Lots of people have fond memories of their childhood pets. They remember a favorite dog or cat or bunny that brought them joy and merriment for many years. But as appealing as that idea is, there’s one species that, instead of creating precious memories, will scar your children on a deep, emotional level.
Never buy your kids gerbils. They are disgusting, vile creatures that kill their own families indiscriminately and reproduce like Catholic rabbits on Viagra.
When I was about six years old, my parents brought me to the pet store to buy some gerbils. I picked out two, a black one and a white one with brown spots, which the sixteen-year-old zoologist behind the counter assured us were both male. And pretty soon, we had about thirty gerbils.
That wouldn’t have been such a big deal, since they all stayed in their cage, but as I came to find out, that black, mother gerbil made Jeffrey Dahmer look like Mister Rogers.
The first thing six-year-old me wanted to do when I saw the dozen-or-so baby gerbils was pick them up and pet them. So, like any other kid would, I picked up one of the baby gerbils and let it crawl across my fingers. Then, the next day, I went to the gerbil cage to find the baby gerbil lying motionless, its neck gashed open, and the mother gerbil’s whiskers coated in blood.
All it takes is the slight scent of a human being to make a mother gerbil brutally murder its child in a way that would make Jason Vorhees squeamish. I tried handling the baby gerbils with gloves or only petting them lightly. But every time, it led to gerbil infanticide and an impromptu gerbil funeral in the back yard.
The last straw came when Herman, the father gerbil, died. The mother gerbil continued having babies, even though the only other gerbils in her cage were her children. Then all my gerbils mysterious disappeared. I guess my parents drew the line at gerbils with an Oedipus complex.
The label on the gerbils’ home said “gerbil cage.” It should’ve said “Incest and Blood Sport Pit.”
So go ahead; buy pets for your kids. Buy them loving dogs or indifferent cats or smelly rabbits. But unless you want your children to have the combined visual experiences of Game of Thrones, Deliverance, and Se7en, don’t bring any of these little demons into your home.