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DECEMBER

Back in October I talked about the fact that the Degus were not going to accept Mungo into their family. This is still very much the case, so not wanting Mungo to be lonely, at the start of the month I made a 200mile round trip to collect a 3 month old baby Ebony Chinchilla from London! Talk about a devoted ownere! I am always making these mammouth drives in the name of animal happiness!

Of course the problem of bringing home a new pet is how to introduce them. I wanted this to go very smoothly as I really didnt have the space to keep 2 Chinchillas as well as the Degu cage!! So after much consultation of the various resource books, and a long chat with the breeder of the new Chin, we set up a temporary system of 2 cages adjacent to each other, but with a slight gap. This is to ensure that toes cannot be nibbled. Mungo went into one, and the baby into the other. For a week this was great, so we moved the two chins into a 3 story cage, with a barrier giving them each 1 and a half storeys. This too seemed to work well, both Chins were very interested and behaved with no aggression. The next day however we found the baby had two bloody toes!!! I was really worried by this, but it seems the baby wasnt! At this point, it was clear that Mungo was very interested in the baby Chin so it was time for a meeting. It went perfectly, so we risked putting them into the same cage. Amazingly they never once fought, and instantly settled in together!

The next issue was what on earth to call the baby Chinchilla. One evening the name presented itself, and has since stuck! I was holding him, and talking to him with the other half. Everytime we said something to the baby, he would shake his head. I joked that he was shaking his head because he couldnt believe it. Well, long story short, there is a TV programme called Ripleys Believe it or not, and well, the baby became Ripley!!

I was advised by Ripley's breeder that baby Chinchillas can overheat if allowed to be too active at a young age, so while Mungo is given the freedom of running about in the evening, Ripley is being confined to cuddles on laps. He seems to have quite taken to this however, and will happily snuggle into the crook of my arm for a snooze! Mungo isnt quite sure why his cage mate cant play with him, and does occasionally run over to check that he is ok, but for him the lure of freedom is too great, and Ripley doesnt usually get more than a cursory glance every now and again!!

So I will leave you this month for now. We are now a household full of animals I think - 4 Degus, 3 Axolotls 2 Chinchillas and the other half!!! See you next month!

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