Gerbils are social animals, so you have to buy 2 or 3 gerbils in one go. But it is important to remember that you should not buy a gerbil after having a quick look at it. You should check their health status, age, species, and where you may purchase them.
Before you Buy a Gerbil…
Keep in mind that:
- They can be messy and need space to burrow.
- They like to chew.
- Gerbils need to be kept in pairs or small groups.
- They should only live with gerbils of the same gender.
- They should be separated if they fight.
- You must clean their cage once a week.
- You’ve to provide them a large enough cage and set up an exercise wheel inside the cage.
Baby Gerbils vs. Adult Gerbils ?
Many people go with baby gerbils (under ten months old) because they are easy to form bonds with (you and even with other gerbils).
Ask the seller your prospective gerbils’ age and weight. Never buy a baby gerbil; they eat solid food and no longer need mother milk at three weeks. So it is better to wait until the six weeks of its age.
The adult gerbils may be difficult to have a bond with, but that does not mean that you should not buy an adult gerbil. But, you should be aware of the gerbils that they have a short life span.
There are two main species of gerbils that are used as pets:
- Mongolian gerbils: their abundance makes them easy to purchase at pet stores. Do remember that not all Mongolian gerbils are the same. Check their health conditions and activities.
- Fat-tailed gerbils: These gerbils are rare to use as pes, and can be acquired through specialist breeders exclusively.
If you are a new buyer of the gerbils, you need to buy a pair of the same gender to avoid them breeding. If you go through the breeding properly, you will have an idea of how to care for the baby gerbil. If you have had prior experience in raising gerbils, you can get a pair of opposite-gender gerbils. The differences bet male and female gerbils are as follows:
- Male gerbils are slightly bigger in size than females.
- The male gerbils are more smelly than female gerbils because the male has bigger scent glands than female
- Female gerbils can be more aggressive towards the owner and other gerbils than male gerbils.
- Male gerbils are friendly than the female gerbils
Choosing the right Gerbil
Do not rush to buy a gerbil at first sight. Check to ensure the gerbil you are interested in purchasing has the following or not:
- Should be energetic and curious.
- They should be interested in exploring their surroundings and should have a glossy, clean, and even coat with no signs of matting.
- Their eyes should be shiny.
- Check their breathing whether their breathing is clear or not.
- A gerbil should never sit hunched up.
Choosing a Healthy Gerbil
The main variable you have to look out for when purchasing a gerbil is its health. Sick gerbils die. These unhealthy gerbils may also infect your existing gerbils if it has a contagious illness. The difference between healthy and unhealthy gerbils are,
Difference between healthy and unhealthy Gerbils
|Signs of a Healthy Gerbil||Signs of a Sick Gerbil|
|Curious and alert, exploring its surroundings||Lethargic or sitting hunched in a corner|
|Sleeping in a pile with other gerbils||Sleeping on its own|
|Bright, shiny eyes||Partially closed, cloudy, crusty, swollen, or runny eyes|
|Clean, pink nose||Runny or red nose, sneezing|
|Sleek, glossy, and even coat||Ruffled or matted-looking coat, bald spots|
|No signs of injury||Open wounds, scabs, or dried blood on fur|
|Running around normally||Limping, leaning to one side, uncoordinated movements, seizures|
|Clean fur around rear and tail||Signs of diarrhea or staining around the rear|
|Clear and silent breathing||Clicking, squeaking, or wheezing sound when breathing, or struggling to draw breath|
|No lumps or bumps||One or more swellings or lumps under the skin|
|Firm, round body||Emaciated with concave belly|
Where to buy?
- Animal Shelters: The main goal of animal shelters is to save unwanted animals. If you buy your gerbils from there, you can help a creature in need.
- Online: Usually posted by breeders or people trying to re-home unwanted pets. Searching the pets online is the quickest way to find out the new gerbils.
- Pet Store: People usually buy gerbils from pet stores. Gerbils in the pet store are young (under ten weeks old). They can bond with you very well.
- Local Breeders: This is the best way to buy the gerbils because the local breeders are experts in breeding gerbils. They will take a lot of care of their pets. While buying the gerbils, if the breeder does not shows the gerbils to you, just understand that they are hiding something negative from that gerbils. You have cross check even with the local breeders.
Can You Return a Gerbil?
There will be many reasons to return your gerbils. It may be because it is sick, or it might not get better bong with the other gerbils. You cannot keep the gerbils together if they don’t bond,
They may fight and end up with injuries or killing one another. If they are left with their enemies, they may get stress, which leads to weight loss, health complications, or premature death. So in this condition, you will have no other choice except to return them.
Depending on where you purchased your gerbil, you can return your pet. Usually, the pet store will give the money back when you return within two weeks. If you adopted the gerbil pet from the animal shelter, they would take the pet back.
What if you cannot return the pet?
There are only two things to do if you cannot return the gerbil:
- Keep all the gerbils in a separate enclosure or in a different room. Make sure they cannot see each other if it is a glass cage. If they see each other, they may undergo stress.
- Rehome any one gerbil. You should find out the new owner directly, or you can give the gerbil pet to an animal shelter.
In purchasing a gerbil, check their health condition, gender, and species. You cannot just buy one gerbil; they are social and need companions, so buying 2 or 4 is recommended. If you are tired of keeping the gerbil, you can return it back to the pet store within 14 days, or you can search for another owner, or you can give it to the animal shelter.