Friday, December 2, 2016

How to Keep a Pet Gerbil
Gerbils are cute furry creatures, much smaller than cats. They are playful and make endearing pets.

Gerbils are friendly and sociable animals. Belonging to the rodent family, they are available in many species, though the Mongolian gerbil is the commonest. They are easy to look after, but need to be in groups so it is a good idea to get at least two of the same sex if need be, otherwise they will proliferate.

While they are not exactly nocturnal, they are more active during the evening and night hours. They need human contact on a daily basis if they are kept as pets, otherwise they will become asocial and return to their wild ways. However, as a breed they are more timid.

Buying your gerbil

It is best to buy a gerbil when it is about five weeks old as older gerbils may be difficult to train. When looking at gerbils see that they are healthy and playful. If they are lethargic, not clean and do not look wide awake and inquisitive, there may be something wrong with them.

If it is genuinely sick, it may have a runny nose, sticky eyes and other symptoms. Even if you are buying a healthy looking pair, try and see they are about the same age and keep them separately for sometime, till they get used to each other. Or you can buy a pair from the same litter.

Housing your gerbil

You can keep your gerbils in a wire cage or an aquarium which is covered with a wire mesh to prevent them from escaping and provide ventilation. In either case if you are keeping more than one, separate one from the other with clear plastic or acrylic sheet till they get to know each other. Occasionally gerbils will just not get along with others and will keep fighting which will not be good for them or for you.

Ideally they should have a two tiered living space. You should use wood shavings and shredded newspapers for their bedding. Their bedding should be deep enough for them to burrow in. As their natural habitat in underground, you should provide them with hollow tubes or similar items so that they can follow their natural urges. Some branches can also be put in their housing as they like to climb.

Their habitation should be in a warm dry place away from direct sunlight or draughts. You can even get a cage which is meant hamsters or buy a more expensive gerbilarium.


Ready made gerbil mix is available as a feed. It is easy to use and feed and provides them with proper nutrition. Additionally you can add some fruit and vegetables to their diet. They will also need some water.

Apart from that they need something to gnaw on as their teeth grow very fast. Wooden blocks, tree branches are a good bet as is wicker which is natural. Don’t give them sweet stuff, chocolate, toffee, potatoes, onion, garlic and other foods which are dangerous for gerbils.

Cleaning them

As they are desert inhabitants they enjoy rolling around in the sand which serves to clean them. Gerbils also groom each other. So they do not need to be specially cleaned or bathed. Basically their fur should be clean and shiny.

Handling your gerbil

Though gerbils are not aggressive, never pull their tails or handle their tails. You need to hold it lightly but firmly, stroking it with your hand. This way they will get used to you.

You can also feed it while it is in your hand, this will teach him to know you better and associate you with food.

Gerbils live for about three years so you have to be prepared to care of your pets for that much time.

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