- Gerbils are fun, curious and social pets. They enjoy exploring and lots of activity.
- Gerbils are not technically nocturnal, but they can be active during daytime and nighttime.
- They are naturally social and have lived in colonies in the wild. Many owners adopt gerbils of the same gender from the same litter. Some unfamiliar males will fight with one another, so be cautious when adopting. Male and female gerbils should not be kept together as it is very likely to have unplanned offspring.
- Never allow anyone to pick up a gerbil by the tail.
- Most gerbils live for approximately 2-3 years. Some gerbils can live longer, even for up to 8 years.
Housing and Bedding:
- Metal cages and enclosures designed for gerbils are easy to find and do work well. Although fun and interesting, it is best to avoid enclosures with networks of tunnels as they can be difficult to keep clean. Gerbils will chew on plastic cages which could compromise the integrity of the enclosure.
- Aquariums can also work well but will need to be cleaned more regularly to prevent ammonia buildup which can be harmful to gerbils’ respiratory systems.
- If using an aquarium, be sure to have a well fitted wire mesh lid to prevent gerbils from escaping.
- Paper bedding is a good choice for gerbils. They have a natural burrowing and tunneling behavior, so a thick base layer is important for them to have. Aspen can be suitable but avoid pine or cedar shavings. Make changing your pet’s bedding part of your regular routine. Daily spot cleaning and weekly deeper cleaning is typically sufficient to ensure cleanliness and good health.
- Gerbils will need nesting material. They enjoy shredding, so plain white tissue is best and safest.
- They will need a nest box or hidey box. They enjoy hiding and will use this box to sleep in.
- Gerbils can occasionally overheat. Be sure their enclosure is kept in a climate controlled and well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight.
- Cage or enclosure
- Nesting material
- Ceramic Food Bowls
- Water bottle with spout
- Toys – safe for gerbils to chew on
- Gerbil safe exercise wheel
- Gerbils are busy little animals and they need lots of things to keep them occupied.
- Climbing elements are nice as gerbils like to explore and move around. Be sure to provide things that they cannot get their tail stuck in. A thick piece of wood or non-toxic blocks can work well.
- Safe chewing toys, such as wood, apple sticks, small cardboard boxes and paper tubes are great to provide. Gerbils will destroy paper and cardboard, but they have fun while doing it!
- You can consider getting an exercise wheel but get one with a solid surface to prevent injuries. Hamster wheels as they are sold are not suitable for gerbils as it is possible for your gerbil to get their tail stuck in it and become seriously injured.