Gerbilling, also known as gerbil stuffing or gerbil shooting, is an urban legend that describes a supposed sexual practice of inserting small live animals (usually gerbils but also mice, hamsters, rats and various other rodents) into the human rectum to obtain stimulation. Some variations of the legend suggest that the rodent be covered in a psychoactive substance such as cocaine prior to being inserted.
According to folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand, accounts of gerbilling were first recorded in 1984 and initially were said to involve a mouse and an unidentified man. In subsequent versions of the story, the animal was a gerbil and the story applied to several male celebrities. Rumors surrounding various male celebrities engaging in gerbilling have become persistent urban legends.
Mike Walker, a National Enquirer gossip columnist, spent months attempting to verify the gerbilling rumors about a celebrity. "I've never worked harder on a story in my life," Walker told the Palm Beach Post in 1995. After much investigation, he was unable to find any evidence that a gerbilling incident ever happened: "I'm convinced that it's nothing more than an urban legend."
Nonetheless, the practice of gerbilling remains in popular culture. A February 2015 episode of Family Feud featured a woman who immediately answered "a gerbil" when host Steve Harvey asked "Name something a doctor would pull out of a person." The response produced prolonged laughter from the audience and a stunned silence from Harvey; even the other contestant at the podium bursted out laughing over her response. The clip of the scene from the episode quickly went viral.
- Rectal foreign object
- "The Death Camp of Tolerance", an episode of South Park that features the urban legend
- Barbara and David P. Mikkelson (2001-11-18). "From Gere to eternity". Urban Legends Reference Pages. snopes.com. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
- Brunvand, Jan Harold (2001). "The Colo-Rectal Mouse". Encyclopedia of Urban Legends. W.W. Norton & Company. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-57607-076-5. ISBN 9781576070765
- Brunvand, Jan Harold (2001). "Gerbiling". Encyclopedia of Urban Legends. W.W. Norton & Company. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-57607-076-5. ISBN 9781576070765
- "Gerbilling Mishap Injures Two". About.com. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- Dan Savage (March 20, 2013). "Gerbils? Again?". thestranger.com.
- Young, Paul (2002). L.A. Exposed: Strange Myths and Curious Legends in the City of Angels. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 20. ISBN 978-0312206468.
- Adams, Cecil (1986). "Is It True What they Say About Gerbils?" The Straight Dope, March 28, 1986.
- Busch, D. B.; Starling, J. R. (1986). "Rectal foreign bodies: case reports and a comprehensive review of the world's literature". Surgery 100 (3): 512–519. PMID 3738771.
- She said what? Possibly the most awkward answer ever shouted on game show KSTU (02/12/2015)
- Norine Dresser (July 1994). "The Case of the Missing Gerbil". Western Folklore 53 (3): 229–242. JSTOR 1499810.
- Barbara and David P. Mikkelson (2001-11-18). "From Gere to Eternity". Urban Legends Reference Pages.
- Cecil Adams (1986-03-28). "Is it true what they say about gerbils?". The Straight Dope.
- Becky Vorpagel (1988). "A rodent by Any Other Name: Implications of a Contemporary Legend". International Folklore Review 6: 53–57.
- Jane Hu (2012-11-19). "A Complete History Of Gerbiling So Far". The Awl.