MEET THE GERBIL

The gerbil is a small desert rodent from Mongolia that has been kept as a pet since the 1960s. They love to chew, tunnel, and dig!

High

Lifespan

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3 - 4 years

Diet Difficulty

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Low

Good With Kids

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Yes

Care Difficulty

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Low

Space Requirement

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Small

Cleanliness

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High

Time Needed Outside Cage

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Medium

Human Interaction Needs

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Medium

Potty Trainability

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Medium

Cuddliness

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Medium

CARE GUIDE

SUPPLY LIST

ADOPTABLE

GERBILS

ENCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS

MNPPR Recommends

DIY IKEA Deltof Habitat

Bin Cage

Aquarium tanks of at least 20 gallons have enough room but can be heavy. Some people choose to flip an IKEA Detolf cabinet on its side and build a custom lid, which provides double the required space and an excellent view of your gerbil’s living area. We recommend making a DIY tub/bin cage as they are appropriately sized, inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to clean. Store-bought cages such as Habitrails or similar are not recommended because even with the connecting tubes, they do not have enough floor space.

Minimum Dimensions

One gerbil: 1 cubic foot with 500 square inch minimum unbroken floor space

Two gerbils: 2 cubic foot with 1,000 square inch minimum unbroken floor space

Three gerbils: 3 cubic foot with 1,500 square inch minimum unbroken floor space

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Other Notes

Gerbils prefer deep cages with at least 6 inches of bedding, tunnels, nesting materials, and climbing toys.

 

Cages should have plenty of ventilation but be sure your gerbil can’t escape through or chew on the holes. Any cage should have a solid floor since standing on wire can cause injuries and bumblefoot.

Inspect your gerbil's cage every day for any signs of chewing.

Gerbils enjoy burrowing and building nests. Soft recycled paper, shredded paper, and paper pellets are all great bedding options either by themselves or mixed. MNPPR strongly recommends avoiding all wood-based beddings due to the general sensitivity of pocket pets.

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ENRICHMENT REQUIREMENTS

Essentials

water bottle

food bowl

lots of chew toys (wood or lava)

wheel

at least one shelter/hide

Safe chinchilla wheel

Variety

toilet paper tubes

fiddlesticks

tunnels

bird toys

bits of fabric

ladders

cardboard

treat balls

homemade toys

Other Items

dust bath

animal dust (volcanic)

pet carrier

bedding (soft recycled paper

such as CareFresh, shredded paper, or paper pellets)

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Chewing

Gerbils are known to be prolific chewers. Because of this, many owners choose not to allow any plastic at all in their environment. This is the best way to protect your pets from ingesting pieces of plastic that can cause an obstruction and make them ill. There are glass water bottles, ceramic or glass dishes, solid metal or wooden wheels, and wooden hides available on the market.

FEEDING REQUIREMENTS

Staple Diet

Always keep your gerbil’s food bowl full of high-quality hamster/gerbil kibble, pellets, or blocks such as Oxbow. Seed mix food should not be used. They are often missing vital nutrients and many gerbils will only eat their favorite tasting pieces causing an unbalanced diet. If your gerbil is overweight, they may need fewer treats or more exercise.

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Treats

There are many options for store-bought treats made for gerbils, but fresh food can also make great treats. Be sure they are not storing anything in their nests that could rot. Gerbils should never get more than 1/4 tablespoon of treats a day or they may become obese.

apples

bananas

bell peppers

blueberries

broccoli

carrots

cauliflower

Cheerios

cranberries

cucumbers

cooked eggs

Unsafe Treats

any citrus fruit

apple seeds

cabbage

cheese

corn

fizzy drinks

garlic

milk

onions

peanuts

poppy seeds

raisins

raw beans

raw meat

rhubarb

walnuts

green beans

mealworms

parsley

peas

pumpkin seeds

plain popcorn

raspberries

sunflower seeds 

timothy hay

unsalted crackers

yogurt

Safe Treats

DISCLAIMER

All information shared by MN Pocket Pet Rescue is researched, up to date, and accurate to the best of our ability. We are not a licensed veterinary organization and do not intend to present ourselves as such. All educational material contains our best recommendations for care specific to each species. However, all animals are different and some may have unique needs. MN Pocket Pet Rescue does not assume any liability for the well-being of any animal not under our care. Always use your best judgment and follow veterinary recommendations whenever necessary. If you have any questions or find inaccurate information please contact us.