Do not assume Gerbils are defenseless animals.
This is just another tale that can do nothing but strike up a little awe. For awhile things were a bit out of control. Previously all the rats would stay in their cages and they were more than content with their interiors, lids, and Yaffa Block shelves. After Slinky's arrival and inability to understand that he belonged in his cage with the other rats, all the other rats would jump on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis to prove that they too had a right to be wandering the halls. The last one to join the group of leapers was Horny the Gerbil who apparently worked very hard at chewing a nice Horny-sized hole in his little Horny Habitat. Boy did we freak out when we noticed he was missing!
Again, there was a lot going on at the time, the biggest of which was the ongoing territorial dispute about who owned human-Nat's bed (see "Sometimes you're part of the territorial dispute."). One of the more strange things that was going on at the time, however, was that by the window, around the heater, in the corner of the room, there were no rats. This was odd because more often than not, they were everywhere and they weren't too aware of boundaries. "Maybe they know heaters get hot," said the Nat. "But it's Spring, how would they know," said the smarter gnome living in the back of Nat's head.
Well I'll tell you why nobody went to this 4 foot by 4 foot patch of potential territory. Horny the gerbil had taken up residence there. Four days after his disappearance (we were already pretty sure he was dead) out comes horny paroling the borders, and there was Wolfman and George hanging out in the outskirts looking absolutely puzzled. And there was Horny, pacing back and forth and back and forth.
Well, we humans had to think fast. Horny couldn't hold up forever, after all, he'd been without food and water for 4 days, so we did the only logical thing we could think of, we slid into Horny territory and tried to catch him! It didn't work. We did scare Wolfman and George away for a bit though.
We then did the next best thing. We fetched some Duct Tape and taped his water bottle by the heater and tossed a few food chunks under there for him as well. That's when we noticed that he had enough lab blacks for an army already stashed away. Amazing!
We then fetched Horny's living quarters, patched up his self-made hole, and blockaded the area. We took turns camping out inside the area waiting for Horny to duck out of his super-secret hiding place back into the cage. Fortunately this only took about 6 hours and Horny was safely back home.
Horny never left his little Gerbil Condo while we remained in that apartment however after we moved, he did it again, only that time, he wasn't so lucky.
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Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not
one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed
and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes: