Are gerbils the right pet for me?

Gerbils are small, desert-dwelling rodents.  Gerbils body is about 4 inches in length as well as their tail.  They look similar to rats or mice, except that gerbils have fur covering their tails.  Gerbils generally live between 3 to 4 years (give or take).

Gerbils are very clean compared to rats, hamsters and mice.  They rarely bite unless mishandled or frightened.

Gerbils are awake during the day as well as at night.  They will go through several awake/sleep cycles throughout a 24 hour period.  A Gerbils sleep pattern can adjust a little to their owners schedule as well.

gerbils sleep clock

A gerbils diet consist mainly of Oats, Nuts, Seeds as well as Fruits and Vegetables. Premixed gerbil food can be found at your local pet store, online or you can make your own. (see diet & nutrition) and (safe foods)

Gerbils like any rodent have teeth that constantly grow.  Gerbils need safe and adequate chew toys.  Household cardboard such as toilet paper rolls, tissue boxes and non-wax food boxes should always be supplied.  You can also find safe chew twigs and toys at your local pet store or online. (see toys & deco)

Gerbils love to dig, tunnel and burrow into their habitat.  It is very easy to create an enriched environment that caters to their natural instincts.  Providing them with no less than 6 – 8 inches of bedding and watch them create some amazing tunnels.

You can not just adopt one!!

  • Gerbils are social animals and depend on each other.  They use each others body heat (gerbil piles) when sleeping, they groom each other, will bring each other food and play together.  A lone gerbil will  become depressed and will result in a much shorter life span.  It is always recommended that gerbils are kept in same sex pairs preferably from the same littler as it is much harder to introduce gerbils to each other.
  • If you adopt a single gerbil to introduce to another gerbil you CAN NOT just put them in the same tank, they will fight to the death.  You will need to use the split cage method for several weeks before allowing them to share the same tank.

Do you have Children?

  • Gerbils require a slow and gentle touch and are easily startled by sudden movement and loud noises.
  • Young children lack fine motor control and may accidentally drop a gerbil, squeeze him, or scare him into biting.  Gerbils are one of the fastest and if a gerbils is picked up by its tail or it becomes trapped, the tail will break off. OUCH!  That tail won’t grow back.  Gerbils would be better suited with pre-teens and older.

How much time do you have?

  • Although gerbils can entertain each other, they also need your interaction and handling to become a well adjusted and happy gerbil.
  • Gerbils are low-maintenance when it comes to cleaning, however, you will need to replace their water and spot clean daily.  Complete tank cleaning depends on the size of tank and how many gerbils are in that tank.  (see tank to gerbil ratio)