Basic Gerbil Care

Have you decided to bring a gerbil into your home? Gerbils are very popular pocket pets. These gentle little furballs are very easy to care for, and quite clean. Gerbils, like any other animal, do have specific care needs which must be met in order for them to thrive. In this article, your vet Vista goes over a few gerbil care basics.


Wild gerbils live in groups, and are very social creatures, so a single gerbil will often be lonely. Therefore, your gerbil should have at least one roommate to keep him company. Take care to introduce new gerbils slowly, so they don’t fight. Gerbils have short memories, though, so if your gerbils are ever separated, you’ll need to re-introduce them as though they had never met.


A quality seed mix can comprise most of your gerbils’ basic diet. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are good ingredients, but take care that your gerbil doesn’t just pick these tidbits out and leave the rest, as this can cause health problems. Pellets and lab blocks are also acceptable, if a bit bland. You can supplement your gerbils’ meals with washed fruits and veggies and whole-wheat bread. As treats, gerbils can enjoy bits of egg, cheese, or meat, and the occasional mealworm, raisin, or dog biscuit. Like any animal, gerbils must also have fresh water available at all times.


Glass aquariums are a great option, because they will keep the bedding and substrate contained, and gerbils can’t chew through them as they can a plastic cage. Each gerbil will need about 5 gallons of room. Keep your gerbil cage secure, as these little cuties are pretty good escape artists! Use about 3 inches of a suitable substrate, such as Aspen or corncob. You can add shredded toilet paper or paper towels for nesting and bedding material. Avoid pine and cedar, and anything that is scented. Make sure to include at least one hidey-hole for your pets. Once you have the cage ready, it’s time to add some toys. Gerbils need to chew to keep their teeth from growing too long, so you’ll need to give your pet some chew toys. Cardboard boxes and wooden toys are excellent choices.


Gerbils are quite docile by nature, but they are also shy, and will need to get used to being handled. Give your little furballs a few days to settle in before trying to handle them. Remember to never pick up your gerbil by the tail, as you could injure your little buddy.

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