Gerbils Care: About Pet Gerbils
My family just took a little trip to petsmart the other day and fell in love with two adorable gerbils, we were surprised to see how active and friendly they are, they truly have been a great addition to our household which consists of myself, my mom, and my two noisy younger brothers, 6 and 8 years old.
What Makes Gerbils a Great Pet for Us
Gerbils are from the desert and semi-desert areas of Africa and Mongolia, this makes them a creature that requires LESS water then most other rodents, also meaning less Cage cleaning due to less urine... making Gerbils a particularly clean animal! In our house "LESS Cage cleaning" is a great phrase, in fact, I'm sure it's a great phrase in "ANY" household!
Gerbils are a very friendly animal, they hardly ever bite, are curious of what's going on, and will often adapt to your schedule! They are such lovable creatures... :)
1. Gerbils will grow to be 6-7 inches long (including the tail).
2. Gerbils live 4-5 years if properly cared for.
3. Gerbils like (generally) quiet environments.
4. Gerbils are playful and enjoy peoples attention.
About Pet Gerbils
Gerbils are a part of the rodent family, along with mice, rats, hamsters, and other small furies. The word 'rodent' is derived from the Latin word 'rodere' which means 'to gnaw'.
Gerbils are friendly, curious, animals. You will smile the minute you see the little gerbil slowly waking up with it's small warm eyes welcoming you as they come to greet you.
Or when you see all of them sleeping in a gerbil pile up.
If that's not enough to fall in love with, the moment you see them stand up on their back legs, sniff the air and see those cute tails with a spritz of fur sticking out from the end you will surely fall in love, they are just so adorable!
Gerbils Care: Gerbil Foods About Nuts & Seeds
"What Do Gerbils Eat?"
Gerbils enjoy all kinds of different nuts, seeds, berries, and other fruits and vegetables. Nuts like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, and other such nuts are very enjoyable for gerbils.
When buying gerbils nuts make sure they are unsalted, and preferably raw, or uncooked. Raw and unsalted nuts are better for gerbils while the roasted, flavored and salted nuts can be very unhealthy to gerbils and cause them health problems due to lack of nutrition, disease and obesity.
Gerbils also enjoy seeds. Seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and other such seeds are awesome source of protein and energy for gerbils!
Again with the seeds, the should be unsalted, unflavored and preferably raw, or uncooked. Any flavored, salted, roasted nuts and or seeds in large quantities can be hazardous the a gerbils health and should not be given o them in large amounts.
Gerbils Care: Store Bought Gerbil Foods & Fresh Foods
Store bought gerbil food are also good, I recommend gerbil food mixtures with mostly seeds and nuts and little alfalfa bites, grains and color cookies. A medium mixture of the above items is good, gerbils also like dried fruits and vegetables in their food mixtures, such as carrots, apples, corn, and other items like the above.
About fresh foods, gerbils love fresh foods, such as fresh produce that's not dried. Kiwi, pear, celery, zucchini, cucumber, carrots, parsnips, corn, lettuce, plums, grapes, strawberries, blue berries, blackberries, mulberries, bananas, apple chunks are all good for gerbils.
A mixture of different nuts and seeds along with a bit of fresh produce will keep your gerbil healthy, and will keep their fur coat soft and shin.
Gerbils Care: Before Feeding Your Pet Gerbils
Food Preparation: Note: Foods will need preparation, please read on to find out what, how and why.
Fruits and vegetables needs to be washed, to remove any harmful substances from their surface, or pesticides from the surface of the produce. Wash produce in warm, clean water, scrub to remove any dirt.
Note: Remove any left over fresh food after 2-4 hours of putting it in the cage to prevent your gerbils eating rotten produce.
Nuts, seeds, and store bought food mixtures need to be put in the freezer BEFORE they are fed to your gerbil, for at least 5 hours, overnight would be best. This is because (store bought brands especially) can sometimes have little bugs in the mixture, or eggs, putting the food in the freezer kill the bugs or eggs that may or may not be there. If you gerbils get these bugs they can lead to discomfort, disease and in extreme cases even death, so please be cautious and freeze your food.
Gerbils Care: Apple SEEDS...
Apple SEEDS are poison to gerbils, not the apple.. they enjoy apple, it's just the seeds. Don't give them the core to the apple.
Gerbils Care: Gerbil's Need to Ware Down Their Teeth...
Don't let gerbils teeth get to long.
Gerbil's teeth are constantly growing, just like humans nails or hair keeps growing! Therefore Gerbil teeth need to be worn down, don't worry, this isn't hard!
An easy way to keep your gerbil's teeth short is to just give them things to chew on, chew balls, chew sticks, toys designed for gerbils and or cardboard. Things like cereal boxes, paper board, TP tubes are great for gerbils to chew on!
NOTE: Gerbils do NOT eat cardboard or chew toys, they simply chew on them, cardboard is no substitute for food.
Sometimes gerbils will enjoy sticks, you can most likely find some in your yard. Gerbils also like to climb, so getting to longer sticks for them to chew and climb would be great! After getting some sticks from the backyard make sure they do not have thorns or are not poison to you, chances are if it's poison to you it's poison to them. Then take them to your kitchen sink or whatever and just wash them off, in clean warm water, noting else, no cleaning products or boiling just wash them off in warm water.
Gerbils Care: Playing With Gerbils
Gerbils (being friendly animals) like to be handled and played with!
Gerbils are very social animals and should be kept in a main room of the house, so they can see what you're doing, this will help them keep entertained active and healthy.
Our Gerbils love to be in the living room where they watch us eat, play, type on the computers or just walk through, this keeps them entertained... being entertained keeps them happy, and a happy Gerbil is a Healthy Gerbil!
Gerbil toys are fun, but sometimes can get expressive. I recommend using house hold items as toys, paper tubes, boxes, branches from outside, clean, unscented paper towels, or other paper they can chew.
Note: Do NOT give them newspaper, the inks they use are unhealthy for gerbils.
Bleached paper is ok, (bleached paper being white paper) but brown unbleached paper is best!
Gerbils will love to tear apart the paper and carry it places in their mouths, make nests and and hide outs!
Gerbils Care: Gerbils, what do they feel like?
Ever wonder if your Gerbil is scared or happy, content, feels safe? Gerbils display a way humans can identify with their feelings without, well, speaking Gerbil!
When Gerbils feel scared the will stand on their back legs with their front paws crossed or gripping each other.
When Gerbils feel curious they will stand on their back feet and hold their paws in front of them, loosely, and will often sniff the air or look around.
When gerbils are feeling relaxed and safe, and only when they feel safe, they will take a bath, if your Gerbil is never taking a bath it's most likely it's
- *Too loud
*Too Open, or in a direct area that gets too many people
*need time to locate to it's new location, or home.
Gerbils Care: Gerbil Bedding
"what kind of bedding should you use for gerbils?"
Gerbil bedding is actually an easy subject!
I recommend using brown paper bedding, or just using cardboard!
Not only is cardboard good to ware down gerbils teeth, gerbils also chew it apart to make beds, or known as nests. The will chew their own bedding within a day or two if they are happy.
If you would rather use store bought bedding make sure you use paper bedding. Other beddings are nowhere near as comfortable and some other beddings such as pine and cedar wood beddings are toxic to the gerbils.
Other beddings like sand bedding are not good either as the small grains of sand will get in your gerbil's eyes and cause them discomfort or even blindness.
I Recommend These Gerbil Bedding Products - Here are the products I use for my gerbils.
Gerbils Care: Space and Size
Another thing that makes Gerbils such a great pets for us is our lack of space, Gerbils at full grown,
(are full grown by 6 months old) are approximately 7-10 inches long, including the tail.
A good Gerbil Cage size would be 13"L x 11"W x 10"H. This is a standard size Cage, can hold from 1- 3 Gerbils if you are keeping multiples. Most "All in One" cages at the pet store are this size, they will often say on the box perfect size for Hamsters and Gerbils!
But the bigger the cage you can get them the happier they will be, we have our gerbil's in a 3 story cage. Just remember when choosing a cage to make sure the bars are close enough together the gerbils cannot escape through the bars.
Gerbils Care: Cage Cleaning
"How To Clean A Gerbil's Cage"
1. First off you will need a container to move your gerbils to before you start cleaning. A bin with tall sides, that wont tip over, remember not to put them in a container that is airtight. Once you have your gerbils in a new place for the moment and they are safe you may continue.
2. Take the base of the cage and remove all toys, houses, food dishes water bottles EVERYTHING.
3. Dump out the bottom of the cage, remove all the beding from the floor and other shelves of the cage. If the bottom (or any other part of the cage) looks bad, smell bad make sure you wash it out with warm , clean water, do Not use cleaning products, these will shorten the life span of your gerbil by almost half or the normal time and some times can kill the gerbil within days of use.
4. Wash all the food dishes, water bottles, toys and houses, if you are giving them cardboard this is the time to just throw it all out, it's done and dirty, take everything out and clean it completely.
5. After everything is washed, cleaned and dried you may put back together the little gerbil's cage.
6. Now you can put your gerbils back in their newly cleaned cage!
Gerbils Care: Keep Your Gerbils Active...
Try rearranging things in your Gerbil's cage after cleaning, move the food to another place change where the water bottle hangs, or just exchange or move around toys. This will keep your gerbil excited and active, and they will feel the need to keep exploring and become more intelligent as a result.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.