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.