Gerbils are active little pets who don’t require a lot of care. Because they are desert animals, they don’t produce a lot of waste, so their cage only needs to be cleaned about every other month!
Gerbils are nocturnal animals, but they are sometimes awake during the day too. When awake, they are always on the move and it’s fun to watch them dig and burrow, play together and run on their exercise wheel.
Because gerbils are so active, it is difficult for young children to hold them, but they can be fun to watch for people of all ages.
One gerbil, or more?
Gerbils are very social animals and should be kept in same sex pairs or groups.
The basic gerbil diet should be a fortified grain mix. You can also give gerbils small amounts of fruit and veggies and other healthy foods. Don’t give too much fresh food at one time because gerbils will store the excess, which might spoil. Treats are great for training and strengthening the bond between you and your gerbils and can comprise 10% of their diet.
A gerbil cage should be at least 18″ X 10″ X 10″ high, filled with 6-8″ of bedding to allow the gerbils to burrow. You can use an aquarium, a large hamster cage with plastic tubes, or a wire cage with a very deep pan. Because gerbils are desert animals, too much humidity is bad for them, which is the only drawback of aquariums and plastic habitats. There should not be moisture build-up on the inside of the cage. Try to keep the humidity in the room below 50%. For bedding you can choose from aspen shavings, hay, moss, peat, or shredded paper. A mix of two or more beddings tends to work well. Do not use cedar shavings.
Gerbils need a water bottle and a dry food dispenser. You can place 4″ plastic tubes underneath their bedding and the gerbils will dig down to them to use them for sleeping. They need an exercise wheel, and enjoy climbing toys such as ladders, ropes, and branches, and chew toys.
Clean the water bottle weekly, scrubbing all parts. Remove all moist food that isn’t immediately eaten. The cage and bedding needs to be cleaned and changed only about every 1-2 months.
Gerbils enjoy a dust bath inside a fish bowl outside their cage once or twice a week. If you watch this amusing show you should wear a painter’s mask to avoid breathing the dust.
With proper care and diet, gerbils tend to be healthy animals.
The gerbil’s tail is very delicate. Never grab the tip of a gerbil’s tail because the skin will come off.
Gerbils live an average of 3-4 years, although it’s possible for them to live 6 years. The gestation period is 24 days and the average litter size is 4-5. Baby gerbils open their eyes at 16 days and can be weaned at 5 weeks.
If you have questions about your gerbils, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you choose a gerbil care book for more complete information. You, your veterinarian, and the staff here at the store will form the team which will be responsible for your gerbils’ well-being.
- Water bottle
- Dry food dispenser
- Gerbil food
- Bath dust
- Exercise wheel
- Climbing toys
- Chew toys
- Sleeping tubes
- Fish bowl for dust baths