Diet for Gerbils

Gerbil Food

Healthy, fresh food makes gerbils happy. If you provide them more or less than what is needed, they may fall sick. This article will guide you through it.

Food Quantity

Different kinds of gerbils require different quantities, but feeding them once a day is a healthy way to raise them. Regardless of the schedule, make sure you give them the same amount every time.

Provide your gerbil with one teaspoon of fresh fruits and vegetables twice a week. Avoid overfeeding; their food contains a lot of moisture, and an excess of this can cause problems for their digestive system (i.e., diarrhea). Make sure all vegetables and fruits are well washed and pesticide-free.

Is it okay for gerbils to eat rat food?

No! You cannot feed your gerbils with rat food. A gerbil’s diet requires fiber, whereas rats do not, so their food is adjusted to their needs.

Rat Food

Poisonous Substances

Gerbils are allergic to aromatic oil produced by cedar shavings, household fresheners, and pine. Pepper-based bedding may also cause irritation. Staphylococci bacilli also cause allergies.


  • Gerbils love fruits and vegetables. Provide them fewer amounts of fresh vegetables or fruits.
  • You can provide sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and nuts but provide small proportions since they are high in fat.
  • You can provide them with whole-grain bread, either plain or toasted.
  • Unsweetened breakfast cereal is the most favorite treat for gerbils.
  • Give them raisins and currants.
  • Provide them small bits of cheese, egg either scrambled or boiled.
  • Avoid raw kidney beans, raw potato, onion, potato leaves, and rhubarb leaves.

How to Feed Your Gerbil

Use a heavy crock made of ceramic; this prevents your chewing gerbils from damaging them. Place the pelleted diet in the dish and add a small amount of seed mixture (about a teaspoon). Once you figure out how much gerbils eat, take note of it and provide them with the same amount of food.

Once your gerbils are done eating, remove the residues before feeding them again. You may also feed your gerbil by hand, as this is a great way to earn their trust so you can proceed to tame, train, and enrich them.

Gerbils Food

Provide your gerbils with fruits and vegetables. You may also feed them pasta, but do not regularize it and give them in small quantities. Feeding large amounts of fruits, vegetables, or grains to your gerbil can cause digestive troubles, like diarrhea. Sugary treats can cause diabetes.

Here are VEGETABLES you can provide for your gerbils:

  • Timothy hay
  • Kale
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Beet greens
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Cooked sweet potatoes
  • Carrots

The FRUITS you can provide for your gerbils are,

  • Pears
  • Melon
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries

Does Gerbil eat insects?

Yes! Gerbils occasionally eat small insects; they would naturally encounter them in the wild. Gerbils are omnivorous. The small insects are an essential source of protein in a wild gerbil’s diet.

Gerbil Food Mix

Gerbils need high quality and balanced diet. They can’t eat the same food again and again, so you need to buy a specially formulated, gerbil-specific food mix. This gerbil-specific food mix contains seeds, beans, grains, dried vegetables, and general fiber. This mix is similar to their natural diet, which contains the following:

  • Wheat and Pumpkin seeds
  • Soya bean meal and Alfalfa meal
  • Flaked maize (corn flakes) and Dried carrot flakes
  • Whole oats and whole maize
  • Flaked soya beans and flaked peas
  • Timothy hay, orchard hay, and oat hay

These foods usually look like tiny, dark, dry biscuits. They come in different brands. The gerbil-specific food mix contains a wide variety of beans, seeds, and grains means that your gerbil has many different kinds of food, just like in nature. It also avoids nutritional deficiency when you feed your pet gerbil with only one type of food.

Gerbil 1

Essential Minerals

Do not provide your gerbils with much fat. Gerbils are good at conserving both fat and water to survive when fed as little as 2% fat. This is a natural bodily function adapted from survival as they live in dry parts of the world where fatty food is scarce. Healthy gerbils need:

  • The carbohydrates for energy
  • The protein for muscle growth
  • The fat for their fat stores

If you give your gerbils the wrong proportion of these foods, they may go unhealthy.


Protein is very important in the growing gerbils. You need to provide them 15-16% of the protein in their diet. If you provide them more or less of that, they become unhealthy. Adult gerbils do not require many proteins since they no longer grow.


Gerbils need sufficient vitamins. This can be achieved by feeding certain foods occasionally. The green leafy vegetables and the fruits contain a rich amount of vitamins. You also have to provide fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E, and K.

To provide them with more vitamins, you can feed your pet gerbils with the following,

  • Oranges
  • Brussels
  • Carrots
  • Carrot leaves


Minerals also play an important role in a gerbil’s life. They should be provided in proper amounts. Gerbils mainly require calcium and phosphorus. These improve the health level of your gerbil’s bones and teeth. These are found in regular gerbil mixes. So you don’t need to manually add them to your gerbil’s diet.

Fresh Water

Gerbils need to drink fresh water. They originate from Mongolia, an area of a dry climate, so they do not need to drink plenty all the time. Water is still essential, but they consume small amounts of water.

Fresh Water

Fighting over Food

Gerbils are social animals, so it is always encouraged to keep them in the same enclosure. There are times, however, when their cohabitation leads to fighting over food. To avoid this, do not provide them food in a bowl, instead, scatter their food in different places, so they can have their food without fighting.

It is unhygienic or untidy, but this is how gerbils like to eat their food since they are natural foragers. Just make sure to clean up after them to prevent sickness.

Final Thoughts

Extensive knowledge of your gerbils’ dietary needs is necessary if you would want to keep them as pets. This includes the serving ratios and knowing what they need at certain ages. Provide these correctly, and your gerbils will live a long, happy life.