The Brunching Shuttlecocks Ratings

First off, this space will not be addressing "gerbilling". You want dirt, go check out Usenet. Now, then. Being a Californian, gerbils are illegal in my area and so have the same exciting air of insurrection as other un-Californian activities such as picking California poppies, keeping ferrets, or refusing to see a chiropractor. I've never actually seen a live gerbil, but they look passably cute in the pictures. So loathsome rumors aside, B.

Hamsters are to elementary schools as Microsoft is to office buildings. These little monsters are nasty, dull, brutish, and short, but every k-12 in North America seems to have one or more, apparently to insure rodent compatibility with every other k-12. The only mitigating factor is that they can do the Huge Cheek Pouches of Food trick, which hardly makes up for things. D.

Guinea Pigs
I'm convinced these guys aren't so much domesticated as trapped. Pet stores often put rabbits and guinea pigs together for petting, and while rabbits are generally pretty blasé about the whole deal, the guineas go into paroxysms of squealing and skittering if you so much as reach towards them. The guineas don't enjoy it, the kids don't enjoy it, and it's dumb. C-.

While mice aren't, in my experience, terribly affectionate, they are pretty fun to watch when you get enough of them together that they aren't all asleep at once. The problem, though, is that co-ed mouse communes start reproducing at an a rate that makes "breeding like rabbits" seem like a pretty dumb simile. This is nice for pet stores, where most of them go to feed endothermic (read: "scaly") life forms, but not so great for the home game. C+

Yes, I know rabbits aren't rodents. I'm not sure what twisted biological classification excludes them from Rodentia, but my guess is that in order to make themselves feel constantly superior to us former humanities majors, biologists have decided to exclude one species from every obvious class for made-up reasons. Thus, rabbits aren't rodents, pandas aren't bears, daddy long-legs aren't spiders, and news anchors are not, technically speaking, furniture. Leviticus had it right, man. Does it fly? Does it creep? It's a flying , creeping thing, don't eat it, end of story. Anyhow, rabbits. They're mellow, you can housebreak them, B+

Aw-RIGHT! Rats are the primo rodents to have around. Points to support this thesis: 1) They don't run away, even if you leave their cage open, because they know where The Big Hand puts the food. 2) When you take them out they want to explore, instead of finding a hole and going to sleep. 3) They can be trained to come when you call. When was the last time you saw a guinea pig do that trick? 4) Their scaly tails drive away insecure milksops who can't stand to have a manifestation of their own id explore their hair. Right on! Rats hit a grand slam! A+

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