Friday, April 22, 2016

Firkid Friday: words (FD)

Hi humans, rodent types, and anyone else reading this.

This is Jenks the degu.

I've heard humans say that they sometimes struggle to understand what the furries in their lives want. But, you know what? We have trouble understanding what humans want sometimes too. Especially when you humans stand there talking away to us, using words we haven't learned to make sense of.

Like you humans, we learn to understand some stuff after a while, just from observing your behaviour. However, I still often find myself turning to my brothers and asking them, "do you have any idea what they just said?" I get asked the same by them too, and our gerbil brothers and ratty sisters have the same problem.

As I said though, the beahaviour of our humans teaches us some word meanings, so we've learned to recognize certain words based on what happens after the human caretakers use them.

Here are some of our favourite words:

Nibbles - this word means something tasty is coming our way, and is our most favourite word out of all the words we know. Sometimes it will apply to the four words I'll be mentioning next, but other times it will mean our regular food, or some other kind of edible item. Either way, when we hear the word "nibbles" we all give the humans our attention immediately.

Cheerios - a favourite nibble of all of ours. I hear it's popular among humans too.

Oatmeal - another favourite nibble of all of ours, which is sometimes given to us by hand, and sometimes added to our food bowls.

Pasta - a hard treat we degus love, but which our ratty sisters and gerbil brother aren't too keen on.

Cheese - our ratty sisters' favourite nibble, but something we degus aren't allowed. When our ratty sisters and gerbil brother get the cheese stuff, we degus get pasta instead.

Sand bath - a metal tub filled with special sand stuff, where we degus get our dry bath... Fun to play in, as well as useful to get the oils out of our fur. Our ratty sisters and gerbil brothers don't play in one; the gerbils get extra sawdust to dig in instead, and the rats showed no interest when offered oppertunities to play in a sand bath, so the humans stopped bothering. We degus never could understand the rats' lack of interest... Sand baths are fun!

We do also recognize other words, like "TV" and "radio" for example. We also recognize our names, and the name of our species. Plus, the word "buddy" which is what the humans use - especially the Mummy human - when they aren't too sure which of us is trying to get their attention (this is especially used for us degus, since my degu brothers and I are tricky to tell apart unless you can get a good look at the markings on our noses). But the words listed above are our six favourite human words.

Squeak soon,


Jeanie said...

You guys speak English far better than Lizzie. I THINK she understands "Birds!" but it's probably more the tone than the word. Gypsy had a slightly larger vocab and at least understood "Fancy Feast!" which served as a good cue to get him to look at the camera!

I wish I spoke cat.

Victoria Zigler said...

We're really smart! I bet Lizzie probably understands a lot more than she lets on. Cats are smart too, but I hear some of them are even more stubbourn than we degus are (which is very stubbourn indeed). So, I bet Lizzie understands the words, but is pretending not to just so she has an excuse not to do as you ask.

The human caretakers say they wish they understood animal languages half as well as most animals understand people languages.

Squeak soon,

Rita said...

I can see why those are your favorite words! My cat only understands a few words, too. I think she understands more than she lets on but chooses to ignore the ones she doesn't like to hear--LOL! ;)

Victoria Zigler said...

I think you're right.

Squeak soon,

Intense Guy said...

Sorry to be so slow in commenting - I'm way behind in my reading Jenks!

I hear you have new family via the grapevine!

Victoria Zigler said...

Yeah. I don't know where they came from, but the human caretakers started setting up this cage almost two weeks ago, and then they brought our new little sisters home yesterday, and put them in the new cage. Well, I say "little sisters" but - even though they're younger than us - they're not smaller. They're already a little bit bigger than us, and still young enough to grow more (especially the younger of the two).

You'll get to meet them on here soon.

Squeak soon,