Here we can see, “How to Take Care of a Gerbil as a Pet”
Gerbils are popular pets because they are affordable and straightforward to care for. They are a type of burrowing rodent that originates in Africa and Asia. Although there are various types of gerbils in the wild, most gerbils kept as pets are Mongolian gerbils. They have a greyish coloration in the wild. Several color variations, including white, black, and gold, are accessible through selective breeding. Many gerbils can be trained to be hand-tame as pets with gentle handling. Their nutrition is uncomplicated, and their living quarters are simple to maintain.
Gerbil Temperament and Behavior
Unlike mice and hamsters, Gerbils are frequently seen sitting up on their hind legs. They are lively, curious, and playful animals, but they are still reasonably quiet pets. They are not nocturnal, though they occasionally become active at night and may slumber throughout the day.
Gerbils are gregarious animals that live in colonies in the wild; they do not make good solitary pets. As a result, maintaining a same-sex pair is essential. It’s better to choose littermates or young gerbils who will be able to grow up together. If you only have one adult gerbil, though, it can be challenging to introduce a new one because they are territorial. They frequently fight, and one of the gerbils is sometimes killed. To avoid stress and harm, gerbils should also be kept separate from other family pets.
Gerbils, as friendly creatures, can grow relatively tame when handled gently regularly. They have a typically pleasant nature and will only bite if they feel threatened. Hand-taming, a gerbil is relatively simple, mainly when treats are used as favorable reinforcement. You can expect to spend a few hours feeding, cleaning, and interacting with your pet every day.
The typical length of a gerbil’s body is roughly 4 inches. The tail adds about 4 inches to the overall length. Males are often slightly larger than females.
Many gerbil owners prefer glass aquariums over wire cages for gerbil keeping. Aquariums allow for a thick bedding layer, allowing gerbils to burrow in their native habitat. A tight mesh lid is required to prevent escapes and allow for proper ventilation. As a general guideline, each gerbil should have 5 liters of room.
Gerbils can be kept in wire cages. However, they habitually kick bedding through the metal bars and causing a mess. Please make sure the wires aren’t too narrow for the gerbil to squeeze through, but not too narrow that the gerbil’s legs or other body parts get caught. Plastic cages should not be utilized since they do not withstand gerbil chewing and do not provide appropriate ventilation.
Provide a variety of climbing and enrichment objects in the enclosure, such as thick pieces of wood, stable huge boulders, ladders, ramps, and platforms. To assist wear down a gerbil’s constantly developing teeth, toys that are safe to chew should always be available. Wooden toys for small animals or even birds are excellent choices. Although they are soon destroyed, toilet paper tubes are a popular gerbil toy.
To prevent injuries, add an exercise wheel with a solid surface. Your gerbil’s paws, tail, or other body parts should not become stuck in any portion of the exercise wheel.
A nest box is also necessary for gerbils to feel safe. They’ll take refuge in their nest box and sleep there. Plastic is quickly ruined by chewing. Therefore a solid wood or ceramic nest box is recommended. Wood is also prone to be chewed, but it lasts a little longer. Another alternative for a gerbil nest box is a clay flower pot.
Specific Substrate Needs
Fill the habitat with at least 2 inches of dye-free paper or aspen bedding. Gerbils should not be exposed to cedar or pine shavings. 3 Include nesting materials for your gerbil, such as dye- and scent-free paper towels or tissue. Remove filthy places in the bedding daily, and change the bedding entirely once a week when you wash down the enclosure with mild soap and water.
Gerbils: What Do They Eat and Drink?
A designed pelleted meal should be the mainstay of your gerbil’s diet, and it should be available at all times. This will provide you with complete nourishment. Place a day’s worth of pellets in a small ceramic dish in the enclosure. After 24 hours, discard any uneaten pellets before adding the next day’s amount.
You can also serve a gerbil meal mix of seeds, grains, and dried vegetables. Note, however, that gerbils prefer high-fat seeds initially, particularly sunflower seeds. So you might want to pick them out and give them to your gerbil as a treat now and then to keep him from growing too fat. Please consult your veterinarian about the optimum feeding amount, as it varies depending on size and activity level.
Additionally, provide small amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits on a limited basis, again discussing the quantity with your veterinarian. Peas, broccoli, and apples are all acceptable choices. To avoid rotting, place fresh meals in a separate dish and remove them after a few hours. It’s ideal for giving them to your gerbil while they are most active.
Finally, gerbils should always have fresh water available to them. A water bottle that hooks to the enclosure side are ideal. However, keep a water dish nearby until you’re sure your gerbil is utilizing the bottle. Replace the water daily.
Typical Health Issues
Gerbils are generally healthy creatures. However, these are some of the more prevalent health concerns to be aware of:
- Injuries: The frail tail of a gerbil is easily damaged. Being snagged in anything or falling from a considerable height can also cause gerbils to break bones or sustain other injuries.
- Digestive diseases: Diarrhea is frequently a symptom of a bacterial or parasite intestinal problem.
- Problems with the skin: Hair loss and skin discomfort are both possible side effects of parasites.
- Seizures: In gerbils, spontaneous seizures are relatively common.
- Kidney disease: Increased thirst and urination and weight loss are symptoms of kidney illness in adult gerbils.
- Mass in the inner ear: A mass develops in the ear of many older gerbils, which can cause irreversible injury.
Your Gerbil’s Training
The most frequent training method for pet gerbils is hand-taming. Allow your gerbil to adjust to its new environment for a few days before handling it. When it appears to be at ease, calmly approach it when awake. With these steps, you can gradually acquire its trust:
- Treats can be given via the cage’s bars.
- Offer a treat through the open cage door when the gerbil accepts the treats regularly.
- Place a reward in your open palm and wait for the gerbil to come over and devour it.
- Treats should be placed on your arms so that the gerbil must climb up to retrieve them.
You can hold and carry your gerbil in your cupped palms after it is comfortable with you. Many gerbils like having their heads softly rubbed on the sides and backs. Avoid touching your gerbil’s tail; if you’re worried it’ll fall, grab the scruff of its neck and reposition it quickly but gently.
Gerbils are very playful and require exercise to keep them cognitively and physically occupied, which can help them avoid problems like obesity. One of the most excellent methods to ensure they get adequate exercise is to provide as large an enclosure as you can fit and afford. To keep kids occupied, make sure they have enough climbing structures, an exercise wheel, toys, and other objects. Allow them daily supervised out-of-cage time in a secure place where they may run and explore securely.
Gerbils groom themselves regularly and may also groom their cage mates as a form of bonding. Gerbils do not require bathing. If they get something stuck in their fur, you can gently wipe the area with a damp cloth to assist them in getting it out.
Costs of Maintenance
Food and bedding will be the continuing critical costs for a pet gerbil. Depending on the types you choose and the size of the habitat, you can expect to pay roughly $15 each month on average. Replace worn toys and other objects in the enclosure regularly, which will cost between $10 and $20. Make sure to budget for both routine and emergency veterinary treatment.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Having a Gerbil as a Pet
Gerbils are often peaceful pets who don’t require much space. They are usually hand-tamed and may be pretty entertaining to see. They must, however, be handled with care and are not suitable for young children. They can sometimes be a little sloppy with their bedding.
Similar Exotic Pets to the Gerbil
If you’re looking for a gerbil to keep as a pet, go to:
- African dormouse
- Golden hamster
Otherwise, look into other exotic animals as potential pets.
Adopting or Purchasing a Gerbil
Gerbils can be found in pet stores, breeders, and rescue organizations. It’s usually best to buy a gerbil from a reputable breeder or rescue, as they can provide more information about the gerbil’s health, history, and disposition. Expect to spend $10 to $20, but this can vary depending on the animal’s age and color.
Local exotic animal vets may be able to advise you to a reputable breeder or rescue organization. The American Gerbil Society maintains a list of ethical breeders. A breeder is frequently the best option if you seek a specific coat color or pattern.
Look for bright eyes, shiny hair, and no evidence of harm when buying a gerbil. Check if the seller’s animals are kept unsanitary conditions and aren’t becoming sluggish. Also, keep an eye out in the gerbil’s environment for signs of diarrhea. If you’re taking numerous gerbils home, make sure they’re all correctly sexed. To avoid accidental breeding, only keep members of the same sex together.
Do gerbils stink?
Gerbils have a small amount of urine and excrement. As a result, they have little or no odor (odor). Gerbils mark their territory with scent glands on their stomachs. However, this does not produce a foul odor. If your gerbil emits a foul odor, have them evaluated by a veterinarian.
Are gerbils good pets for beginners?
Gerbils are excellent children’s pets. They provide many hours of enjoyment and entertainment. Even though caring for a gerbil is simple, parents and children should know a few things before adopting one of these friendly rodents into their homes.
Are gerbils hard to take care of?
Gerbils are pretty simple to care for, requiring only daily feedings and routine cleaning.
Do gerbils like to be held?
Many gerbils can become accustomed to being handled gently. However, they may prefer to explore rather than cuddle.
Are gerbils noisy?
Gerbils are quieter than barking, screeching, or yowling animals. They are, nevertheless, far from silent. New gerbil owners are frequently surprised by how loud their pets can be. Gerbils are lively creatures who are constantly on the go when not sleeping.
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