A Quick Guide in Keeping Gerbils

What type of cage should I house my gerbil in?

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAGerbils are naturally burrowing animals that originate from deserts, so this needs to be considered when providing them with a home. The best type of home for gerbils is a ‘gerbilarium’. This is usually a large tank filled with burrowing material (such as potting compost), with a wire caged area above it. A gerbilarium can be bought from a good pet shop or pet supermarket.

How big should a gerbilarium be?

The gerbilarium should be as large as possible, so that the gerbils can get enough exercise. Gerbils stand on their hind limbs a lot, so it’s important that their home is tall enough to allow this.

corner gerbilariumWhere should I put the gerbilarium?

The gerbilarium should be kept indoors, out of draughts and direct sunlight, and away from busy or noisy areas (such as near a TV or music system) as this is stressful for the animals.

Adult gerbils should be kept in an environment between 20° and 22°C.

What type of material should I use on the floor of the gerbilarium?

The burrowing material put in the base of the gerbilarium should allow the gerbils to create tunnels, so potting compost is more appropriate than woodshavings. The tank part of the gerbilarium should be nearly filled with potting compost to allow plenty of digging and tunnel-making.

Do my gerbils need a nest box?

Yes. Gerbils need a quiet and secluded nest box where they will sleep during the day.

What type of bedding should I give my gerbils?

gerbil cageGerbils need suitable bedding that they can use to build a nest. Bedding sold for small pets or shredded white kitchen roll are both suitable, but newspaper or cotton wool shouldn’t be used. Newspaper ink can be toxic and cotton wool can cause dangerous blockages if eaten.

How often do I need to clean the gerbilarium?

You should clean the gerbilarium out every two to three weeks, or more frequently if it is becoming soiled. Every three months do a thorough clean, wash the gerbilarium well and replace all the burrowing and nesting materials.

Do gerbils need company?

gerbilsGerbils need the company of other gerbils. It’s best to keep two or three together that have grown up together as littermates. This minimises the likelihood of their fighting. If gerbils older than 10 weeks of age are introduced to each other they are likely to fight.

Males and females shouldn’t be kept together as they can breed and it can be difficult to find homes for the young.

gerbil babiesThey can produce offspring from about 10 weeks of age, producing between three and six babies each time they have a litter.


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