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The summer season has well and truely left us now, and winter is fast approaching. Im sure its meant to be autumn somewhere, but I think it may have been squeezed somewhat between summer and winter. But why am I babbling on about the seasons? I guess you will just have to accept it as a by-product froma geographer! But there is some sense in my madness. With the coming cold weather the animals have been getting themselves ready for winter.

The Degu gang have been just as busy as ever, building nests, hiding food, and causing general mayhem in their cage. Mungo on the other hand has been rather laid back. I was told before he came to live with us that Chinchillas are very destructive, chewing everything they can, with cardboard tubes lasting barely a day in their cages. Mungo however has had a large cardboard tube ever since he came to live with us, and has only gone as far as to squish his poos onto it! Although that said, I can understand why he doesnt want to chew it now! Next came a large post office parcel - a wonderful red cardboard box, bigger than a show box. That has now been turned into his bed, so it would seem maybe he IS getting ready for winter!

Remember last month I talked about the Chinchilla ability to direct pee in defence? Well this month saw another example of that. At the time Mungo had a raised wooden box that was a bed box in the top corner of his cage that he was using (more about that later) and he was sat in it happily watching the world go by. I had read that Chinchillas eat different fruits and veg, and having had Degus for many years, I was keen to explore the opportunity of offering treats once more. Apple slice? "not interested", carrot?, "no thanks". lettuce? "thats a bit scary mate" so finally, I tried to offer a small cherry tomato. Keeping in mind he was at the other end of the cage, I opened the door, but couldnt quite reach him, so gently flipped the tomato to him, it had to move about 4 inches through the air. Not particuarly far, so it wasnt fast! But when you are a rather scared Chinchilla at times, it was far too much for him. He leapt backwards to the back wall of his bed box, glared at the TINY! tomato, and promptly weed on it! highly unimpressed, he had to squeese himself against the far wall of the bed box entrance to get away from the offending object!! So we can now add tomato to the list of scary/unwanted food stuffs!!

Not wanting to give up on attempting to get Mungo living with the Degus, I tried letting Harry, the smallest Degu visit him in Mungo's cage. Harry bless him, jumps in, wanders around, sees Mungo, and being the friendly chap he is, goes up to say hello. Poor Mungo cant cope with this and legs it to the next level of his cage. Harry isnt bothered, and slowly wanders off towards him. This is too much for Mungo, who resorts to his best form of defence, and Harry gets a face full! So I quickly rescue him and return him to his brothers. Big mistake! Poor Harry just wants to go to the sand bath and sort himself out, but because he now has such a strange smell, Dougal and Dillan start picking on him! For the next two hours Harry sits in the sand bath crying. So its safe to say I wont be inflicting all that on him again! Looks like the Degu clan isnt going to change anytime soon, time to get Mungo a girlfriend!

So what else has been happening this month? Well each night Mungo comes out of his cage for about an hour, and is given the run of the living room. Its his domain, he knows how far to jump to get to every part of the room, and nothing is safe from him! For a time all things we didnt want him to touch were put on the dining table in the corner of the room. That was until the other week when he worked out that he could get onto the seat of the dining chairs, and soon he was exploring the top! No problem for a chinchilla that can jump several feet in the air!

We also had to stop Mungo from getting down behind one of the sofas. We store picture frames and such behind this one, and didnt want him chewing them! after several evenings when he managed it, wouldnt come out and the sofa had to be moved, we resorted to putting a digeridoo we have down after him, and my fiance blew it at him! I have never since an animal move so fast as he did coming out the far end of the sofa and legging it to his cage!!!! But this was no where near a solution, so we resorted to cushions and boxes to prevent his points of entry. The following evening, he comes out to explore, can find no way in. Soon he is behind a box next to the entrance, frustrated he cant get in but hidden from me. I taped the opposite side of the box to him, and clearly startled him. Suddenly he leapt in the air by about 3 feet, straight up, dodged left onto the sofa and legged it to the far end where he promptly fell behind one of the cushions. At this point I am nearly wetting myself laughing at him, he appears from behind the cushion and shakes himself back to normal, and then proceeds to stand at the opposite end of the sofa to me glaring in annoyance!!

So at that point I will end the monthly round up of Mungo's adventures, he is settled in well to the household even if he doesnt like the degus! He has both myself and my fiance wrapped around his little fingers!! But there is nothing more indeering to see a little creature come up to you with the raisin box demanding you open it for him!!!

See you next month!

NOVEMBER (06)(click to read the entries)

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