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George, a 20 month-old male agouti gerbil

Welcome to my "Gerbil Diary". My name is George, and I'm the senior gerbil around here. I arrived with my son Michael in April 2004 after being adopted from a local small animal rescue centre. Life is pretty good here; our human is a real soft touch and provides us with all the necessities a gerbil needs, such as food, water, and endless varities of cardboard to reduce to shreds. If we stand up and wave at him for long enough he will even let us use him as a climbing frame, which is great fun. Our favourite trick is for one of us to run down his arm into our tank and then, just when he thinks playtime is over, the other one runs up. We can keep him occupied like this for ages!

I suppose you want to know about the rest of the gang? I live with my son Michael, a 16 month-old black gerbil. He's a handsome little chap but like all youngsters is prone to tantrums if he doesn't get his own way. I try to ignore these but it can be very difficult when your son and heir is kicking all the litter from the top shelf onto your head.

The 14 month-old triplets live across on the other side of the room. Marlon is a big (i.e. fat) glossy black gerbil, Spook is a lilac and Star is..... well, we're not quite sure what colouring Star is. Michael and I think he's a spotted sapphire, but our human is convinced that he is a spotted colourpoint pearl. I think he's been spending too much time looking at genetics tables myself! These three have apparently been together since birth, and were here when Michael and I arrived on the scene. They are good neighbours, very peaceful and well-behaved, although whenever I stand up in my tank and wave at them they never wave back. Star is obviously the 'big brother' of the group, as he's forever grooming his two brothers and is the only one who asks to get out to play on our human. Marlon likes having his head and ears stroked but young Spook still runs for the nest at any attempt to pick him up. He doesn't know what he's missing.....

The most recent additions arrived two weeks ago and have set up home in a large tank near to ours. They are Murphy and Pepsi, a pair of 6 month-old patched black/slate gerbils. They are settling in happily and seem like a nice couple. Murphy is a bit of a live wire, forever exploring his tank, gnawing on pieces of cardboard and digging away at the litter. Pepsi on the other hand is very calm, contenting herself with housekeeping, snacking and sleeping. From this and the attention and special diet she is getting from our human I think there may be youngsters on the way, so bang goes the neighbourhood! All that squeaking and squabbling..... it will be like those darn hamsters back at the rescue centre all over again. Can you get earplugs for gerbils, please?

20th Feb 2005:

I was right! Yesterday our human checked on us then went out to do some shopping. Two hours later he returned and started cleaning out Murphy and Pepsi's tank, only to find that one pup had already made an appearance. It was great fun watching him try to replace the litter, refill their water bottle and put some extra nest tissue in.... all at once. Michael says "Who needs television when there are humans to laugh at?" A second pup arrived some time later, and both Mum and her babies seem to be doing well. I haven't seen much of them but I can hear them squeaking away somewhere in their deep nest. Where are those earplugs?

24th Feb 2005

Our human tells me that the pups are growing fast and looking very well. That's nice, but I wish he would stop trying to peek into their nest every time he sees their parents out at their food dish or water bottle. What's so interesting about pups anyway? They don't do anything except lie about the bottom of the nest and squeak to themselves. We're far more exciting - Michael and I managed to move all the litter from our upper shelves onto the bottom of the tank and tip our food dish over while he was at work. I thought we'd get some sort of reaction but all he did was laugh, tidy everything up and let us climb on him for a few minutes. These baby gerbils are definitely making him soppy.....

26th Feb 2005

He's getting worse! We were woken from our midday nap today by strange burbling noises outside. When we went to investigate we found our human talking to his cupped hands. When he saw us watching him he opened his hands and there were the young twins, fast asleep. Of course we ignored him and found a toilet roll tube to play with, but Michael thought they looked very sweet. "Wait until they're a bit older and they're running around their tank playing all day," I told him. "You won't think they're so sweet then. I remember you and your sisters at that age!"

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