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!
3 - 4 years
Good With Kids
Time Needed Outside Cage
Human Interaction Needs
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.
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
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.
lots of chew toys (wood or lava)
at least one shelter/hide
toilet paper tubes
bits of fabric
bedding (soft recycled paper
such as CareFresh, shredded paper, or paper pellets)
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.
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.
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.
any citrus fruit
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.