Gerbils strut their stuff at New England pageant
BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — The American Gerbil Society's annual pageant brought dozens of rodents scurrying to New England this weekend for a chance to win "top gerbil."
The Bedford competition called for agility demonstrations in which the gerbils must overcome obstacles and race to the end of a course. Breeders of the small animals vie for coveted ribbons based on body type and agility.
"A male gerbil should be a good, strong, hefty-looking gerbil," said Libby Hanna, president of the American Gerbil Society. "If you are going to think of it in human terms, you might think of a football player — somebody who's big, thick neck, nice, strong-looking male gerbil."
An ideal female gerbil will have a more streamlined appearance that even humans covet, she said.
In this Friday, May 3, 2013 photo, Diane Nott, of Elyria, Ohio, holds a gerbil prior to the society's annual New England pageant Saturday, in Bedford, Mass. The small rodents will be judged on body type and color, and will feature agility demonstrations where they must overcome various obstacles and race to the end of the course. (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi)
"So she would be strong and athletic-looking — not really scrawny, but slim," said Hanna, who serves as a judge in the show. "I usually use a figure skater as my mental image or gymnasts — so obviously a gymnast is not necessarily a big, big woman, but she's gonna be strong, muscular and athletic."
The Friday-Saturday show drew gerbil enthusiasts and breeders from around the country and culminates in the presentation of champion and breeder certificates.
Fourteen-year-old Sarah Kaden from Bordentown, N.J., thinks gerbils have great personalities.
"Even though they are so little, they are very different from each other and they smell a lot less than my brother's hamsters," she said Friday.