How To Take Care of a Gerbil

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Pet Gerbil
Photo by Etouale on Pixabay

Gerbils are small animals that make good pets. They’re not very big and they don’t need a lot of time outside their cage. They also don’t need a big cage. They won’t smell, and if you clean their cage daily, the cage won’t smell, either. Gerbils are easy to take care of, and once they get to know you, they’ll be pretty friendly, too.

How To Take Care of a Gerbil

Gerbils are social animals. You’ll want to get a pair of the same sex so they’ll be more comfortable. They need at least a 15-gallon tank, with another five gallons for each additional gerbil. If you choose an aquarium, use a metal wire mesh cover that secures on the tank. If you choose a metal cage, make sure the bottom is solid. Use one to two inches of a bedding that is safe for gerbils, such as dye-free paper or aspen bedding. Cedar and pine can be harmful to gerbils.

You’ll want to include an exercise wheel in the cage, as well as a nesting or hiding box. Make sure your gerbils have access to their food bowls and fresh water. Every day, you will need to remove the soiled spots in the bedding. Change the bedding completely every week.

Your gerbil needs exercise and toys to help them stay engaged and active. An exercise wheel can help them burn off some energy. They may also enjoy an exercise ball where they can explore your home safely. Put some climbing structures in the cage, too.

What Does Your Gerbil Eat?

Commercial pellets are the primary staple in a gerbil’s diet. Only feed the gerbil enough pellets for 24 hours and remove the old pellets before adding new ones. Your gerbil may also enjoy nuts, seeds and dried vegetables. Gerbils prefer sunflower seeds because they have more fat. You may want to use sunflower seeds as an occasional treat. You can also give your gerbil fresh apples, peas and broccoli. Put fresh food in the cage when the gerbils are active and remove it daily so it doesn’t spoil.

Do Gerbils Like To Be Held?

Gerbils aren’t cuddly like some pets, but once your gerbil is accustomed to you, they may let you hold them in your hand for a while. Remember that they don’t like their tail touched. Your gerbil will need to trust you when you start to take them out of their cage.

How To Make a Gerbil Like You?

Gerbils are social animals. Once your gerbil trusts and likes you, they will enjoy having their heads scratched and being held in your hand. Let your gerbil have a few days to become accustomed to you when you first bring them home. Begin to offer treats through the cage. Once your gerbil accepts a treat through the cage, open the door and offer the treats. As your gerbil gets more accustomed to you, offer a treat on your open hand and wait for the gerbil to come up on your hand to get the treat.

Are Gerbils Easy To Take Care Of?

When you know what you’re doing, gerbils can be easy to take care of. Clean their cage weekly and give them fresh water and food every day. They’re low maintenance pets, but they may keep you awake at night if you keep them in your bedroom. They prefer to be in pairs, so you should plan on getting two gerbils if you want a gerbil as a pet. Otherwise, they’re a good pet for small homes.

About the Author
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Dustin Williams

Dustin Williams is a third generation aquarist and tropical fish fanatic. He grew up surrounded by various pets including; dogs, cats, turtles, hamsters and of course, aquarium fish. He has owned his own aquarium since Y2K and is experienced in keeping all types of freshwater tropical fish. He currently owns a 67 gallon tank with various African Cichlids and writes content for his personal aquarium website.... Learn More

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