The Development process
of a Nutmeg pup.
When young Nutmeg and Dark
Eyed Honey pups look very similar, there are a few ways to distinguish
between the two different colours, but for someone who has never
bred either colours before it can be difficult.
A Nutmeg starts out as a
lovely deep orange colour, and once around 6 weeks old it begins
the moulting process which doesn't finish until they are 9-10
weeks old. Until you have a Nutmeg next to a DEH, or wait until
moulting age it is easy to get confused over which colour you
might have, so I have put together a guide that illustrates what
the pups will look like.
On with the guide...
A pile of 4 day old pups,
just beginning to get their fur though. Compare the darkness of
the skin between the pup with its back to us and the pup on its
side. The Nutmeg is the one showing its back, you can also see
a dark orange tint coming through from the fur. The pup on its
side is a DEH, the skin pigment is lighter, and the fur is more
of a cream colour when it first comes through.
Again, you can see the fur coming through,
they have an orange tint to them, which will be much more apparent
over the next couple of days.
Day 5 pups, the fur is through more, it
is much more obvious which pups are Nutmeg and which are DEH.
Can you tell which pup is the DEH and which
two are Nutmegs?
The two pups on the outside are Nutmegs
and the pup in the middle is a DEH. The pup on the left has a
very definate tangy orange to it, around the head and back. The
pup on the outside right, is not so obvious, but the pigment to
its back is darker than that of the Gerbil in the middle.
Which pup is the
DEH in this pile?
This is much more obvious, look just how
tangy the orange is on the head of the two pups on the outside
edges. Their orange is much deeper than that of the Gerbil in
The differences between Nutmeg and DEH are now easily distinguishable.
The gerbil on the left is a Nutmeg, and the DEH is on the right.
The Nutmeg has a very tangy orange colour, which continues down
the side of the body to the legs, which you can see coming through
now in the photo below. A DEH on the other hand is a creamy, pastel
orange colour, and they will have a white tummy, so the orange
does not continue down the body and will stop at the sides with
white fur coming through.
The Nutmeg is on the right, and the DEH
on the left, see the difference in shade? You can also see the
white coming through on the DEH's sides and feet.
Which colours are which??
The two Nutmegs are on the top and the other
is on its back trying to turn over, the DEH is partially underneath
the Nutmeg on its back, it has a lovely pastel orange shade to
Now a lot of the fur is through, you should
know which colour you have just by looking at the colour of the
tummy of the Gerbil pup.
Which colour is which??
DEH on the left, Nutmeg on the right.
Come on, what are
the colours of these Gerbil pups?
Nutmeg on the left at the back.
DEH in the middle with its back to us.
Nutmeg at the bottom of the pile.
Here are a number of photos for you to guess
the colours of, go on... Can you tell the differences?
1) Nutmeg pup -
A tangy deep orange colour, colour extends down to the stomach,
no white tummy.
2) Nutmeg pup - Again, tnagy orange, no
3) Nutmeg, DEH and Nutmeg - Nutmeg on the
left, deep colour, solid coloured tummy. DEH in the middle, creamy
orange, white down the sides. Nutmeg right end, deep colour, solid
4) Nutmeg in the background, DEH in foreground
- DEH has white on its sides and the colour is a pastel creamy
orange compared to the Nutmeg in the background.
The following section aims to show the moulting
process of a Nutmeg Gerbil, a fantastic spectacle to see!
At around 6 weeks old your Nutmeg pup will
begin the first stages of moulting, first the underfur will begin
to darken, this might not be as noticable but the colour begins
to dull slightly and then you begin to see, what can only be described
as dark lines across the body - almost like brindling in mice,
dogs, guinea pigs etc. It isn't until around a week later that
the moult actually begins - this is where old hair is replaced
by new hair, and this time the colour change is very dramatic!
These new hairs will have a large area of
black ticking on the tips of each strand, the beautiful orange
is still there, but lower down the strand of hair, so if you blow
on the fur, you can see the tangy orange underneath.
Then at around
8 weeks old the process should totally be over - the whole thing
taking 2-3 weeks.
Here we are at Day 28, the top Gerbil is
a Dark Eyed Honey and the bottom is a Nutmeg. We can see a different
in the shade of colour, the DEH is lighter and has white sides,
where the Nutmeg has a solid tummy and the orange is a deeper
more tangy colour.
The underfur to the Nutmeg is begining to
come through, the fur around the nose, eyes and arms are begging
to get more dull...
The nose of the
Nutmeg below is begining to get dark, Nutmegs have dark noses,
almost like a colourpoint Gerbil and the darker the nose then
the better they will do in show. The nose and arms are the first
areas to begin to darken.
We can start to see lines on the arms of the Nutmegs, and the
stomachs are beginning to darken.
In the photo below, see the front leg, there's a line going across
it, also see how 'dirty' the mouth area is looking.
The brindling lines
on the Nutmeg below is quite obvious, they are all around the
sides and extending down to the back legs.
Showing more darkening of the underfur on
the sides, feet and tail.
Here, we can see
the process is definately underway now. The nose is very dark,
and looking at the sides of the body we can see that the hair
is being fully replaced now. The cheeks are moulting and will
move over the face and finish at the nape of the neck.
Comparing a Nutmeg next to a Dark Eyed Honey.
Now, the difference is very obvious and there's almost no chance
of mistaking the two anymore.
The whole process is almost complete, just
the head still has this orange 'cap' left.
Here we can see
how most of the body has moulted, with just the top of the head
The process is complete, your Gerbil is
now its full adult colour, it will not go through the same kind
of moult again - I hope you didn't miss yours moulting!