Basic Gerbil Care

Are you considering getting a gerbil to make your Aurora home complete? Gerbils are very cute and make wonderful pets. These adorable little furballs are quite fun, and are very popular first pets for children. Gerbils are fairly low-maintenance, but like any animal companion, they do have specific requirements.

Here are a few of the basics on caring for a pet gerbil:


Gerbils need company, and will appreciate having a roommate. You’ll have to introduce your gerbils slowly, to ensure they don’t fight. If you ever separate your gerbils for more than a day, re-introduce them slowly, as they won’t remember one another. Girl gerbils are happier in pairs, but if you get boys, you can keep up to four in one cage.


A glass tank is a great habitat for a gerbil. You’ll need to keep about six inches of bedding inside so your little pet can dig around. Use a decent substrate, and stay away from sawdust and pine or cedar shavings, as these can cause respiratory issues. A layer of hay will help your gerbil digest his food better, and he’ll like chewing on it as well. Putting a wire topper onto your cage will give your gerbil a second story, where you can place toys and water so they won’t get contaminated. Don’t place the cage in direct sunlight, and make sure there aren’t any drafts close by. You’ll also want to give your pet gerbil a little nesting box or home to retreat to as well.


Your gerbil will need lots of cardboard and wooden toys to chew and climb. Gerbils’ teeth never stop growing, so they need to chew constantly to keep them from becoming too long. Gerbils also need stimulation, so you’ll want to change out and rearrange your little pet’s toys frequently. Keep your gerbil’s cage interesting. One very popular choice for gerbils is the spinning wheel. Just make sure not to get a wire one, as this can hurt their little feet. They’ll also love ripping up tissue, paper, or cardboard to make nests.


You can give your pet a commercial gerbil food. Gerbils like mixes, as the variety helps keep them from getting bored. For treats, your gerbil will enjoy mealworms, sunflower seeds, and bits of fresh veggies, such as peas, corn, broccoli, and carrots. You won’t need a dish; you can just scatter your gerbil’s food in his cage.

Please contact your Aurora vet with any questions on caring for your gerbil.

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