If you’re looking for your kids’ first pet but unsure whether or not they are capable of handling the responsibility of taking care of a puppy, you can never go wrong with choosing gerbils. Gerbils are fuzzy little rodents that are now increasingly becoming popular as a pet. Typically compared to the much-known hamsters, gerbils are energetic animals that tend to run, eat, and sleep for most of their lives. To help you decide on whether or not you should get a gerbil, here are some of the must-know gerbil care tips that every beginner should learn.
What are Gerbils?
Before we go over gerbil care, let us first describe what gerbils exactly are. As mentioned earlier, gerbils are commonly compared to hamsters as both are small rodents with a rather fluffy fur. The main difference between the two is that gerbils have tails and are not nocturnal, unlike hamsters, who tend to be most active at night. To give you a better idea, here are some notable characteristics of gerbils:
- Weighs roughly 2 to 3 ounces
- Social animals
- Also referred to as ‘desert rat’
Tips on Gerbil Care For Beginners
Now that we know a bit more about gerbils, here are some of the most important pet care tips needed when first handling and caring for gerbils:
One of the first things that gerbil owners should prepare is the cage or enclosures that would serve as the home for the gerbils for most of their lives. And while you might feel enticed to buy those small hamster cages with built-in tubes and toys, that is not ideal for gerbils nor hamsters as it’s too cramped for the rodents to run and live comfortably. Taking this into consideration, ideal cages or enclosures for gerbils can be aquariums or cabinets that are notably larger and wider.
Aside from the space, it is also important for the cage to be designed properly and include gerbil essentials such as:
- 2 to 3 inches deep of soft bedding
- Water bottle
- Exercise wheel
- Food bowl
- Critter potty and litter
When we talk about a pet’s comfort, we don’t only talk about their cages and the food they eat, but we should also look into items that would offer necessary entertainment for these animals. Much like we buy dogs frisbees and chew toys, gerbils also have several toys that can be used to give them something to do for fun while they are on their own. Some of the most ideal gerbil toys to get include:
- Exercise wheels
- Gerbil chew and gnaw toys
- Push and carry toys
- Gerbil exercise ball
- Foraging toys
Luckily, pet owners can DIY gerbil toys instead of buying at a price. Gerbil owners can simply create tunnels and hideaways using scrap wood and materials. On the other hand, chew toys, push and carry toys, and foraging toys can be made using leftover cardboard boxes, small, sturdy plastic toys, and more to keep your gerbil entertained, exercised, and well stimulated. Learn more about gerbil care here!
As much as this article focused on the essential living conditions gerbils should have, nothing compares to the actual care that pet owners can offer. So aside from the cages and toys, pet owners should also take time to socialize with their pets and remember to cater to their needs. Hopefully, this article was able to tell you what it takes to be a proper gerbil pet owner and employ the best gerbil care.