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Feel absolutely devastated. Gerbil died, my fault.

(39 Posts)
AutumnSunday Sun 23-Oct-16 11:14:32

Had two rescue boys for over a year. Had to seperate them a few months ago due to sudden fighting, both looked to be doing well by themselves. Would have them out for a run at night and they'd still try to groom each others noses through the bars. Big male gerbils.

I always put cardboard in the cages. Toilet rolls, big tubes you get from Pets at Home. I decided to put the tube middle in from a bacofoil roll, cut in half so each gerbil had half each. Much smaller diameter to a toilet roll but far too small to get a head stuck? Not the case it seems.

I found one of my boys dead in his cage yesterday with his head firmly stuck and I feel absolutely devastated. Cried buckets yesterday and can't shake it. I would never, ever have put this in the cage if I thought this would happen. The other gerbil has demolished his with no problem. I just can't figure out how one of them got so firmly stuck.

We were out and about quite a lot yesterday and so I've no idea when this happened. The tube had been in the cage for almost two weeks. If only I'd just got it out.

He was the gerbil with the most personality. Always on the go. Extremely friendly and I'm going to miss him so much.

I keep reliving it and can't imagine a worse death, I really can't. I keep having thoughts of him stuck, struggling for ages. Bloody awful. We didn't tell ds how he died sad

RIP my funny little critter sad

HunterHearstHelmsley Sun 23-Oct-16 11:16:51

Oh, how awful. It was an accident though, try not to beat yourself up too much. You didn't do it deliberately.

AutumnSunday Sun 23-Oct-16 11:17:37

I'm gutted Hunter, I really am.

RedRosie Sun 23-Oct-16 11:20:49

Yes. You poor thing. It wasn't on purpose, it was an accident. You gave the little fellows a good home. I'd feel exactly the same - but you didn't mean them harm. flowers

AutumnSunday Sun 23-Oct-16 11:25:41

He did have a lovely home, pampered, handled regularly.

Ds has handled it well, he came and gave me a cuddle and we cried together and that just made me feel worse as he doesn't know the full facts. Too awful to tell him.

HunterHearstHelmsley Sun 23-Oct-16 11:38:26

My rabbit died a few years ago and it was my fault. Mine was complete idiocy though, I should have seen what was going to happen. Yours was a genuine mistake, a mistake you made while trying to make him happy. You couldn't have foreseen it. Particularly as it had been a few weeks.

AutumnSunday Sun 23-Oct-16 11:56:33

Hunter, I'm sorry that this has happened to you too flowers

Hindsite is a wonderful thing isn't it. I've said the same thing myself, I genuinely never thought this would happen though.

pipsqueak25 Sun 23-Oct-16 16:39:18

that is so sad after you cared for and loved them so much, you did not realise your mistake so try to be kind to yourself and give your other little lad extra love.

AutumnSunday Sun 23-Oct-16 17:03:42

Thanks Pip.

Other gerbil has been looking for him. They could still see each other from their cages. The one who died was always the more vocal, used to 'chirp' when he saw his ex room mate. Although I was never quite sure whether this was a friendly gesture or a warning call.

You live and learn don't you. I still feel gutted about it, even dp who doesn't fuss much about the little critters has been genuinely saddened by it.

Nothing, however big or small deserved to die that way.

fortifiedwithtea Sun 23-Oct-16 22:10:50

Oh that is sad and a very freaky accident, it wouldn't have occurred to me either.

But by sharing your gerbil's tragic demise you are sending out a warning to other gerbil owners reading who are now aware of the damage of narrow tubes and might save another small furry.

Un-Mumsnetty (((hugs))) flowers

AutumnSunday Sun 23-Oct-16 22:31:31

Thank you, Fortified.

Yes, hopefully it will be something for others to be aware of. I'm still at a loss to how he got so stuck. I'm just hoping he didn't suffer for too long but then, I'll never really know. I miss his little face and playful nature.

YouHadMeAtCake Sun 23-Oct-16 22:40:53

Oh OP I am so sorry. Please don't be so hard on yourself. It was an accident. I'm a huge animal lover with lots of pets so I know how hard it is to lose one. You'd not have put it in if you knew this would happen. 💐

AutumnSunday Sun 23-Oct-16 22:43:18

His brother is missing him too, I'm sure, even though they didn't live together.

He'll miss his nose being groomed between the bars sad

SuperManStoleMyPants Sun 23-Oct-16 22:45:24

You poor thing! Please don't beat yourself up it was a mistake flowers

AutumnSunday Sun 23-Oct-16 22:47:06

YouHad, never in a million years would I have thought this would happen.

It's so awful to lose him this way. I've been going over it all over and over since I found him. Still makes no sense.

He was always the daredevil of the two sad

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Sun 23-Oct-16 22:49:18


AutumnSunday Sun 23-Oct-16 22:50:18

Thank you, Superman.

AutumnSunday Sun 23-Oct-16 22:51:13

And TooStressy

travailtotravel Sun 23-Oct-16 22:54:40

It wasn't your fault.

Goldenspacecadet Sun 23-Oct-16 23:01:14


Tiggywinkler Sun 23-Oct-16 23:05:23

(((hug))) to you.

Stop beating yourself up. They're tiny, and for all you know he could have had a little heart attack, or a stroke, or another little unpredictable gerbil demise. I'm sure it's a horrid coincidence that he was in the tube.

IcedVanillaLatte Sun 23-Oct-16 23:09:06

That's really sad, I'm so sorry.

I had mice in a cage when I was a kid, and put empty coconut shell halves in there for them to play with. I didn't notice that the little holes drilled in the top of the coconut to get the milk out had been gradually gnawed bigger over time, and one of my mice, of course, stuck her head in there as soon as it was big enough. If I hadn't happened to be there at the time to hear the squeaks and get her out, the same thing would have happened to her as to your gerbil. It's one of those things that happens sometimes; it's impossible to predict all the dangers you don't already know about flowers And I've put any number of cardboard tubes in pet cages!

LemonEmmaP Sun 23-Oct-16 23:09:31

I remember doing the exact same thing with my gerbils when I was a kid - I went to check on them and one was stiff inside the cardboard tube. I remember crying so much as mum cut him free - and then it turned out he wasn't actually dead and the little bugger made a run for it and hid under the piano! After much cajoling we got him back in his cage. Like you, we'd just never thought of the risks, but from then on, we always cut a slit lengthways in the tube before putting them in the cage. I'm so sorry your story didn't have quite the same happy ending as mine, but please don't beat yourself up - it was an easy mistake.

AutumnSunday Mon 24-Oct-16 07:30:37

You've all been lovely, thank you. I only wish I'd seen/heard him.

It's an extremely harsh lesson learned.

AutumnSunday Mon 24-Oct-16 07:54:24

And I'm glad I posted on here. I was in two minds as this was down to me and not seeing the danger in something I'd place in the cage.

In real life people just won't understand just how upsetting this was. Those with other small pets will understand and you have flowers

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