Unexpected arrivals

It’s been about a month now since Julia grovelled at my feet in the shop and told me “But David, I Neeeeed to have her”, her being Daffy, a degu up for rescue in a pet shop. Steely eyed I refused and pointed out that with 4 rats we certainly didn’t need another rodent in the house. At the same time of course I was extracting my wallet and signing on the dotted line. Because rescue pets are a donation to charity I couldn’t really refuse to give less than one would have cost. She was a sweet looking little thing and I was told about 6 weeks old. She’d been brought in with some males for sale and had to be separated.
The wallet was getting lighter and lighter as I viewed the articles on display for degus. We had to be careful of the food and treats as they’re prone to diabetes.

I bought a new cage which was a very tall bird cage but which could easily be converted into a three storey degu cage with plenty of levels for her to jump about on. Last week I finally had to admit defeat when the hole she’d chewed in the plastic base was big enough for an escapee from Colditz Castle. Out came two older cages where the metal wires ran as deep as the base to prevent her getting at the plastic. One Heath Robinson job later and the two cages were now one multi storey one which you have to be a contortionist to get your arm into to replenish the food.

Saffy as we renamed her since Daffy reminded me of the duck is sweet. She loves to be handled and she loves to trundle round the floor clipping ankles in her ball. She especially loves breaking the ball open and going for a casual stroll.
Part of my daily routine is to give her a treat when I first get up and feed cornflakes to the rats. This morning as I entered the room it was like being in Gremlins. I could hear this singing sound and thought Saffy was talking to me as she often does to Julia, though I don’t normally hear it very well. It was a really lovely sound. Julia has accused me of over feeding Saffy treats as since she’s been growing older she’s become rather rotund. Anyway, as soon as I rustled the treats bag for the girls, Saffy appeared in her cage. No way was I going to refuse her after the tune so I gave her a yoghurt drop and she retreated.

I mentioned the singing to Julia when I took her cuppa through and she reminded me that she’s asked the pet shop to let us know if any more female degus come in as they’re very gregarious animals and love company. I said as my memory is marginally better than hers I remembered then got out while I still could. As Julia came through the singing started again which was good as she’d now realise I was neither hearing things not hallucinating. She brought Saffy’s ball up to the cage door and Saffy climbed aboard and took off. ” How fat she’s getting David. You have to stop the treats” she said. “Maybe she’s pregnant” I said jokingly. Then the singing started again and it was still coming from Saffy’s cage though she wasn’t there. Julia leaned over and the little section f the cage where Saffy had made a nest of a rope she’s disintegrated was heaving.
“She’s had babies” I heard.
Julia rapidly got Saffy out of her ball and back into the cage to her babies. So far today we’ve counted four but I don’t know if that’s all. I’m just hoping it’s not the twelve they can have.
As they become sexually active at six to seven weeks and gestate for 90 days she must have been made pregnant very quickly between becoming active and being separated from the boys. We now have to wait till they’re about 4 weeks old to sex them so we can get the boys out and find them homes. Julia wants to keep at least one female ( if there are any) to keep Saffy company. So today I’ve had to order a new cage- all metal- ready for the new family. Oscar is going to hate this since Saffy hisses at him but shows no fear if he’s close and maybe her daughters will be the same.
I think I need to move out.


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19 responses to “Unexpected arrivals

  1. Lol! Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

  2. I found out that Eric and Buddy the two ‘male’ guinea pigs my little boys gran bought him last year were in fact ERICA and buddy the same way I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a cage till the little baby boy could leave and until buddy recovered from a rather expensive trip to the vets to ensure it was a one off event

    • I’m starting to believe that sexing these beasts is a bit of an inexact science. My fingers are crossed that at 4 weeks we can get them sexed and separated until the boys find a new home. What I’m dreading is Julia giving me a radiant smile and announcing they’re all girls and the lounge is to become one big cage.I’m glad your little mishap was dealt with. I still don’t know how many mishaps I’ve got. LOL

  3. Oh Daud! The fickle finger of fate has got you good and proper! Nevermind, you’ll probably enjoy becoming a grandfather however I don’t envy you the pain of sending the boys away. I’m guessing they can’t be de-sexed?

    • If you mean (shiver) neutered then they probably can but I would only do that If I were considering keeping them. Since the chances are that she’s probably had about 6 babies I can’t really see that happening.The main positive for me at the moment is the value I got buying Saffy as it now looks like it could have been Buy One Get Six Free. It’s just possible the boys could end up with someone who wants to breed so I think I’ll leave their little boy bits intact.
      In the meantime, if you happen to see one of the Gods (Fate) sniggering somewhere, do let me know please. My gun is loaded.

      • lmao – I promise, if I see the gods or fate having a chuckle at your expense I’ll let you know straight away! I hope that retribution doesn’t extend to your friends who might have a wee bit of a smirk at your expense??

      • Friends who want to smirk aren’t really friends, they’re TARGETS. How did I end up in this position? They say no good deed goes unpunished don’t they?

      • Yup, that’s about the size of it. I’m just amazed that Saffy was the one to ‘do the dirty’ on you so to speak. She’s such a cutie. Guess the boys must have thought so too 😉

  4. I had never heard of a degu, so after reading your entertaining adventures, I had to look them up on the internet. Quite cute! We had a similar experience with hamsters here, though I’m sad to report there were no happy endings, between our hunter poodle and messy retrieval of escaped babies in the car. (I’ll leave you to imagine the grisly details).

    Thanks for the opportunity to learn something new today!

    • I think my mind just automatically cut to a scene from swan lake while all that was happening Shawn. That must have been awful. One nice thing about degus is that they have a good life span compared to many pets, 6-8 years with 15 possible in exceptional circumstances. Julia has promised to outlive them so I’ve decided to keep swapping them as they reach 6 years old and not telling her.
      The degus are very bright and love being handled – except by hunter poodles of course and because they don’t bite as a rule make great kids pets.

  5. Oh my. Lady J has hit on her perfect pet! That Saffy really is the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t she 😉 I love your idea of swapping them when needed to keep Julia going too, I’m not sure your wallet will outlive them though!

    • Ouch !! I hope this is the last time she gives because if one little boy gets in there who’s over 6 weeks old I might as well move to the garage and turn the house over as a Degunarium .( Yes, I made it up) I shall be applying chastity belts next week. Yes. my wallet could well be seen waving goodbye to me as it leaves home in order to preserve it’s dignity.

      • Thank you for that vision of you with a set of tiny chastity belts struggling to hold Saffy and the offspring still while you put them on. Be sure not to use the wonderful term ‘Dengunarium’ within the hearing of Lady J or the garage will soon be the new Prosser Castle….

      • You know it’s odd, I’mm sure I saw a chair being delivered there yesterday.Not sure who told on me.

  6. David,

    You my friend are far outnumbered. I am beginning to thing that might have been the plan to begin to with. Have you thought about where you will go for sanity breaks? We could always look towards the fathers curse handbook for an extraction….I hear the latest addition does add some compensation for time served….we could see if you would qualify under that program.


    • You may well be right Aaron. I used to find the garage OK for sanity breaks but it seems to be full of cages chewed and otherwise these days with definitely no room for me. Maybe you’d better hurry up and write the handbook so I can read the section on reprieves.If as you say there is some compensation for time served I should be well in credit now. In the meantime I’ll hold a rooftop vigil in case any passing helicopter pilots might feel an ounce of pity and want to drop me off in a quiet and warm location.

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