Who Will Be America's Next Top Gerbil?

Rodents that look like football players and gymnasts have best chance

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted May 4, 2013 3:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – Gerbil pageants: they are a real thing. In fact, the American Gerbil Society is holding its annual pageant this weekend, with rodents from across the country descending on New England to vie for the title of "top gerbil," reports the AP. The gerbils race through an obstacle course while judges assess their body type and ability.

Just like a human body-building competition, there is an aesthetic ideal that the gerbils must embody to win. "A male gerbil should be a good, strong, hefty-looking gerbil," says Libby Hanna, the president of the American Gerbil Society. "You might think of a football player—somebody who's big, thick neck, nice, strong-looking male gerbil." Female gerbils, on the other hand, should be more like a gymnast. "I usually use a figure skater as my mental image or gymnasts," says Hanna. "So obviously a gymnast is not necessarily a big, big woman, but she's gonna be strong, muscular and athletic."

Diane Nott, of Elyria, Ohio, holds a gerbil prior to the society's annual New England pageant.
Diane Nott, of Elyria, Ohio, holds a gerbil prior to the society's annual New England pageant.   (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi)
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