Having a gerbil for a pet is like sharing your home with a miniature roommate. Gerbils are the extroverts of the rodent world and they find people to be particularly fascinating. After you’ve earned your gerbil’s trust, a process which takes no time at all because gerbils just can’t wait to make friends, you’ll be able to play with your tiny bundle of fur, play with him, and help you de-stress after the day’s work is done. When you come home, your gerbil is so happy that you’re back home that he’ll jump up and down when he sees you. He’ll lick your hand, play with your hair, and nestle into a comfortable position on your chest. This pet is a cuddler, not standoffish at all; in fact, quite the reverse. They love attention. At the same time, they’re a low-maintenance pet that lets you have the best of both worlds if you’re looking for an animal companion that’s not going to add a lot of extra work to your daily schedule.
What Are Some Characteristics Of A Gerbil Pet?
Gerbils are curious about everything. They’re adventurous and they love to explore. Their home is a source of endless fascination for them. Don’t be surprised to see your gerbil poised upright on his back legs, checking out the local scene. Another source of interest for a gerbil? You! Gerbils love to see what their owners are doing.
Gerbils As Pets: The Pros And Cons
If you’re looking for a pet who will also be a companion, a gerbil fits the bill. Gerbils are affectionate and eager to become attached to their owners. The costs of maintaining a gerbil is minimal in comparison to most other pets.
Although gerbils are easy to care for, they do require attention; that means that they need to be fed every day. Their water bottles need to be refilled daily. The enclosure needs regular cleaning. They have a lifespan of around four years, which is much less than that of dogs and cats. They aren’t really an ideal pet for a child because of their care, so an adult would need to be the main caregiver.
Is A Gerbil A Good Pet For A Child?
Children will enjoy watching gerbils at play, and gerbils enjoy interacting with humans. Gerbils are gentle and most unlikely to ever bite. But a small child may not always know how to handle a pet, so it’s best if an adult supervises the interaction between children and gerbils. Gerbils, even in their enclosures, may be frightened by the presence of other animals in the household, particularly cats, dogs, or ferrets.
What Kind Of Gerbil Care is Needed?
As with any pet, gerbils need to be well cared for. Potential health issues include mites, fleas, colds, and diarrhea. Keeping their enclosure well ventilated will avoid the deadly consequences caused by heatstroke and heat stress. Be careful when handling your pet; dropping this tiny animal could lead to broken bones, shock and convulsions, and even death. Never pick up your pet by the tail or you risk causing irreparable harm.
What Are The Best Gerbil Cages?
Gerbils love to chew, so a metal cage is better than a wooden one. But the best option is a glass aquarium tank with a mesh lid for a cover. It should not be round—gerbils love corners for curling up in—and should have a solid base.
Do Gerbil Cages Need Bedding?
Bedding and lots of it are important because gerbils enjoy burrowing deep into their home. It’s important to keep the cage clean but because gerbils produce minimal urine and excrete small, solid pellets, maintenance is easy and only needs cleaning every one to two weeks. Their penchant for burrowing, however, means that a lot of the substrate will be moved around, which is another reason to choose a glass tank over a wire enclosure.
What Kind Of Bedding Is Best for Gerbils?
The best bedding for gerbils is made of wood or paper pulp, or from other natural materials. You can also make your own bedding for your gerbil. Gerbils are resourceful and can chew these materials and combine them to make bedding that will support the tunnels they like to build.
What Kind of Bedding Should Not Be Used?
Avoid cedar and pine; these forms of bedding can lead to liver and respiratory issues for your pet. Fluffy nest bedding is also to be avoided because if the gerbil swallows the cotton, bowel blockage could result. Straw, also, is not advised; its sharp edges might be uncomfortable.
How Big Should the Cage Be For Two Gerbils?
Two gerbils will have plenty of room if you provide them with a home that’s at least two feet long and one foot wide. This allows sufficient space for the pair to be social with one another and while still managing to build tunnels without feeling cramped for room.
Can A Gerbil Live In A Hamster Cage?
Gerbils are energetic little burrowers so they need to live in a setting where they can dig tunnel systems throughout their home. Hamster cages do not provide for this trait.
What is a Gerbilarium?
A gerbilarium is a wire structure on top of a ten-gallon aquarium. The wire structure provides a sturdy living environment while the aquarium beneath contains the bedding that’s just right for burrowing.
What Gerbil Accessories Should Be Included In the Tank Or Cage?
Gerbil “real estate” should include a home that’s clean and well ventilated. It also needs wooden chew toys—no plastic—an exercise wheel, and lots of bedding.
What Gerbil Accessories Are Best For Burrowing?
Your gerbil is going to customize her home to satisfy that burrowing trait, so if you add a house, a tunnel and a bridge into the tank, you’re giving your pet just what she wants. If you bury these items beneath the bedding, your gerbil will be thrilled to have her own concealed gerbil “cave.” Keep in mind that you’ll be replacing those items throughout the life of your exotic pet because gerbils love to chew.
Do Gerbils Need An Exercise Wheel?
Definitely! Gerbils have lots of energy to expend, so an eight-inch exercise wheel is just the right size for their personal fitness routines. Exercise wheels cost around $30; look for one that’s chew-proof. Pay attention to its condition to make sure that it’s not being chewed on; if you have plenty of wooden chew toys for your gerbil, you may not have to worry about him sampling the plastic wheel.
What Kind Of Gerbil Toys Are Best?
Sturdy wooden toys are best for your gerbil; it gives him that dental outlet that he cherishes and doesn’t cause a risk like a plastic toy would. But you can also use around-the-house items like paper towel and toilet paper cardboard rolls.
Where Should the Gerbil Enclosure Be Located?
Gerbils like to be where the action is. A room where people are doing things is going to provide your exotic animal with an ongoing source of entertainment. You may never have thought of yourself as particularly fascinating, but to your pet gerbil, you’re a celebrity. If they had a camera, they’d be the paparazzi!
Do Gerbils Like Affection?
They love it? No matter whether it’s day or night, your gerbil is always willing to stop what she’s doing if you want to hold her or play with her.
Are Gerbils Social or Solitary By Nature?
Because they’re social animals, they thrive in same-sex pairs so they can interact and play. But don’t worry; even though they have a pal, they’re always ready to play and they love to be cuddled. If you take them out of their cage, don’t let them out of your sight. They’re inquisitive and they love to explore, but if you take your eye off them even for a minute, you may be too late to catch them.
Can Gerbils Be Trained To Do Things?
Gerbils love to be held, so the first part of their training is easy to accomplish. It helps them get used to your finger when you reach for them. After they’re comfortable, they can even be taught to jump right into your hand when you reach into their tank. A gerbil is smart enough to learn to use a litter box which makes caring for them even easier. And here’s something to try—they can be trained to respond to their name!
Do Gerbils Bite?
Gerbils rarely bit, if ever, especially if they’re being handled during the age of 18 to 35 days, which is a crucial period in their development. They’re peace-loving, nonaggressive pets who’d much rather cuddle than bite.
Why Do Gerbils Like To Chew?
Because their teeth keep growing, gerbils chew in order to wear them down. Otherwise, the teeth would grow through their cheeks, leading to injury. Giving them wooden planks to chew will keep their teeth active.
Are Gerbils Destructive?
While we’re on the subject of what gerbils do with their teeth, we have to acknowledge that while they aren’t likely to bite you, they’re going to gnaw on anything within reach of their teeth. Plastic is especially vulnerable to gerbil chewing and it’s not safe for them, so stick to wood and everyone will be safe and happy.
What Is The Cost For Gerbils For Sale?
The initial cost of a gerbil for sale is only between $5 and $10 dollars if buying from a local pet store. Gerbils for sale in some large pet store chains are bought in large volume and may not have gotten the initial care that they should have. Other options for finding your pet gerbil are sites such as petfinder.com, where you can find a gerbil to adopt. You can also select a pet from a professional breeder.
What Is The Expected Gerbil Lifespan?
Generally, a gerbil will live at least three years; gerbils that are well cared for might live as long as four years. Although losing a pet after only four years is hard, those four years will be filled with delight as your pet gerbil keeps you laughing with his merry antics. You’ll have happy memories of your time with your gerbil.
What Is The Great Gerbil?
The Great Gerbil, which can have a head and body length of as much as eight inches, is the name for the largest gerbil species. Their coloring is a dark, gray-yellow or yellow-orange, so that they blend in with their natural environment. Their large front claws are handy for burrowing.
Where Is the Natural Gerbil Habitat?
Although there are more than 90 different gerbil species, the domesticated ones come from the Mongolian gerbil. They were discovered in Mongolia by a French naturalist. They live in the Gobi desert and the steppe in central Asia, between China and Mongolia. This region is arid, with high and low extremes of temperatures.
What Is The Standard Gerbil Size?
By adulthood, a typical gerbil will weigh two to four ounces and will be five to six inches long, with the three- or four-inch fur-covered tail adding extra length.
How Do Baby Gerbils Grow?
Blind at birth, baby gerbils or pups, as they are called, are already independent by the age of five or six weeks. Baby gerbils should not be handled by humans; let the mother adjust to them on her own. The coat begins to grow in the first week of life; by the third week, their eyes are opening. The baby gerbil should not be separated from its mother until the age of six weeks.
What To Feed A Gerbil?
Pet stores sell commercial food consisting of the recommended 15 percent protein with a mix of grain types, which meets a gerbil’s dietary needs. You can occasionally supplement that diet with plain cereals, seeds, fresh vegetables, and small bits of fruit. Too many sunflower seeds or peanuts can cause your gerbil to put on extra ounces, leading to obesity. Lettuce, due to its high water content, isn’t recommended as a frequent snack because it can lead to diarrhea. You can also supplement their diet with mealworms and crickets.
What Are Common Gerbil Colors?
Gerbils have as many as 50 possible different color combinations, including black, brown, gray, reddish brown or cinnamon, and white, with either short or long hair that ranges in texture and pattern. Their fur may have a smooth, satiny appearance, or it may be wavy. Some have a dark stripe down the middle of the back, and others have a white fur band around the belly. Other possible variations include white or buff colored patches behind their ears, or dark markings on their heads. Another variation is the furless gerbil.
Are Gerbils and Hamsters the Same Animal?
No, they are two different animals. Even though gerbils and hamsters are both members of the rodent family and are similar in size and preferred diets, they are not the same. Gerbils are social, hamsters are solitary. This is a significant trait depending upon the kind of pet that you are looking for.
Are Gerbils and Guinea Pigs The Same Animal?
No. Although there are similarities between the two, they are not the same. Because their nutritional needs are not the same, they do not eat the same food. Although gerbils are extremely energetic, they don’t run as much as guinea pigs, which need a larger cage.
Any time you’re deciding on what best exotic pets to add to your home, there are many things to consider. It’s important to be aware of how much time you have to give to an animal, both for its daily care and for interaction. A gerbil is a wonderful pet for someone who is looking for a playful companion who will enjoy spending time with an engaging little fur-child. In exchange for your attention, your gerbil will give you endless hours of amusement, comfort, and sheer fun. They like people, they like life, and they’re fascinated by everything that goes on around them.
If you’re still deciding whether or not a gerbil would be a good addition to your household, you can contact a shelter to see about fostering a gerbil. You’ll get to know the requirements of caring for a gerbil and you can make an informed decision about bringing home one of your own.