How To Take Care Of A Gerbil? A Beginners Guide

There’re two things that Gerbils are ‘stand-out’ pets for. Amazingly playful and social. These small mammals make an excellent pet for both the adults and kids in the house. Their small size makes it easier for the kids to play around with one.

Gerbils love to be in a couple. If you can manage a couple while you’re buying, that would be great. If not, try to get a pair, at least. They perform their best when they are in pairs. However, no matter how entertaining these furry pals are, you do need to take proper care of them.

Your Gerbil need proper food, home, bedding, and a little bit of cuddling, once in a while. In this post, we will be discussing how to take care of a Gerbil. Let’s find out!

How to set up a cage for a Gerbil? 

Gerbils are quite a restless pet. You can indeed leave them alone when you’re playing with them, but when it’s resting time, they need to have a proper house to sleep in. A good quality Gerbil cage is an absolute necessity for your pet.

There are lots of Gerbil cages like Favola Hamster Cage available in the market that you can try out. Alternatively, you can go for a large aquarium box, as well. 

But make sure the build-material of the cage is not a plastic one. Unlike Hamsters or Guineapigs, Gerbils tend to chew a lot.

They can cause damage to the cage by chewing continuously. While choosing a cage, consider the grill shapes and spaces in between. Make sure the grill-space is narrow enough for the Gerbil. It will prevent the pet from escaping or falling off accidentally.

You need to put an exercise toy inside. Try to get the one that calls for brainstorming, as well. Avoid long ladders, lest your pet ends up trapping its feet in between the stairs.

Bedding is a crucial part of a Gerbil’s home. There are many options in your hand for a Gerbil bedding. The best one should be shredded paper. These are non-toxic and doesn’t come with annoying toxic scent.

Make sure you put the best quality water bottle for your pet. You can place it a couple of inches above the cage. Otherwise, your pet may make a mess by dripping the whole bedding in water.

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How to Feed Your Gerbil? 

How to Feed Your Gerbil

There are a lot of feeding options for your Gerbil on the market. You can easily get a food mix for Gerbils. But keep it in mind, if you are planning to feed the mix every day, take the sunflower seed out of it. This seed is quite high in fat and can cause disruptions in the digestion process of your pet. You can give the seeds as a treat occasionally.

Mix up the diet with a good Gerbil pallet. These are prepared considering the best food that a Gerbil needs.

Besides this regular food, you can consider providing fresh fruits and vegetables once in a while as treats. It can boost your pet’s health.

How to bath a Gerbil?

Part of good parenting for your Gerbil is to give it a good bath. Here’s some of the process you can follow.

  • Never put the Gerbil in a water tank. It can cause them to shiver and catch a cold immediately. Even if your pet gets wet, dry it up as soon as possible. Use a drier if possible.
  • Take a damp cloth and wipe the entire body of your pet. This will keep it clean and fresh - no need to drench them in water.
  • You can consider a sand bath every once in a while. Take a bowl full of sand and put the Gerbil inside. It will roll inside and clean itself pretty well. 

How to Clean Your Gerbil’s Tank? 

If it’s the first time you’re cleaning the tank, it may sound a hectic task to you. But cleaning a Gerbil’s tank is one of the easiest jobs ever.

  • Take the Gerbil out and keep it in a safer place.
  • Remove the feeding bow, water bottle, playing toys, and bedding.
  • Now wash the cage with fresh water and rinse it with soap and other cleaning agents.
  • After washing, dry it up in the sun or use a drier if needed.
  • After it has dried up completely, replace all the items brought out.

How to pick a Gerbil up?

Okay, it’s your pet, but that doesn’t mean that you can squeeze it, whenever you want. There’re certain ways to pick it up and hold in in your hands.

If you need to pick it up by your hands, do not even think about holding it by the tail. That’s the worst thing to do to a Gerbil. Just open up the two palms of your hand before the pet. If it feels safe and playful, it will climb up in your palms gently.

In order to keep it away for cleaning the cage or anything else, just use an old toilet paper tube. Open the ends to it so that it can crawl through it and place itself inside. The same goes for keeping it in jars. Place the jar horizontally for it to enter inside. Cover up the head of the jar for safety.

How to Tell If Your Gerbil Is Happy and Healthy?

All the fuss you are carrying on for your Gerbil is just for one thing – you want to see it happy and playful. A healthy pet will always show signs of happiness. To ensure it’s in the best position of its playfulness, consider the following.

  • Regularly check the eyes and ears. If there is any discharge from these ends, you need to get worried. Otherwise, it’s completely fine.
  • While you are petting your Gerbil or bathing it, gently rub the whole body with the palm of your hand. Try to feel any bump or hard substance. If there is any, it means your Gerbil is having some skin disease. You want to make sure; the skin is completely bump-free and even.

Check the pool and urine of your Gerbil. If it has a digestion issue, its discharges will be weird and liquid.

Other than these specific tests, keep your eyes on your pet while it moves and plays around. See if it is showing any symptoms of unusual behavior. If you notice anything abnormal, contact a veterinarian immediately.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques: Are Gerbils good pets?

Ans. Yes, Gerbils are in fact, one of the most playful and entertaining pets out there.

Ques: How long do Gerbils live as pets?

Ans. As pets, a Gerbil usually lives for about 3 to 5 years.

Final Words


Overall, these are the ways you can take care of your Gerbil. Remember, Gerbils are fragile and pretty small animals. If you fail to look after the pet with slightest of negligence, it may cause serious issues for the little animal. So do keep all these tips in mind, and keep your Gerbil healthy, happy, and playful as always!


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