While gerbils are social, inquisitive and playful they can also be shy. When you first bring your gerbils home your first instinct will be to pick them up or play with them. Yes, I’m going to tell you not to. Imagine being placed in a completely new environment with no knowledge of the people or surroundings and expected to be comfortable. Gerbils need time to adjust and to force them when they are not ready will backfire on you.
When you first bring your gerbils home place them into their tank and let them be. Only enter their tank to change their water and feed them. Whenever you go into their tank wash your hands. Gerbils have very strong sense of smell and you want them to be familiar with your scent alone.
After 3-4 days try offering a couple sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds by laying your hand flat in their tank. Do not move, do not try to pick them up. You need to build up the trust so do not rush this process or it will take you three times longer. Allow them to sniff you and walk on you. If they nibble just let them, once they figure out you are not food they will stop.
Continue to do this until they are comfortable enough to sit in your hand and eat. After a couple days you can then try to raise your hand up a little, they may jump off, so not too high. If they continue to sit go a head and try to lift your hand slowly out of the tank. Some gerbils may still be skittish and you will just have to give them more time. Some will just run right up your arm. Just do not rush or force yourself on them.
Once you are able to establish some level of trust you can start bringing them out for playtime using a dry tub or gerbil proof playpen.
Always remember when picking up your gerbil to cup your hands on either side and slowly move them together so that the gerbil shifts to stand on your hands. Be sure not to trap their feet or tail. NEVER EVER pick up or trap your gerbil by the tail!!!
Do you use other positive ways to tame gerbils? Please feel free to comment below!