Gerbils are popular, small, low-maintenance pets. All you have to do is ensure you provide them proper housing, a healthy diet, well-balanced supplements, and regularly taking them to their veterinarian.
Beginner’s Guide to Gerbil Care
If you want your gerbils to be healthy, follow this list:
- Provide the proper food serving every day.
- Make sure that they always have access to clean fresh water.
- Make sure that the cage is positioned correctly in your home, and make sure that their enclosure is larger enough for them.
- Clean their enclosure regularly.
- Provide toys.
- Give them some exercise.
- Take them to your vet when they are sick.
Is it difficult to maintain gerbils?
Not at all! Gerbils are friendly, low-maintenance pets who are crepuscular in nature. They are good for beginners. But be aware that gerbils move very fast. Even though caring for a gerbil is easy, parents and children should be aware of few things before bringing one into your home.
Gerbils may fall sick, experience sneezing, difficulty breathing, lethargy, and diarrhea for various reasons. They are also sensitive to parasites like fleas and lice. You can control them by providing nutritious food. If this does not work, you need to take them to their veterinarian to get the proper medications.
Caring through a Gerbil’s Diet
Healthy gerbils are sustained by proper food. Provide clean, freshwater (changed daily), along with the commercially available pellet-seed mix.
Ensure that the pellet-seed mix contains 12% protein content, 6-8% fat content, and a seed mix of pellets, grains, seeds, and dried vegetables. If their mix contains sunflower seeds, the gerbils will pick them out first to eat and leave the other ingredients behind.
Provide them fresh vegetables like:
- Leaf lettuces
Provide them with fruits like:
AVOID giving the following:
- Uncooked beans
- Junk food
Improper enclosure set-ups negatively affect your gerbils’ health. Provide some interior accessories inside the enclosure.
- Use either a wire cage or a 10-gallon aquarium that contains a wire mesh cover.
- Place the enclosure indoors. Make sure it is out of direct sunlight, drafts, and other pets like cats and/or dogs.
- Maintain a humidity level of 65-75°F (18-24°C).
- Provide them with some toys.
- The enclosure should be lined with absorbent bedding.
- Clean your gerbils’ cage by removing soiled bedding, droppings, and stale food daily, and clean the cage with warm, soapy water once a week.
- Provide the exercise wheels (solid, no rungs), cardboard tubes, PVC pipes, and plastic igloos to provide them with opportunities to run, climb, hide, and tunnel.
Cuddling your Gerbil
Most of the people buy the gerbils to hold and cuddle them. If you want to hold and cuddle them, then make sure they trust you. Let them come to you and sit inside your palm. After they settled down in your palms, do not squeeze them. They like to stay with you for a long time.
Pet gerbils are not cuddly pets. But they show affection in different ways. You should always hold your pet gerbil smoothly. If you want to hold them up, you have formed a cup with both your hands and scoop your gerbil up. Never grab your pet gerbil’s tail. They will be scared, and they may lose their tail which can never grow back.
If you do not like to pick your pet gerbil with your hands, you can try to pick them up by a cup or a bowl and place your hand on top of it to prevent your gerbil from escaping.
Be careful when they are in a higher place. They might want to jump or run away anywhere, anytime. Make sure that they cannot fall from greater heights, as this causes injuries
How to Keep your Gerbil Healthy
Do NOT hold your gerbil in the beginning 3 to 4 days. They need some time to get adjusted in their enclosure. Even after they get adjusted, they may get sick:
- Cloudy, sunken, or swollen eyes
- Overgrown front teeth
- Bare patches in the fur
- Diarrhea or discolored droppings
- Weight loss (not eating or drinking normally)
- Sneezing (discharge from the eyes, nose, or mouth)
If you observe any of the symptoms listed above, take your gerbil to their veterinarian.
- You have to wash your hands before you contact your pet gerbil.
- Be careful when handling your gerbils, and remember they may bite or scratch, especially when stressed.
- Do not grab your pet gerbil by the fur or tail.
- Monitor your children around pets.
- All animals can carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases that are contagious to humans. So, wash your hands with warm, soapy water after contacting any pet, its habitat, or aquarium water. Adults should suggest their children wash their hands properly.
Do not wash your pet gerbils. Wash out the vital molecules from their coats and lead to skin problems. Water baths should be only used in emergencies, like when a gerbil has something potentially harmful stuck to its fur.
If you have to wash your gerbils when fur is stocked with harmful particles, you have to wash them with lukewarm water. The lukewarm water will wash away the substance off.
Caring for your gerbils is not a big deal since they are low-maintenance pets, but you cannot be neglectful, either. Provide them with what they need in their enclosure and diet, and handle them with care. Observe them to confirm they are healthy, and if they are sick, administer proper care as per their veterinarian’s instructions. Provide these, and you will raise healthy gerbils.