Everything you need before getting a gerbil!

gerbil gnawing straw toys
08 May 2020 Pets4Company

What do I need to know before purchasing a gerbil? Housing, food, hygiene care ... find everything here!

These fascinating little rodents are a good option when choosing a pet for the whole family. Their needs are relatively simple, however, there are some precautions to take to provide your gerbils with everything they need. This guide aims to provide a quick introduction to some of the basic principles of how to care for your gerbil . Before moving on, we alert potential owners that gerbils should not be left with children unattended as they are fragile, and the ultimate responsibility for their care lies with parents or other adults.

Housing and Hygiene:

The cage must be spacious and equipped with several hiding places and toys made from non-toxic material. We should give preference to untreated woods , since these little friends have a habit of biting in order to wear out their constantly growing teeth and, as such, they can ingest small pieces of harmful material.

The choice between having one or more gerbils should be well thought out since they are very territorial beings and can generate conflicts over space. The ideal is to acquire two gerbils who are already used to cohabiting to avoid unpleasant situations.

At the bottom of the cage the best options is an absorbent litter suitable for rodents and those who produce less dust should be chosen as this is harmful to their small lungs. If possible, this material should be a few centimeters high since gerbils like to dig.

Some owners choose tanks or aquariums, and, in this case, they should bet on good ventilation so that the moisture in the water and urine does not give rise to the growth of molds and fungi. If that is your choice, the tank should contain a significant height of substrate where small gerbils build tunnels and hide some toys and treats.

The entire habitat must be cleaned frequently and with non-abrasive products.

As a rule, gerbils take care of their own hygiene , and sand dust suitable for bath should be provided since they are used to taking dry baths in their natural habitat . Water bathing should be avoided, reserving only for extreme situations.

Food:

The gerbils are an omnivorous species of the desert. Their food is mostly composed of vegetable matter. They need to eat seeds , fruits and vegetables to be happy and healthy! However, they need some animal protein, thus also feeding on some insects .

Today, most gerbil nutritional needs can be filled with good quality dry foods , with a comprehensive range of vitamins and minerals to ensure your pet has everything it needs. These dry foods appear in the form of different rations appropriate to the species. In addition, most owners also offer fresh food to gerbils, both to help their teeth stay healthy and to provide a much-loved variety to their diet.

We must always keep a water bottle at the disposal with a ball-point containing clean water that must be changed daily.

Health and well-being:

By keeping a balanced diet and the right amount of exercise, the gerbil will maintain health stable. The eyes must be clear and shiny as well as the hair, the skin must not contain wounds, the breath must be without noise and the nose must be clean and without a runny nose.

Both males and females have a pectoral gland that performs territorial marking functions. The gland must be clean, without redness or sores. In males, tumors at the level of the gland may occur, less common in females.

Note that health is not only physical, but also psychological. Therefore, we should avoid environments that are too noisy or that can cause stress.