Wheatie

December 2013 - December 2014

Our cute little gerbil Wheatie

An unexpected addition

Our new gerbil, Wheatie in his Ferplast Duna cageIt’s bern a while since we’ve had a gerbil in the house and I have to admit we weren’t planning to have any more – Derek and I are getting a little old for sitting on the floor to play with them – but when Derek found this little guy looking for a new family he couldn’t refuse. There wasn’t much information about little Wheatie, we don’t know how old he is, or what his previous family were like with him. He’s not a baby gerbil and is quite thin, so he probably hasn’t lead the most active of lives, he is also a nervous about being handled.

Before we could bring the little guy home though we had to stock up on gerbil supplies, including a cage. We decided on a Ferplast Mini Duna. Though they are designed for hamsters, we’ve found they also make great gerbil cages for older or nervous gerbils. Once we were all stocked up, little Wheatie joined our family.

While he’s not to keen on being handled, little Wheatie is still a very friendly chap and he seems delighted with his new cardboard filled home.

New furniture for Wheatie

Wheatie enjoying a pumpkin seed in his log cabin

Wheatie enjoying a pumpkin seed in his log cabin

If there is one thing gerbils are good at it is chewing, and Wheatie is no exception. I bought him a lovely log cabin when he joined our family, but once he gets chomping through the cardboard we give him his home can start to look a little bare. So I have treated him to some nice wooden furniture for him to get his teeth into. First was his Habba Huts, which are natural half logs, they come in a range of sizes, which makes for a great gerbil environment. For some reason Habba Huts are mainly sold for reptiles, but I always like to treat my gerbils to them, even if I do have to hunt them down in pet shops. Next was a little twig bridge, which forms a nice little tunnel for gerbils to hide in and of course they are also great to chew. Adding logs to Wheatie’s home also means that as it fills with chewed cardboard and kicked up sawdust he has little places to hide and tunnel through.

We’ve only had Wheatie a little while, but he has already settled in really well. He has learnt to leave his cage when we take the lid off and run around on the floor. He’s also very good about going back in when he’s tired, which is great as he’s not easy to catch.

Wheatie may have been an unexpected addition to our family, but he is great and we are both thrilled to be getting to know him.

When not chomping gerbils are...

Digging, and Wheatie is no exception.

It’s a wonder Derek gets any work done with this little guy busying away on the end of his desk.

Wheatie's new friend

Inkie and Wheatie

Inkie and Wheatie

I’m pleased to say Wheatie has settled in really well and is blossoming into a wonderful confident little fellow, which is no bad thing as our cat Inkie couldn’t wait for an invite to meet him. Wheatie lives on the end of Derek’s desk in our home office, which makes him very accessible to a nosy cat like Inkie. Fortunately Inkie is a very gentle little cat, still she is still a predator and Wheatie doesn’t know she can’t actually get to him.

There is something about gerbils that cats can’t resist. We have seen this before with our other cats, they aren’t that fussed about our rats, but show them a gerbil and they have to get as close as possible. While we would never let Inkie get her paws on Wheatie, or any of our rodents, it is impossible to keep her away from Wheatie’s home. Not that he cares, like many of our gerbils before Wheatie seems to enjoy the audience to his digging, chomping and general gerbilness.

Wheatie's favourite treat

We have a bread machine at home, and that means yummy fresh bread everyday. This is a favourite treat with many of our fuzzy family members, and Wheatie is no exception. Every day at teatime he is ready and waiting for his bit of bread, and he always sits right in the open doorway to his home and eats it.

Wheatie has settled in so well to life with our family. He likes to come out once a day to run around on the floor, and while he doesn’t climb on us he does like us to sit on the floor with him so he can say ‘hello’. When we got him Wheatie was quite skinny, but with all the digging and chomping he does, not to mention running around, he has put on a nice amount of bulk and looks like a proper healthy gerbil.

He really is a lovely little chap, we feel very lucky to have found him.

A fluffy gerbil bed

We were cleaning Wheatie out today and couldn’t resist snapping a picture of his bed. One of the greatest things about gerbils is their ability to chew cardboard into tiny little bits, dig and kick sawdust around and generally┬ámake a mess in their homes, but somehow their beds remain a wonderful little oasis of fluffy nesting material. Amongst the chaos of the rest of their cage, a gerbils bed is spotless, cosy and perfectly formed for super cute gerbil napping.

'Get away this is mine!'

'Get away this is mine!'

Goodbye to Wheatie

Our sweet boy, Wheatie

Our sweet boy, Wheatie

It is very hard to accept but our little Wheatie has passed away. In the year we have known him he was an active, brave and fun loving little chap, but sadly his time with us has come to an end.

A couple of months ago we noticed he’d stopped chewing his cardboard, he was still quite active in his cage, but just not chomping his way through every last bit like he normally did. He was still making his fluffy little paper beds, but they weren’t quite as well made as normal either. Then we realised he’d not been coming out to play much. It was near then end of summer and we’d put it down to the heat, as he was still attentive and eating. We tried not to worry, as he was still happy and alert.

About a week ago, Wheat’s appetite started to drop off, he wasn’t terribly interested in his morning bran flakes or his favourite treat of fresh bread, which was a worry. Then two days ago, on Saturday, we came to clean his cage out and Wheatie was having problems with his back legs. He could sit fine, but when he tried to run his legs extended fully and he ended up charging around with his bottom in the air. As the weekend progressed the problem got worse, as he moved around his cage he was finding it difficult to control his movements and to stop when he wanted to. By Monday he was barely getting out of bed, and when he did he really struggled to get around. So with very heavy hearts we took our sweet little gerbil to the vets and said goodbye.

Pictures of our gorgeous gerbil Wheatie doing what he loved

It’s been a very difficult day, but Wheatie was always such a joy to know. Even in the short year we had him, he reminded us what fun gerbils are and how you are never to old to sit on the floor and play with a little rodent.