Category Archives: Animals

A Very Gerbil Hanukkah

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Love, Nico, Rizzo (and Julia)


Giving Thanks for Gerbils

When I think of things I’m thankful for, my gerbils, Charlie (left) and Gus (right) are pretty high up there on the list. And as anyone who has ever talked to me for longer than five minutes can tell you, I love those little guys more than some people love their children.

Gus and Charlie came to me a year ago through Shawsheen River Gerbils and not a day goes by where they haven’t delighted me, frustrated me, made me laugh, or figured out some way to make me love them even more than I did when I woke up that morning. They jump on my lap when I’m sitting on the couch, they chatter at me when I pet them, they eat from my hand, and they’ve also learned how to fake “losing their balance” (and I know it’s fake because they are perfectly capable of keeping their balance most of the time) so they can hide under the couch and eat all the crumbs there. They are, in short, perfect.

So to celebrate Thanksgiving, as well as their Adoptaversary, and also because I will take any excuse to photograph my gerbils doing something adorable, I decided to make them a little “turkey dinner”.

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The Moth Murderer, A Case Study

If you’ve ever heard someone described as a person who “wouldn’t hurt a fly”, what you didn’t know is that the phrase totally was made up to describe me. It physically pains me to see a dead animal or hurt one. I can’t look at roadkill. There are only humane pest traps in my home or I throw tantrums. Once, we found a caterpillar in our celery and I raised it to a moth before setting it free. I’m pretty sure I named him, too, but I can’t for the life of me remember what. When I was little, I used to try to keep bugs as pets inside jars. I’d dig for pill bugs (seriously, these are my favorite insects ever) and I’d tend to the mother pill bugs who were crawling with larvae. Yeah, I was that kid. The kid who was an insect midwife. (In case you were wondering, no, I wasn’t very popular.)

So really, I don’t kill bugs. In fact, it’s a credo – unless the bug is doing something offensive such as eating my food or clothes, or biting me, or destroying my house (I’m looking at you, carpenter ants and mosquitoes), I don’t touch them. Yes, flies are annoying, but as far as I’m concerned, they’ve clearly proven, through their supreme evasion techniques, to be worthy adversaries, and I simply usher them out the door. Spiders I welcome – they kill irritants I didn’t even know were in my house. Beetles, earwigs, and what have you are politely scooped in a cup and released into the world with a bon voyage.

For years, I have driven my family and friends crazy with my yelps of dismay and lectures on how this was their land first, and now we’re living here, and how we need to share and cohabitate, and how would you like to be flushed down the toilet? But I fear my kumbaya spirit has been slain, and the creature I’m taking my rage out on?

The moth.

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