Gerbils are wonderful pets, but you’ll need to provide them with some basic things in order for them to be happy and healthy. Below we’ve listed some of the basics, but if you want some more information on keeping them happy and entertained, we’ve got another FAQ called Things Gerbils Love.
Making your pets happy is simple once you know what they need
A gerbil’s enclosure is where they will spend the vast majority of their lives, so it’s really important to get it right. Each of your (at least two) gerbils will need at least ten gallons of space in order to not feel too cramped. The Qute is perfectly proportioned - there’s lots of space for your gerbils to burrow in, and there’s an upstairs for all their food and water needs.
You’ll also need to think a bit about where you put your gerbil’s enclosure. Gerbils need somewhere well away from sources of ultrasound, such as TVs, computers and running water. They’ll also benefit from being somewhere that other pets can’t access. Dogs or cats staring through the bars of their cage can be really stressful for these little creatures, as they’d be prey to a lot of larger animals in the wild. Keep all other non-gerbil pets away from your gerbils.
2. A friend
Gerbils are very social animals - in the wild they live in extended family groups or colonies, so these conditions need to be replicated when they’re being kept in captivity. This means that you need to keep these little animals in groups of two or more. Generally the best combinations are two brothers or two sisters who have just left their mother, and are about seven or eight weeks old.
Gerbils need a friend of their own species to talk to throughout their lives
Gerbils need new dry food about twice a day, and constant access to clean water. Many owners supplement their gerbils’ dry food mix with fresh food to provide some variety, and because not all dry mixes contain all the vitamins and minerals the animals need. Be sure to choose one that provides all the necessary nutrients if you’re new to gerbils.
Gerbils naturally burrow in the wild to create safe little places in which they can shelter from the heat of the day and hide from predators. They have such a strong burrowing instinct that they’ll be really stressed and unhappy if they can’t burrow when they’re being kept as pets. You can help them do this by providing at least five or six inches of bedding on the floor of the enclosure. This way, they can create their own tunnels and nests.
5. Regular Cleaning
Although gerbils are pretty clean creatures, they will need their enclosures cleaned out roughly once a week. If you have more than two gerbils, then the larger size of your enclosure may mean that you don’t need to clean them out more than this, but if you notice it getting dirty or if the bedding becomes damp at any point, then you will need to clean the enclosure. For tips and advice on cage cleaning, visit our How To Clean My Gerbil Cage page.
6. Good Health
Your gerbils can’t tell you when they’re not well, so it’s up to you to keep an eye out for any health problems they might develop. Your pet relies on you to keep it out of pain as much as possible, so regular health check-ups are a must.