Gerbils are best kept in pairs or small groups of up to six individuals, especially if you are using one of the amazing cages for gerbils. Gerbils that are kept together from a young age will develop strong bonds with each other. Make sure to provide fresh water and food, and clean their enclosures as often as needed.
Whether you are going after one of the modern models of cages for gerbils or prefer a traditional one, you may want to first make sure you have as much information on these cute tiny creatures as possible, before actually purchasing a gerbil cage. The more you know and understand about gerbils, the easier it will be to make the perfect choice in terms of the most suitable cage for your gerbil.
Gerbils are quite new to the global pet market, but rapidly growing in popularity. This might be due to their characteristics, such as their cute faces, lovely, entertaining personalities or their high energy level. They are known for forming strong bonds with each other, as well as with their owners, making them a well-appreciated addition to the family.
The gerbil species that are most commonly kept as a pet is called the Mongolian gerbil. This small rodent is quite fierce when things are not according to its liking, but it can also be a lovely companion. The scientific name of the Mongolian gerbil is Meriones unguiculatus, which can be roughly translated as “the clawed warrior”.
It was in 1867 that Father Armand David, a French missionary, collected the first gerbils in his travels across Asia, and sent them back to Paris, to be studied. This may very well be the first time gerbils were ever kept as pets in Europe. The animals he sent were specimens of the Mongolian gerbils, and their popularity grew over time.
Getting a gerbil
The process of getting your first gerbil is always an exciting time, but there is a lot to consider before acquiring your first pet gerbil. You first need to make sure you know as much as possible about gerbils before getting one, just to make the entire process easier. Things like where to place the gerbil enclosure, how many gerbils to get, or adopting versus buying are all the things you need to decide upon.
To get a gerbil, you can address a pet shop, a breeder or a shelter. Acquiring gerbils online or from obscure pet shops is not something you want to do since you are not sure of the age and health status of the furry pet you are getting. Breeders and shelters make much better options when it comes to acquiring pet gerbils.
Adopting pet gerbils is one of the best ways you can go about this. Some of the major advantages of this choice are giving a forever home to a pet that really needs this while helping the shelter make room for other rescued animals. Also, shelters make sure the animals they put up for adoption are healthy and well natured since they will not take any risks on this.
If you, however, choose to buy a gerbil or a pair of gerbils, there are things you need to know and be aware of before going out to make the purchase. First of all, buying pets from certified breeders is always better than choosing to do that from a pet shop. Breeders will give you a lot of information on how to care for them and will make sure they are healthy when selling them.
Also, you should not get animals that are younger than 6 weeks old, nor should you get a pair of gerbils unless they are of the same sex. Getting a male and a female gerbil from the same breeder means you will shortly have a lot of baby gerbils around that are the result of inbreeding. This may cause them to have genetic problems and health issues.
How many gerbils should I have together?
Gerbils are well known for their social nature, and that’s why it’s best to provide them with the company of one of their kinds. The only exception to this rule is the fat-tailed gerbil, which should be kept alone. For the overall well-being and emotional balance of these cute furry pets, it’s best to keep them in pairs, or in small groups.
Unless you can provide a very large space for them to roam freely in, it’s not advisable to keep more than 4 gerbils in an enclosure. Since these animals are very territorial, in case of overcrowding, especially with female gerbils, aggression and fights are very likely to break out for domination purposes. The fewer gerbils are in one place, the better, in this case.
Also, because it is quite hard to introduce adult gerbils to a group, or to each other, for domination reasons, it is best to buy or adopt gerbils that are already accustomed to each other. Another good idea is to buy them as youngsters, at around six to eight weeks old, making it a lot easier for them to get along well for the rest of their life.
Another important aspect to be kept in mind when choosing to keep more than one gerbil in the same enclosure is to have same-sex gerbil groups. Having your gerbils mating uncontrollably and producing unwanted offsprings can be quite a nuisance; therefore, having same-sex gerbil pairs, especially females, can prevent this problem from appearing.
In case you really need to introduce new adult gerbils to the group, it is best to first pair it up with a baby, making it easier to accept each other, and then, gradually introduce it to the rest of the group. Territoriality is the major reason adult gerbils have a hard time accepting any newcomers. However, with lots of care and patience, you can do it.
How to care for gerbils
Caring for a pet gerbil is not a very complicated thing since it has basic needs and requirements to be met. However, pet gerbils are not suitable for young children to care for them. They are delicate animals, that could easily get injured in the interaction with a very young child. So, parental guidance and supervision are advised at all times.
That being said, there are a few simple things you need to do in order for your furry buddy to stay happy and healthy, such as keeping it fed, clean, and having regular health check-ups. Feeding them is not hard, as there are a lot of gerbil food formulas available on the market. However, you will need to feed your pet gerbil on a daily basis.
It is very important for the gerbil to have access to fresh drinking water at all times. Although they originally are a desert species, all pet gerbils need constant access to clean, fresh water. You may want to check that their bottle is not blocked and change the drinking water on a daily basis. This is one thing you can do to ensure your tiny friend stays healthy.
Making sure the cage is correctly positioned in your home is another important aspect of keeping healthy, happy pet gerbils. They need a quiet area to live in. You may want to avoid loud, busy, crowded areas in your home. You should also make sure other pets do not have access to your pet gerbil cage, as it would stress them out badly.
The cage you buy should be large enough for all the gerbils inside it to have plenty of space for all their activities. You can also provide toys for them, as well as other entertainment items to keep them busy. It is also a good idea to periodically get them out of the enclosure and take a close look at them, to make sure they are in good health condition.