Gerbils are among the most popular pocket pets, and are often chosen as a child’s first pet. These little furballs are very sweet and gentle, and they are easy to care for, provided they have a proper diet and habitat. Below, your North Central San Antonio veterinarian offers some basic gerbil care tips.
Gerbils are very sociable little animals. A single gerbil will be lonely, and will feel sad and depressed without any buddies. Therefore, gerbils should be kept in same-sex pairs. You’ll need to be careful introducing new gerbils, and let them get to know each other slowly, as otherwise they will fight. If your gerbils are ever separated for over 24 hours, you’ll need to start over, as they won’t remember each other.
Gerbils need to chew to keep those little teeth from growing too long. Give your little pet lots of wood and cardboard to nibble! The empty tubes from paper towels or toilet paper rolls make excellent chew toys.
You can give your pet a quality seed mix that is made specifically for gerbils. Look for a brand that has oats as the primary ingredient, and does not contain much corn. A mix that contains at least 18 percent protein and under 5 percent fat is best. Many rodent pellet mixes are also suitable. You can supplement your pet’s main menu with small amounts of fruits, veggies, cereal, and dairy products. Asparagus, carrots, celery, broccoli, and spinach are a few safe options. Remember to change your pet’s water daily!
A wire or mesh cage, or a 10-gallon aquarium, is a good choice for gerbil habitats. These little furballs are excellent escape artists, so you’ll need to make sure that the tank is covered and secure. Place the cage in a spot that is not in direct sunlight, or in a drafty area. Next, you’ll need to add about three inches of substrate. Avoid using pine or cedar substrates, as well as anything with fibers, as these can be dangerous to gerbils. Your tiny pets will need a place to sleep quietly, so you’ll want to provide them with at least one hidey-hole. You can use a plant pot, a store-bought home, or even a small box.
Do you have any questions about gerbil care? Contact us any time! As your local North Central San Antonio vet clinic, we are always here to help!