I still remember the gerbils I had as pets when I was a kid. I didn’t get my first dog until I was 12 so I always had small rodents as pets; mice, a psychotic hamster(that escaped from it’s cage and got stuck in the furnace vent and died and the stench of rotting carcass wafted thru the house for a YR), 2 Guinea pigs( I was allergic to),but mainly gerbils. All my rodent pets had short life spans however, as they all died of that “Wet Tail” disease and it was very contagious too so once one of them got it then it wasn’t long until they all did. I would breed my mice and gerbils as well and it wasn’t long until I had several of them and it got to a point where I had to divide them up into 2 cages: males and females! I saw them being born and sadly I have seen the mothers or fathers EATING the babies which really grossed me out and for some reason they’d always start eating them from the snout first. It was the most disgusting thing ever! I also remember how my grandmother HATED them(she called them “Disgusting little rodents”) and would refuse to hold them and wanted nothing to do with them, when I would go to the park or Centre Island I would pack them up and take them out with me for the day in a square plastic lunch pail with holes poked in it and cedar shavings put inside; sort of like carry-on luggage!
There was this one time when one of the male gerbils bit off half of one of the female’s tails in a fight and it was really bleeding and part was hanging off the end so I used a lighter and cauterized it to stop the bleeding and it did heal up ok and she was fine; she just ended up with a tail half the usual length( but from that point on it was easy to tell which one was her) and there was one time that one of them got loose,too, and I looked all over for it and it was hiding under the couch and when I stepped in that area it bit onto my big toe and wouldn’t let go, and I kept shaking my foot to make it let go but it didn’t and my mother hit it with a jar to stun it and it eventually did let go but my toe was squirting blood all over; it must have hit a vessel and it hurt like hell! They have VERY sharp teeth!! They’re also nocturnal and I’d hear them running around on their exercise wheel during the night as I was trying to sleep and it would go “squeak, squeak, squeak!” all night! I easily had 15-20 of them at any given time and I can’t remember most of their names but “Moses” “Emmanuelle” “Romania” and “Jasper” still stick out. I had alot of fun with my gerbils and many fond memories of them. I was an only child( and very lonely) so I doted on my gerbils and they were my companions.