Gerbils are very active during the day unlike hamsters, which are nocturnal. They make great family pets and are incredibly curious creatures. They need minimal daily care and produce very little odour. Gerbils are nicknamed the pocket kangaroo. The average life span is approximately 2-4 years.
Handling your Pet
Your new gerbil might be very nervous when you first get him home. This is due to the change of environment. The best way to deal with this is to talk to him and at first handle him as little as possible, as over handling at this stage causes stress, which could be fatal. When your gerbil is used to his new home, you should begin to introduce your hand, and begin to handle him for short periods of time each day. Talk to him gently as you pick him up. Let him be aware of your hand, and do not rush to pick him up, as this will frighten him. You must NEVER pick him up by his tail, as it is very fragile and can be easily shed. By handling him daily and carefully he will soon adapt to being handled.
Housing your Pet
The housing should be large, and should also provide your gerbil with room to explore. Whichever cage you choose, should be easy to clean and escape proof. Cages with more than one level are ideal as they provide your gerbil with more room, and they also encourage exploration. The base of the cage should be covered with a deep layer of wood shavings because they love to burrow. Small animal bedding should be provided in the sleeping quarters for a warm bed. A variety of small animal toys and gnaws should be provided for your gerbil as they are compulsive chewers and also to prevent boredom. The cage should also be placed out of draughts and direct sunlight to prevent health problems occurring. The cage should be disinfected at least once a week with a suitable disinfectant.
Gerbils are sociable animals and need companionship. Single sex groups should live happily together, if you have two gerbils and one dies, it may be possible to introduce a younger one to your existing one, however great care must be taken that they do not fight. The best way to do this would be to divide a cage with mesh to separate the two gerbils and switch them daily. They should gradually begin to accept each other.
Feeding your Pet
Geri gerbil or a good quality hamster food should be given fresh each day in a feed bowl. Fresh fruit & vegetables can be given occasionally & in moderation. Fresh water should be readily available in a drinking bottle.
All our animals at Just for Pets are given a health check before being put on sale. Providing that your animal is properly fed, and his cage and accessories are kept clean, your pet should remain healthy for many years to come.
Care must be taken in the selection of toys and gnaws to prevent your gerbil getting a sore nose.
Injuries; when gerbil’s fight they tend to get a bit carried away and cause bite wounds that will bleed. Injuries such as fractures may also occur if your gerbil gets a leg or a tail caught in the cage. Sore noses are quite common – this is usually caused by over over-exuberant burrowing.
Provide plenty of gnawing materials and toys.
Cold symptoms: symptoms are sneezing, sniffles and coughing. Colds can be caused by drafts, excess moisture and occasionally heatstroke.