Sunny & Moomin

August 2018 - June 2020

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Anniversary Gerbils!

Today is our 27th wedding anniversary and what else do people do on their anniversary? Get gerbils of course!

I’ve been feeling very sad over the passing of Plum, the last of my family of six gerbils. Combined with the deaths of two of my rats and a big space on Derek’s desk, where our girls used to live, I was thinking about rehoming a little gerbil, who’d not had the best start in life. Looking around adoption websites I found a little girl, Lime who was just round the corner from us. So, we jumped on our bicycles and peddled round to meet her. Luckily for Lime she’d already found a home, but it left me thinking about how much I love having gerbils. So, I went snooping at the pet store and found two gorgeous boys. Before we’d even got back home I’d named them Sunny and Moomin. Derek wasn’t too sure about having baby gerbils, but it is was our wedding anniversary and what better gift than little critters! Once home we had a little think about the gerbils, and a cup of tea before heading back out in our car and two super sweet gerbils joined our family.

Sunny & Moomin

Sunny & Moomin

Moomin is about twice the size of little Sunny, so only time will tell how much they grow. For now though they are both very busy exploring their new home and discovering the gerbily joys of cardboard tubes.

A fear of heights

Sunny and Moomin's new home

Sunny and Moomin's new home

Things have not been going as smoothly as planned with our little gerbils. They are lovely and we adore them, but unfortunately they weren’t too keen on their cage. Our last cheeky little gerbils had a great time living in their multileveled Savic Habitat XL, and we thought our new guys would feel the same, they didn’t. After allowing time for Sunny and Moomin to settle in, we could see they were not happy. Sunny in particular was very nervous when accessing the higher levels of the cage.

Wanting our little guys to be happy and comfortable, I set about finding them the perfect cage. Over the years we’d had several Ferplast Duna Multy cages in various sizes and our gerbils have always loved them. Seeing as our new boys didn’t like heights, the single level cages seemed a great option. The cages come in three sizes. Ferplast had changed the largest size to have a lip around the bottom of the base, and with gerbils that is not a good idea, so we opted for the middle size. It is still a great habitat for two little gerbils, and being lighter than a tank we can still carry the cage around to let our little guys run around on the floor. Due to limited availability of the cage in the UK I had to order it direct from Ferplast. Even so it arrived within a week of ordering and we transferred Sunny and Moonin into their new home as soon as it was ready. The effect on the gerbils was instant and I am thrilled to say Sunny and Moomin are right at home in their new cage.

The boys are like different gerbils, Sunny in particular is super confident and it is amazing to see. He’s turned into a right cheeky little guy. It was difficult at first knowing how unhappy our boys were, but seeing how happy we have made them now… well it is a very special feeling.

Moomin's teeth troubles

Our little black gerbil, MoominOh my goodness more gerbil teeth trouble I’m afraid. This time it is our sweet, rather round boy, Moomin. We first noticed he wasn’t chewing cardboard, he wasn’t very interested to see us and was generally quite lethargic. Having experienced teeth problems in gerbils before, it was the first thing we checked and sure enough Moomin’s top teeth weren’t growing properly! This meant that not only was he having trouble chewing and eating, but his bottom teeth weren’t being warn down.

Even though we have been through this before with our sweet gerbil, Almond, who lived a long and happy life with no teeth, it was still a shock. Just taking a little critter, like a gerbil, to the vet is incredibly stressful. You have no idea how they will react. On top of that there is the difficult procedure of filing down their remaining teeth. When you think of the size of us humans and a little gerbil mouth, even with the smallest equipment it’s a difficult procedure. Luckily we were able to book Moomin in with the same vet who was so good at treating Almond.

Thank goodness our little Moomin was incredibly brave. The whole experience did knock him back a bit and he was very quiet for a couple of days. After a rest he bounced right back and was more than willing to eat all the extra, yummy fresh bread we were offering him. Cheeky Sunny wasn’t too impressed that he had to eat gerbil food, but I think he was just happy to have his brother back and looking a lot better.

As Moomin can no longer eat gerbil food, we are feeding him a diet of bread (a gerbil favourite), broken up sunflower and pumpkin seeds, plus the broken up bits of bran flakes we find at the bottom of the cereal box. All of which Moomin and Sunny are loving.

Moomin was always quite a chubby boy and his weight is nice and stable and he is happy and active. Even though he can’t chew it doesn’t stop little Moomin ‘play chewing’, where he goes through all the motions of chewing cardboard, he just never destroys it. Sunny is happy too, he is very close to Moomin and it means the world to him to have his brother to play with. I know both boys love us and the care we give them, but they are peas in a pod and you can’t imagine one without the other.

Derek and I are very positive about Moomin’s future, even with no teeth. We’ve been through all this teeth trouble before with Almond and he thrived on being spoilt. Whether Moomin’s top teeth will grow back is anyone’s guess, we will keep checking because if they don’t regrow he’ll need to have his lower teeth filled down to prevent injury.

Right now we are happy to have our bubbly little guy back to his happy self and we’ll do everything we can to keep him safe and healthy.

Happy Moomin

Chubby Moomin may have no teeth, but he is throughly enjoying his life of fresh bread, breakfast cereal and broken up sunflower seeds.

happymoomin_thumb

Goodbye to our sweet boys

Moomin

Moomin

I am very sad to say both our bouncy little gerbil have passed away. Moomin has had his teeth problems for going on eight months now and while his top teeth never grew back properly he didn’t let it get in the way of his love of life. We had to regularly take him to the vet to file his teeth, which he did not enjoy, but Moomin seemed to treat it as a minor blip in his otherwise very happy, gerbily life. Unfortunately a few months ago we noticed a hardened lump on Moomin’s scent glad. There was little we could do for our chubby guy, with his age and teeth troubles we thought it best to just look after him and let him enjoy his life for as long as he could.

The lump on Moomin’s tummy was getting bigger, though he wasn’t letting it get him down, or stop him getting about. We, however were starting to worry about Sunny. He loved us, we knew that, but he loved Moomin so much more. If we had to make the decision to have Moomin put to sleep we were concerned the impact that would have on Sunny.

Sunny

Sunny

In a sad but comforting twist of fate, our cheeky little Sunny suddenly slowed down one day. He’d been his bright happy self the day before, trying to steal Moomin’s bread and eating all the broken sunflower bits meant for Moomin, but suddenly he was very still and quiet. He was still warm to hold, but didn’t show any interest when we held him, normally Sunny was a wiggly little bundle who was more interested in food than us. Not even Moomin could get much of a response our of him, not that he tried much. It was like Moomin knew that little Sunny was leaving us and sure enough Sunny passed away peacefully the next day. We were very sad to lose our little guy, but at the same time there was comfort in his passing. Moomin’s lump was starting to get very big and it was bleeding if he knocked it. As much as we loved Moomin we knew we were nearing the point where we would have to let him go.

As always we wanted our gerbils with us forever, but that could never be. So, losing Sunny so peacefully we were able to take Moomin to the vet the next day and say goodbye to him before he started to really struggle. Knowing our boys wouldn’t have to cope without each other brought us a lot of comfort.

Sadly we are still in this pandemic, with restricted services, which meant we weren’t able to be with Moomin at the end. Instead we sat in our car while the vet took care of him. That was hard, but we know letting him go was the right decision. Once home we able to bury our little boys together in the garden and say goodbye to them both knowing they will always be together.

Sunny & Moomin

Sunny & Moomin