tana" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: how did you get into gerbils?
As a kid, I thought white mice were sooo cute and I begged and begged my parents for one. My mom did some research and we decided gerbils would be better, even though they weren't white (then). I really enjoyed having them. We got a male and female and I hit all my friends up for homes for the pups! Plus whatever store we got them from took pups from us. I think they had about 50 pups total before we finally ran out of homes and had to separate Mom and Dad.
That pappa gerbil, Whiskers, was really something. Sweet as can be, except if there were pups then you didn't dare put your hand in there! Chomp!
I remember the mama gerbil, Honey, loved to be held and petted, unusual for a gerbil. She'd literally fall asleep in my hand being petted, and I could slowly turn her upside down and pet her tummy. Then she'd wake up and realize she was upside down and get all indignant. :)
Anyway when I got married Mark was working evenings for awhile and I got a bit lonely in the house by myself at night. Didn't want a big animal, so we picked up some gerbils. I didn't really seriously get into them though until I found the Gerbil Mailing List, and then later, the AGS was formed.
As I learned more and more about them I realized all the mistakes I'd made with them in the past, when nothing but bad books were available: keeping them alone, inadequate housing, bad bedding ... I felt bad but told myself I did the best I could with what I knew at the time. Somehow wherever their little souls are now, I think they know that and forgive me my ignorance.
Tana and The Little Rascals
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 01:23:35 -0600
From: michelle <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: how did you get into gerbils?
Hi.I got involved with gfeerbils over 5 years.I couldn't have pets (dogs or cats) where we lived.When I was little I was very afraid of gerbils.Theyscared
me.Can't imagine that now.Our petshop down the street,for some time only had blacks(wish I'd have grabbed them then,knowing what I have now.)After some time finally there were babies and colors I'd never seen before.I too found Donna's site and the ags.Learned and searched and read everything I could.Now I have 366 and can't imagine ever being without them.
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 06:28:54 EST
Subject: Re: how did you get into gerbils?
How I got into gerbils:
There once was a girl who had a boyfriend named Tom. Tom took her to his friends house every weekend so they could play dungeons and dragons and be big geeks. The house had a secret though, it held more than geeky boys with too much imagination, it also housed many dirty dishes that she thought were there from the 70's, a toilet that made you consider going down the street to the gas station instead, a cat named Murphy and many, many gerbils. These gerbils were kept in wire cages piled on top of dirty laundry and in 10 gallon fish tanks with a few generations of them in mixed sex groups because he was under the impression that brothers and sisters would not mate. The girl was horrified by the smell and condition of these "dirty rodents" and would avoid going in the room where they lived at all costs (and would hold her need to use the facilities until she got home!).
One day she moved into a new apartment with Tom, having been an animal lover and owner her whole life she found herself without any! After talking things over with Tom she started to look for the perfect pet that would fit within the restraints of their small living space. While searching the web and
thinking up new and interesting reasons to tell Tom they couldn't get a ferret (she is secretly afraid of them!!) she found a great little web page by the name of ABC Gerbils. She was both amused that people actually bred gerbils and horrified after realizing that the little animals piled in Tom's friends house were in fact being grossly neglected and mistreated. After talking to Tom and his friend they decided to help him a little by taking a pair to their own home as pets, bringing him some nice carefresh to help him clean some cages and taking a late night trip to Walmart to purchase additional tanks and supplies to separate some of the groups so they had more room.
Badger and Gaz came to live with the girl and Tom, Badger was a lovely black and white little girl with a feisty personality and Gaz was a hyper spotted dove, they were given a large wire rat cage to live in as the girl felt so bad about the conditions they came from. Every day was a new adventure for the gerbils, Tom and the girl until one day when she went to clean the cage for the first time and Badger needed coaxing out of the nest which was very unlike her, being the first time having the cage cleaned the girl thought it was just nerves. She took the girls out and placed them in a cleaning carrier and brought the cage to the kitchen trash bucket. She started by pulling the toys and treats out and was ready to dump the bedding in the rubbish when something made her put her hand in the nest to make sure there were no hidden toys. No toys were found but there WAS a very startling surprise which made her leap back and squeak at first thinking the little pink wriggling things in there were worms before common sense came back and made her realize that she was now a grandma! Badger and Gaz were both ladies but as Tom's friend was badly misinformed of the birds and bees nature of rodents Badger had been "with gerbil" when the girl had picked her out and brought her home! After frantically emailing Donna from ABC gerbils and being reassured that although they were inbred they would not have 6 heads and had a chance of living a normal gerbily life she was able to settle down and enjoy the experience of raising them.
Shortly after that the rescues started to trickle in.
A few years later 40 or so gerbils bigger with a small breeding program and after having done some much needed rescue rehabilitations and emergency vet visits and seen some very nice successful re homes and adoptions by well informed and responsible people, Tom the girl and the herd of critters couldn't be happier. It just goes to show you the right information and help from a compassionate person (like Donna!!) can change your outlook on an animal:).....now if only Tom would get over his fear of rats!!!
Created on 08 November 2005, Stories are the property of the American Gerbil Society.