Thursday, May 17, 2012

What kind of rodent is Charlie?

Calling all rodent experts!

Yesterday was the Tiny Princess's last day of school. She is officially finished with the 2's class at the Preschool and is ready for middle school. The incredibly spoiled little princess got a pedicure to celebrate.

Before Christmas, we were asked to take on the incredible responsibility for caring for  try to keep alive the class hamster, Apple, over the summer.

It has been a source of great excitement for the Tiny Princess and a source of undue angst for the Great and Powerful Oz who . . . at the unfortunate expense of our former dog . . . is ecstatic that our house has been pet free for two months (aside from the crabs).

Oz has moaned and groaned over the addition of a rodent to our mix . . . even though I have repeatedly assured him that it's only for the summer. 

When tragedy struck just before spring break and Apple keeled over at school, Oz thought that he was going to get off Scott free.

But, to the Tiny Princess's relief, her teacher replaced Apple with a new "hamster," Charlie.

On the rodent's last day of school, Elizabeth played taxi and delivered both the Tiny Princess and the offending rodent to the Moen house. On her way, I received a text from her that said :

"I think Charlie is a $#%ing rat!"

My skin began to crawl.  Teddy Bear hamsters are cute and fuzzy . . . cuddly even . . . at least they are when they are alive.

They have little stumps for tails and adorable little twitchy faces.  I can handle one of those in the house. 

But, a rat is a whole other matter. We can not coexist. 

Last fall, we had what we thought was a mouse living in the bottom of my clothes dryer. He out smarted us for weeks - stealing food off the traps and miraculously de-sticking himself from sticky boards.

After finding mouse poo in one of my kids' rooms, I finally had had enough and called a moratorium on the mouse. That night, Oz quarantined himself in the Tiny Princess's room with the mouse . . . armed with nothing but a vacuum.

Ten short minutes later, the mouse was dead . . .  and decidedly not a mouse . . . but a RAT, instead.  

My hero had beat the thing to death with the end of the vacuum.  

Then, he turned on the vacuum, sucked the rat to the end, and carried it out the door.  He even cleaned up the rat brains that were smeared on the wall.  After all, even to Oz, it didn't seem fair to make a three year old princess clean rat brains off of her wall.

So, I need to know.  What is this new rodent called "Charlie"?

Is he a hamster?  Surely not.  He has a really, really long and creepy tail. 

Is he a gerbil?   Maybe. 

But, Elizabeth swears he is a rat.   I don't know.  So . . .

Let's take a poll.   You tell me, Is Charlie a gerbil or a rat?  I've added a poll to the side of this post . . . just above Elizabeth and I's picture.  

If you tell me that he is, indeed, a rat, I cannot vouch for his safety in this place.   Accidents happen.  He may "accidentally" find his way into the field next door where he may accidentally be eaten by a snake or large bird.  Should such an "accident" occur, he will be smoothly replaced by a hamster that we will call "Twitchy."


If he's a gerbil, though, I can live with him being in my house even though that tail gives me the creeps. 

But I still can't vouch for a gerbil's complete safety.   When I was still trying to convince myself that Charlie is a hamster, I googled "hamster tail" and discovered . . . to my HORROR . . . that gerbils frequently lose their tails!!

borrowed picture 
Apparently, if small hands accidentally grab the gerbil by the tail, the entire skin will come off in your hand leaving you with a bloody bone tail, which will then dry up and fall off.  Mmmmmmm. 

Yes, that's disgusting.  You can read about it here.

If you have been reading my posts for a while, then you have heard my stories about our pets and their unfortunate endings.   Cats get eaten by coyotes.  Hermit crabs lose their limbs if I so much as look at them wrong (we are down to only one now). 

The chances of Charlie keeping his tail for three months in this house are slim to none. Of course, if his tail comes off, maybe then I can sigh with relief and just call him a hamster.

Now to keep our integrity as a food/fitness blog:

Today's workout was a 6 mile run (8:41 min/mile) and 45 minutes of combat class for a grand total of 878 calories burned.  I'm preparing for the family picnic at Oz's work tonight.  I do love a burger.

Also, in preparation for said burger, my breakfast this morning was a light, yet filling Green Monster smoothie :

Oh, wait, that's not a smoothie.  This is:

1 cup spinach, 1 cup almond milk,
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 T cashew butter,
1/2 cup blackberries, 1 tsp banana extract

I'll let you decide which one I had for breakfast.  Should I put up a poll for that too?  What if there are no wrong answers?


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