Things you need to know about Gerbils
Gerbils crave company. You should try to get two gerbils that know each other and have already lived together. While they enjoy company, if you put two gerbils who do not know each other there can be problems. The gerbils may fight and that may lead to injuries or death of one of the gerbils.
Gerbils have a lifespan of 3-4 years. But with proper care they can live up to 4 years.
Carefresh or aspen is recommended for bedding of the gerbils. Cedar or pine are a strict no-no for bedding because these can create liver, respiratory and other health problems. Fluffy nest budding is also not recommended as the gerbils may accidentally swallow some of the cotton which could lead to bowel blockage. Using straw for bedding purposes is not recommended as the edges are sharp and may be uncomfortable for your pets.
An aquarium-like glass chamber with a cover and proper ventilation is the best home for gerbils. If you use a cage you should choose a strong metal one because gerbils can easily chew through wooden cages and escape. Gerbils prefer to curl themselves in the corners of cages, so avoid buying round ones.
You should feed them good quality commercial food such as Gerri Gerbil Food which made especially to fulfill the dietary requirements of gerbils. Fresh vegetables, plain cereals, seeds, small pieces of fruits etc can be used as supplements to their basic diet. But these should be given to the gerbils only occasionally. Sunflower seeds and peanuts have a high fat content. Although gerbils love these seeds high amounts of them may result in obesity. A gerbil shouldn’t be given large amount of lettuce because it contains a lot of water and it may cause diarrhea.
If the gerbil is brought for children, then an adult should always supervise its handling. You should never hold gerbils by its tail or pull its tail as it is very fragile. Obviously you shouldn’t allow cats, dogs, ferrets or other animals to loiter around your gerbils.
You shouldn’t give your gerbils plastic toys to play with as they will chew them and swallow the plastic, which is very harmful for their health. They love cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet rolls. Wooden chew toys are another option.
You can give gerbils occasional sand baths, they love them!
You should provide your gerbils with wooden planks so that they can chew them. Gerbils teeth grow continuously so they need to chew something to wear them down. If their teeth continue to grow they can split through the cheek of the gerbil causing a mouth injury.
Gerbils require regular veterinary checks.