Gerbils are impossibly cute little rodents. A good part of their cuteness comes from their size: if you held an adult gerbil in your hand, its entire body would fit in your palm. They make great pets for reasons other than their cuteness, too. Gerbils are low-maintenance. Having evolved to cope with life in harsh desert conditions, gerbils produce practically no waste – there’s very little pee or droppings to clean up. Unlike other rodent pets, gerbils aren’t malodorous, either. However, you do still need to know a few things about caring for a gerbil.
Gerbils don’t have complicated dietary needs. They tend to be happy with a routine staple – gerbil mix. If you need to phase in new foods, you need to change your gerbils over to them gradually. Gerbils can be very sensitive to changes of diet. To make sure that your gerbils don’t get bored, you can give them small quantities of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or salad vegetables.
More: 8 Best Foods for Gerbils
8. Gerbils have very fast-growing front teethWhile a healthy diet and clean surroundings can help your gerbils stay in good health, you need to pay attention to a few special needs. Out in the wild, they use teeth constantly on tough tree roots as they burrow their way around. In a domestic setting, they have little to chew on. This can result in long, out-of-control front teeth that make life difficult. Giving your gerbils chew blocks doesn’t do the trick, either. Since they have no actual need to chew much, they can lose interest in the opportunity. If you have a dozen gerbils, you need to take time out to take them all to regular visits to the vet to have their teeth ground down. This can be a time-consuming chore.
9. Keeping your gerbils cleanLike many other animals, gerbils like to clean themselves through dust baths. They like to roll about in fine, clean dust to get rid of any parasites, mites or dead skin. You should provide for your gerbils’ need for dust baths by allowing them access to a container of powdered pumice. Most pet stores sell it.
However, it isn’t enough to keep your gerbils clean – their cage needs to be clean, too. Well-planned cages and gerbilariums may be fun to build but these can be very difficult to clean when your gerbils decide to poop in them. It’s a chore that you simply need to attend to on a regular basis, though.
If you are planning to own gerbils, make sure you are ready for the commitment that gerbils need. Consult a vet, consider following these tips and learn how to recognize your gerbils’ needs. Do you have gerbils? Or, are you going to have ones?