Vorsprung durch technik

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.

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

6 thoughts on “Vorsprung durch technik”

  1. Nice look­ing cage, but let me tell you about our guinea pigs …

    We have three hutches — one big one for overnight slee­p­overs, a smal­ler infirm­ary and anoth­er one in the laun­dry for when it’s too hot or cold out­side.

    That’s just their overnight accom­mod­a­tion. Our back garden has about 120 sq feet of lawn (the rest is paved), and approx­im­ately 108sq feet of this lawn is fenced off with shoulder-high cat-proof gal­van­ised steel mesh topped with two vari­et­ies of shade cloth. Inside this run is guinea-pig heav­en, with vari­ous hidey holes, lots of grass to munch, and plenty of water feed­ers and food dishes stra­tegic­ally placed so they don’t have to walk too far for their refresh­ments. (I tell you, I’ve con­sidered mov­ing in with them.)

    Every day the guinea pigs are trans­ferred from the cages to the lawn, and every night they’re moved back again before encroach­ing dark­ness fright­ens them.

    So, how many guinea pigs enjoy this pam­per­ing? Two.

    My kids have had guinea pigs for 7 or 8 years now, so they’re old hands at all this.

  2. Sorry to hear that, Roland… Well, at least you gave the chap a good life. Pity they have such short little lives…

  3. Ooh, I bet they would, Tom. If they could get past the cat-repel­lent meas­ures that Coffee and Erich have con­struc­ted…

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