How could I have forgotten to blog about the new additions to the family yesterday?!? We are now the proud parents of some cute baby girl twins. No names yet, we just can't decide. And being identical twins, we still can't even tell them apart yet!
Our girls are degus. What? Haven't heard of them before? Or maybe it was just Brian and I who hadn't ever heard of them until VERY coincidentally learning of their existence recently.
The backstory is, Brennan mentioned something about scorpions one night and we got to talking about poisonous animals that are sometimes kept as pets. Which got us talking about pets in general, like how Asher is always begging me for a pet fish. We brought up hamsters, gerbils, the usual. We can't have cats or dogs here, but Asher being allergic would pull the stop on that anyway. It was a Friday night and we thought, "let's hit Petco tomorrow and just visit the animals. Maybe see what they have in the way of fish or something." This was pretty impulsive because I'd already decided we have no room for anything and I had no desire to take care of a critter. Brian and I had tried a hamster once and I was too afraid of being bitten to handle her, and Brian didn't have time to take over duties like he'd intended. It lasted a few days only before she bit Brian and was returned.
So the next day we excitedly went to Petco and saw their animals. We talked about birds (already owning a bird cage), turtles, fish... I told Brian I wanted a chinchilla, mostly jokingly. They're so cute! We spent quite a while there, but ultimately decided to come home empty-handed and think about our options. We thought we'd see what was up for adoption on Craigslist too.
So, I did just that. After getting home I hopped online and looked up postings on Craigslist. In that search I found someone with baby hedgehogs which intrigued me immediately. Dander-free means non-allergenic! A quick google search about them as pets sounded kinda cool. The owner had said they'd be visiting Corvallis Saturday only with their babies (and I was reading it that day), so we tried contacting them but never did hear back.
Alternately, as I looked at postings I came across someone with degus. There was no picture, so in curiosity I looked them up. My, but they were intriguing as well. They're awake during the day, they can often be trained, even litter-box trianed sometimes! They love human interaction, including a good belly or chin rub. They look like mice/hamster/gerbil combinations but bigger. So we contacted that seller. She wanted a picture of our cage, etc. so to ensure we had honorable intention and knew what we were doing. So Brian pulled out our birdcage, then went to Home Depot for some supplies to modify it. (They need a solid walking surface for their feet.) At 11pm that Saturday night he started building a degu cage. We were basically committed. I'd also throughout the day done lots more research and we'd decided degus could be a good fit. I also found two other Craiglist postings in the state of Oregon, one in Washington, and all but one of them were old and the degus no longer available. So yeah, they're really hard to find. The fact that I ran across the posting I did, and it was local, is like a one in 1000 chance or something.
Degus like to be held, but not by just anybody. They have to get to know you and trust you first. So we have to take things slowly. And there are a lot of us trying to get them used to us. Must be so overwhelming for our sweeties.
We're all in super love though with our new friends. The boys have been playing "degu" with each other, each of them telling me they wish they were degus for real. Before seeing them in person, Brennan had said he preferred to get a fish. (What?!?) but he's SO glad to have the degus now.
Last night as Brian was giving out a couple "treats", the more outgoing girl kept venturing out further and further onto him until she was full blown wandering all over him! Then she began willingly climbing on Brennan and Asher. I filmed all this, included below. It was such a triumph! The other girl is more shy and wouldn't get past just her paws being on Brian's hand.
At the end of the video you see the degu has hopped onto the windowsill. What an adventure that created! Before she could be scooped up she'd weaseled down to the floor and hid under the cabinet the cage is on. Brian spent like 40 minutes laying on his belly trying to coax her out. We were hoping she'd just choose to come for the treat or whatever and climb onto him. That didn't work at all. Eventually, she left that hiding spot and scurried into our living room. At this point I got involved and it became clear she wouldn't be coaxed, she'd have to be got. Which she most likely wouldn't like. Degus as a rule don't like being "gotten" (pray animals, you know), but we had no other choice. At one point we happened to get her cornered enough that Brian managed to pick her up. She gave him a large chomp on the finger as he hurried back to the cage but the pain got to him after about 4 steps and he dropped her. He was bleeding rather profusely from that bite and still has a swollen and sore finger this morning. We finally found her under our sectional, in the one tiny entrance. I keep pillows lined up under the couch to help the toys not go underneath. So I had to pull everything out. Couldn't get her out, so finally started taking apart all three sections of the sofa. In the end our entire living area was rearranged and messed up! Brian was hesitant to try to pick her up again, understandably. We learned our lesson to have the little travel/carrying cage close-by to minimize distance of carrying her. We spent FOREVER on or tummies trying to get her out from under the sectional! FINALLY, we got her out and she headed for a spot we'd secured pretty well. Thank goodness! We managed to block her in so that her only escape was into a tube leading into the cage. A couple tries of that and we got her!!! Brian and I passionately made-out in celebration. ;-) It was only 10pm, plenty of time to get the things done we'd intended to that night. Hah!
Lesson learned. We won't get them out of the cage until perimeters have been WELL secured (she dove right through the baby gate at one point as if it wasn't even there) and we have what we need to block all exits but the one we want her to take. At least until they get to know us much better. Supposedly they can reach that point where they'd just come back/hang out with you instead of hiding. But we are NOT there yet.