Gerbils, eh? Funny little creatures; very skittish. Tend to stare a lot. (This morning, because our central heating is broken, they are shivering a lot.) Sadly, gerbils tend to get cooped up in cages that are far too small for the blighters. Sure, they’re small. But they were designed to run rampant across the Mongolian steps, man.
Enter my girlfriend’s latest creation, which I have dubbed Gerbopolis (‘Hamsterdam’ has been vetoed for biological reasons that I regard as, frankly, picky):
It’s almost a metre tall, and would comfortably fit a child chimney sweep (without brushes).
Residents? Two. First, Coffee. Here we see him in his natural condition, i.e. planning an elaborate escape. Oh, sure, he’ll erase his sand diagrams with a sweep of the tail when Britta or I turn up with treats, but someone was whistling the theme to the Great Escape last night, and it wasn’t me. Distinctive behaviour: stroking his moustache like a silent-era movie villain.
Next up is Erich. Britta selected his name — the German form of ‘Eric’ — simply for the humour of listening to my pronunciation. Eric is the engineer; the explorer; the one with the huge eyelashes. Distinctive behaviour: He regularly enters panic-induced catatonia if surprised — by, for example, his whiskers. Here we seen him on holiday in our desert biome:
What’s that you say? You want more cute pictures? Bah! …Alright. Here’s Coffee and Erich last year, waiting for Britta to shout ‘Go!’ at the start of a psychology experiment.
And here they are chatting to one another. I didn’t catch all of it, apart from something that sounded like ‘…shoring at the end of Harry’. Who knows what that can mean.