ALL GERBILS SHOULD BE EXAMINED
Although routine vaccinations are not required, we recommend parasite checks and annual exams. It is important to monitor your gerbil’s behavior and condition daily. If you notice that your gerbil is acting abnormally, please give us a call.
Some of the most important things to make sure your gerbil is well taken care of include:
Gerbil Care Instructions
Gerbils are omnivores. They can eat both plants and animal products, but pet gerbils should be fed formulated block/pellet food or seed mix for gerbils.
Have a day’s worth of food in a small ceramic container available for your gerbil. All uneaten food, after 24 hours, should be disposed of before adding more. You can also try to incorporate another bowl mixed with nuts, seeds, herbs, vegetables, fruits, and insects.
Gerbils need to have access to water at all times, in a water bottle or bowl. Water bottles are recommended because they keep the water cleaner and won’t spill. Experiment to see which one works best for your pet.
All diets vary by size and activity level. Discuss the proper feeding amount with your veterinarian.
Gerbils require a cage that is wide and well-ventilated. Due to chewing habits and poor ventilation, avoid using plastic or wire cages. Glass aquariums with a wire mesh top make the best houses for gerbils.
Aquariums have the space for deep layer bedding that allows them to create a burrow or tunnels. The bedding should consist of absorbent, paper-based bedding (wooden shavings).
They should also not be housed in anything smaller than a 20-gallon tank. The size of the cage or aquarium should increase with the more gerbils you have.
Within the enclosure, provide thick pieces of wood, large rocks, ladders, and platforms; Anything that provides enrichment and allows them to exercise.
Include a nest box (store bought or handmade) inside the cage. The nest box is the area gerbils feel the most secure and most likely sleep and store food. Cardboard boxes, flowerpots, or jars make acceptable nest boxes. Anything that is plastic will most likely get chewed up.
Unfortunately, gerbils don’t do well alone. They are social animals and therefore do best when kept with other gerbils. It is best to choose young gerbils so that they grow together and adapt to one another from the start. It can be hard to introduce a new gerbil to a fully grown adult one since most gerbils are territorial.
Gerbils should be handled daily to make them feel more comfortable with humans and to keep them tame. When handling, be confident and calm. Gerbils are only inclined to bite when they feel threatened. They are timid animals and can scare easily. Never pick up your pet gerbil from its tail! It can cause them to lose their fur or tail.
Offer your gerbil a variety of toys. They need plenty of stimulation in order to be kept busy and happy. Gerbils love to chew, dig and explore. Provide toys like an exercise wheel, hideaways, chew toys, and climbing toys. Without any form of mental or physical stimulation, gerbils can become destructive.
Do not bathe your pet gerbil; They self-groom regularly. You can provide a sand bath in their cage to help them keep themselves clean. Although there are many sandboxes and houses available, a shallow tray would work perfectly. Ensure to purchase sand grains that aren’t dust or powder or a product with added nutrients or fragrances. Also, don’t forget to clean the sand weekly or as often as needed.
Gerbils typically have a life expectancy of 3 to 4 years.
New pet gerbils should be checked within the first week for a wellness exam and parasites. Unfortunately, most rodents tend to hide illnesses, so once you notice any abnormalities or symptoms they were most likely sick for a long period of time. The good news is that gerbils are strong and resistant to many diseases, especially when they are taken regularly to get checked out by a professional.
Gerbils are susceptible to developing skin issues such as dermatitis. Avoid housing your gerbil in an overcrowded or humid environment. Watch out for sores around the nose and mouth, they could be signs of infections and tumors in the scent glands.
Another common disease gerbils are prone to experience are seizures. Gerbils can suffer from epileptic seizures due to genetics, but it can also be caused by stress or sudden frights.
Nasal Dermatitis, or “sore nose,” is not life-threatening, but if a gerbil is left untreated it can spread to the entire body. It often affects young rodents, and it is caused by tan allergy, stress, and bacterial infection. This can lead to sores and inflammation around the nose.