Gerbils as Pets

Gerbils make great pets

Gerbils are extremely popular as pets and can be a lot of fun. They are super easy to clean, take care of, and feed. If you are considering getting a Gerbil as a pet and companion, you should learn how to care for them.

The size and life span of a Gerbil

An adult Gerbil can live up to 3 years, some may live even longer. A fully-grown Gerbil can measure up to 4-5” long with a tail that is almost as long as the body.

How to house your Gerbil

One pair of gerbils will live happily in a 10 gallon fish tank, although, almost nothing is too big for pets. Wooden cages will have holes chewed into them very fast and wire cages are a bad idea because gerbils like to chew and dig in their homes.

How to feed your Gerbil

You can easily find premixed Gerbil food at your local pet store. You can also mix your own feed from hamster and parrot feeds. Gerbils really like sunflower seeds and tend to overeat them. You can use them as treats while training them or playing with them.

Gerbils usually get their water requirement from the food they eat. But as pet food is very dry, put fresh water in the cage. Gerbils also like fresh fruit, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, cheese etc. But keep them away from fatty and starchy food to keep them healthy and active.

Your social Gerbil

Unlike hamsters, it is a bad idea to have a single gerbil as a pet. Gerbils are highly social creatures and having company makes them more active, happy and live a longer life. In the wild gerbils live in family groups of around 20 individuals. Two males or Two females that know each other can easily and safely be kept together. Usually choosing Gerbils from the same litter is the way to go. Never try to introduce a young Gerbil into a cage with an older gerbil. The older one is likely to fight and kill the younger Gerbil for ‘intruding’ into its territory.

Caring for your Gerbil

You should normally feed your gerbil everyday. But if you need to go away for a day or two, just fill the feeding bowl with extra food that won’t go bad before you return. A gravity fed water drip will last for up to a week but you should change the water at least once or twice a week, if not daily.

As they come from the desert, Gerbil droppings are very dry and are  in the form of pellets. Also, they usually have one spot for droppings, which makes it very easy to just scoop them up now and then. You will need to replace the bedding at least once a month or as often as needed. Leave a small part of the old bedding so that the new bedding has a familiar scent.

You do not have to create a special habitat with artificial lights for Gerbils. They are alternately active and sleeping through out day and night, sleeping for only an hour or two every time. But Gerbils bred in captivity and pet Gerbils can easily adapt to the human schedules.

About the Author

I'm a (fairly) old Welsh guy who writes about keeping small pets as hobby. I live in the beautiful Italian Alps with my long suffering partner and three very spoiled cats.

32 Comments on "Gerbils as Pets"



  2. oh my that was great advice I have a gerbil her name is piper she is black don’t confuse it with pepper it is piper

  3. hey just kidding



  5. Gerbils are the best companions ever! If you are thinking of getting a rodent get gerbils! Just give them lots of love and company.
    I had two gerbils names Johnny and Peter. I loved them more than anything and Johnny lived to be more than four! That was two years ago, but now my parents have agreed to let me get some more joyballs! I will name them Calvin and Hobbes.

  6. i’m planning to get two gerbils and this is very helpful advice

  7. I am hoping that my parents will let me get a gerbil! i will probably use my own $$$, though.

  8. I will soon get a gerbil.But my mom says that I have to pay for it and its bedding and stuff.

  9. i would like two gerbils but my dad will not let me 🙁

  10. Omg! I am so excited because this Saturday I’m getting 2 adorable little gerbils!!! EEEEEEEP! I’m so excited! And I’m totally prepared too! I already have the cage and everything! I really can’t wait! If you want to see videos of gerbils go to and type in izzyrocks12 videos. Her’s are the best! See ya! Bye! Mwah!

  11. I realy want a gerbil but i lernt thay are nocturnal

  12. They aren’t nocturnal although they are most active in the early evening, like the article said above they have short bursts of activity for a few hours and then they sleep for a few hours.

  13. i have 2 adult female gerbils and 2 males and my white female gave birth to 8 babies and my nutmeg gerbil is pregnant wth her first litter. and my 1st male is a brown agouti and my 2nd male is a siamese colorpoint

  14. well my mom is letting me a gerbil for my b day and i think that she may be a little mad that i have to get two. my only option is a wire cage and just so every one knows if you are looking for the best prices go to petsmart. for everything with 2 gerbils is about 98$

  15. I WANT GERBILS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. I just got my gerbil today and I love it:) her name is princess bubblegum. She is a little shy right now but all the stuff I’ve been reading is really helpful. I plan to get a second one but not any time soon.

  17. I’m sorry but I do not have anything to say good about my gerbils. I would not recommend anyone buying them, especially if they have small children because they bite pretty hard. They are not cuddly, they tend to be very skiddish they also thump their feat constantly and destroy everything from toys to their feeding dish. I am trying to find new homes for mine as long as the people are good and take care of them I will give them away for free. My rats are not like this at all they will sit on my shoulder, let me hold them and are very loving. I recommend rats for pets rather than gerbils!

  18. Hi people! It seems nobody has commented in a while but hopefully someone will reply!

    My birthday is on April 17 and Iam turning 13 this year!!! My parents finally agreed that I can get two female gerbils anytime during the month of April. I am really excited and I’ve been reading a lot but I still have a few unanswered questions.
    1) Can gerbils eat tomatoes?
    2) What portion size should I feed them and how big should the amount of treats be?
    3) Do fruits and veggies and other treats have to be fresh out of a garden or can they be from the grocery store visit two days ago?
    4) I’ve heard that gerbils enjoy “bathing” in chinchila sand. How often should I let them do that and how much do I put in a bowl?
    5) Does anyone recommend a 10-gallon fishtank with a wire extention at the top?
    6) My friend had two male gerbils and today she found out one of them was a female because there were three puppies in her gerbil cage. If this were to happen to me, should I keep the gerbils or give them to a petstore?

    Thank you so much!

  19. Olivia Teeters | March 16, 2013 at 7:18 pm |

    I have had a pair of gerbils before and I’m so excited that you get to have a pair of gerbils! And I can help you with some of your questions…
    You should feed your pair of gerbils 1 table spoon for each gerbil!
    And I would not recommend a wire extension because gerbils can fall and get hurt from not seeing the stairs! And fruits and veggies don’t have to be straight out of the garden but rinse them thoroughly if you do give your gerbils fruits and veggies!

  20. Tammy Krones | March 26, 2013 at 1:15 am |

    so i just came home from the petstore with ONE gerbil, I asked th lady if i should get two and she said they do better solo, should I be worried about my little guy????

  21. Do I have to get two

  22. I wish I could get a gerbil but I have 2 cats and one loves mice!

  23. Hey, beaver why would you do something so cruel to some baby’s and a family you could have just given them away or sold them for $$ and you can use the money u wasted for them and get something useful.

  24. Just so everyone knows, most expensive cages that are advertised for hamsters, gerbils, mice, etc are not really ideal. The best and cheapest way to go is to buy a large storage container, keeping in mind that it has to be tall enough that a gerbil cant escape-they jump really high. Remember that a gerbil needs at least 360 square inches per gerbil, so 720 for two gerbils. A 10 gallon tank is NOT a good cage, neither are most cages from PetSmart or other pet stores!!

  25. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions to how to convince your parents to let you have gerbils. I had rats a year ago and I miss having a pet,and gerbils seem to be a great pet

  26. i just got two gerbils today for a early christmas present they are lovely they dont bite they nibble. if people were to get a rodent i suggest gerbils not rats snakes etc.i love my gerbils jacky and daniels.


  28. Hey on the 27th of November last year we got 2 “boy” gerbils because our one passed away and the remaining one was lonely. About a few months ago our first boy gerbil Snowflake had 2 pups, one dying on the first few days. Then both the surviving pup and snowflake died. We thought that was it….
    The next “boy” 12 days ago had given birth to 7 pups 5 being brown and two being ginger… But none of the parents are ginger can you tell me how the two are ginger?
    And btw 3 are boys and 4 are girls so names would be good!!!

  29. I would’ve got two gerbils for sure, but my parents said no 🙁 no my gerbil Melon is still very curious and social

  30. Oops, sorry about that second no 😁

  31. I so want a gerbil so bad. But my dad does not think I can look after it. Now that I have read up on how to look after them he might just let me….

  32. You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the topic and found most individuals will approve with your site.

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