Gerbil Care Sheet

Info

Gerbil, photo by Munsti Sue

Gerbil, photo by Munsti Sue

  • Scientific Name: Gerbillinae
  • Lifespan: Approximately 3-5 years.
  • Handling: Any time after he/she gets use to you. He/she may bite if frightened. Never grab a gerbil by its tail.
  • Size: About 4-5 inches
  • Care: Easy
  • Community: Yes, in fact it is recommended to get a friend for each gerbil. They are very sociable animals and would love the company. Just make sure to house the same sexes in a single enclosure to avoid breeding.
  • Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.

Enclosure

  • Wire Cage

A wire cage is a good choice, as it creates great ventilation, causing no humidity issues also avoiding respiratory infections. Be careful though, some gerbils are known to have escaped wired cages before. Just make sure to get a wire cage with very small gaps between the bars. This cage is a very good decision because some gerbils love to climb and explore, and this type of enclosure gives them all sides of the cage to climb and explore on.

  • Aquarium (Tank) Cage

This is another option you may take, as it is escape proof and allows you to add a few more inches of bedding to allow your gerbil to burrow in without getting any substrate out of the cage. However, it does not have the walls for your gerbil to climb on. But with a few extra toys and accessories to climb on, it should be fine for him/her.

Furnishing

The more, the better, but also give him/her room to roam around the enclosure. As mentioned above, gerbils love to climb and explore around, so try to add some climbing objects. Also add a wheel for exercising along with a hide to sleep in or to retreat to when feeling threatened or frightened.

Temperatures

Temperatures must stay between 65-78 °F. If you cannot maintain these temperatures naturally because it is too cold, try using a ceramic heat emitter or red heat bulb for night time, and a regular daily house bulb for the day time. Up the wattage if the temps are still not getting reached. However, most houses reach these temperatures naturally, not having you to buy any lighting or heating.

Feeding/Diet

Most gerbil food can be bought online or at a pet store. Gerbil food consists of:

 

  • Gerbil diet

Which are ingredients grounded up, crushed, and mixed together to make a special diet for your gerbil. This may be bought online or at your local pet store.

  • Fresh Foods

Fresh foods are a good addition to your regular gerbil food diet. This may include: bananas, oranges, peas, spinach, kale, broccoli, apples, green beans, and carrots. Only offer this type of food in small quantities due to the size of the gerbil. Remove any leftover food you see the next day to avoid problems like bacteria and mold build up.

  • Treats

A good way to reward you gerbil for good behavior (not biting you), on holidays, or even birthdays is to offer him/her treats. Treats should only be fed once in a while. Too many treats can lead to bad health. Treats include: seeds, nuts, dried fruit, whole-wheat bread, uncooked pasta pieces, and your regular pet store gerbil treats that you may buy. And for you live food handlers, an occasional mealworm or two will be good to feed as well.

 

Note: For every type of dried food you buy which includes seeds, nuts, grains, and etc… Make sure to store any unused food in the fridge or freezer. Failure to do so will result in unwanted pests. People have had moths, mites, and other bugs hatch from these types of foods. So make sure to store in the fridge or freezer to avoid these problems.

Hydration

Water must always be available to your gerbil 24/7. You can either place a water dish in the enclosure which should be cleaned and replaced every other day or have a water bottle specifically made for gerbils placed on the side of the enclosure which should be re-filled weekly. If you do not see your gerbil drinking, try offering fresh fruit to help with hydration.

Substrate

Gerbils usually like to burrow, so the bedding should be a few inches deep. The substrate should be changed out weekly to avoid bacteria build up from the gerbil using the restroom daily.

 

Bedding can be:

Aspen Fresh, Aspen Shavings, Aspen Supreme Pelleted Pet Bedding, Carefresh, Cell-Sorb Plus

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