Caring For Gerbils
Gerbils are very similar to other rodents and caring for gerbils is mostly the same but with a few exceptions. Much of looking after gerbils is common sense and with good care, a gerbil should live for roughly 3-5 years. This article outlines how to go about looking after gerbils correctly.
Looking After Gerbils
- One of the most important things when looking after gerbils to consider is the gerbil food that you will use. It needs to be correct so that the gerbil receives all of it’s necessary nutrients. Generally you will need pet block and special gerbil mix. You may need to supplement your gerbil’s food if it isn’t getting the correct vitamins and minerals. This can be in the form of a pet block or a vitamin additive to water.
- To effectively start caring for gerbils you will need the correct cage. Some people use a hamster cage but this is not considered to be best for use by gerbils. Gerbils like to make their own tunnels rather than have them created for them; similarly, the plastic construction can be easily gnawed by the gerbil. A general rule of thumb for the size of the cage is 10gallons per gerbil.
- Cages should be kept out of direct sunlight and away from particularly drafty areas. Bedding should cover the whole bottom of the cage and be quite thick. Change this at least once a week, if not more often.
- Gerbils will need exercise regularly so put an exercise wheel into their cage, they will use this quite often and enjoy doing so. Allowing the gerbil out of the cage with you is ok but you need to keep an eye on them at all times.
- Gerbils are very clean animals. They retain a lot of their food and liquid so do not produce much mess or smell. Gerbils like to clean themselves and part of correctly caring for gerbils is giving them the opportunity to do this. Include a sand bath in their cage with either very fine sand or chinchilla dust so they can clean their coat.
- Like mice and rats, gerbils love to gnaw things. Put some blocks of wood into the cage so that they can indulge in this behaviour. It also keeps their teeth short and in good condition.
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