A gerbil is a popular choice for pet, as it looks cute like a hamster, well suited for indoor living and easy to take care. A Mangolian gerbil is the one species amongst the several others, that is bred as pet.
Gerbils are inexpensive and their maintenance is quite easy. Since they do not generate much bodily wastes, it becomes much easier to keep their place clean and odor free. Gerbils are highly sociable animals and don’t do well when kept alone. So, you need to keep them as two or more, but of the same sex. It is important to ensure the gender when you are purchasing from a pet store, because the females can start producing 2 to 4 babies from three months onwards.
Caring for gerbils
- You need to be really careful when handling a gerbil. Always remember to pick it up by supporting its body properly at its stomach and avoid touching or pulling at its tail, as this can cause serious injury. Gerbils are not suitable as pets for small kids, because they may not be able to handle them carefully. Also, gerbils may scratch or bite when scared.
- Gerbils are easy to tame and you can get them acquainted by offering their favorite treats. Start by giving him treats from a distance, so that it takes time to get used to you. Then slowly offer the treats by holding out your palms. Your pet will then be able to climb up onto your palms to get it. Once it’s comfortable with you, you may then carry your pet in hands slightly cupped. Remember not to hold it too tightly as it may harm them.
- You will need to use a spacious cage for housing a pair of gerbils, as they are very active and like to explore their surroundings. Most owners prefer to go with aquarium tanks over wire cages, because it is possible to add more layers in aquariums and gerbils like to burrow. Adding bedding in wire cages can be messy and gerbils tend to chew on the wires too. Plastic cage is also bad idea for a gerbil house, because of their chewing habits.
- You may want to add a small nest inside their house, as they need something to hide and feel safe. You may use a small clay or wooden boxes as their nest. Gerbils tend to chew on wood too, but preferable to plastic as it survives longer.
- You need to add at least two or three inches of bedding layer for your pet to dig into. Most owners prefer to use paper material for their pet gerbils to shred and use it for nesting and burrowing into it, to their hearts content. You may also go with tissues, grass or hay as bedding for their house.
- Add some rocks or platforms for your pet to climb on to. They can be very entertaining, so provide enough material such as ladders, small toys or cardboard boxes for your pet to play with. You may also add a wheel, but make sure it is not slippery and without any gaps in which his legs or tail may get caught into.
- Gerbils diet includes seed mixtures and formulated cereals. Place a heavy clay or ceramic bowl in their house to serve food, as it is difficult to tip them over and make a mess. The same way you can place fresh water or use a fixed stand.