Gerbil Care Information

Gerbil - Species Information


Gerbils were first brought into pet stores in the middle - 1960's. They were so rare they were quite expensive. Because it was soon found that just like any other rodent they breed prolifically, the cost became much lower. They are about the size of a hamster but the fur is grayish brown and they have a slight coat of oil on the fur, which accounts for their fluffiness. They are not as easily startled as mice are but nearly as hyperactive. They also don't seem as quick to bite.

Gerbils are the easiest of the rodents as far as maintenance.

They are actually a desert animal whose body has developed the ability to utilize almost all the water they take in. They have no smell to humans and their cages need cleaning only once a month if you use a good layer of bedding about 1 1/2" thick. A 5 1/2-gallon tank makes a good cage or you can build one yourself. The tank is a good idea for gerbils because they love to dig and make holes and this tends to throw their bedding all over and out of a wire cage. The tank keeps the bedding inside and less messy.

You can purchase commercial gerbil food at your local pet shop. Give them snacks such as raw oatmeal, peanut butter, dry breakfast cereal, and popcorn. Fresh vegetables like spinach can be given and if he eats them it indicates he probably needs them in his diet. They like twigs and bones to chew on also.

Make sure you place a water bottle in his cage to make up for the dryness in the diet.

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