Henry is my calmest gerbil by far, so I used him as my model.
Though it may seem more comfortable for you to hold a gerbil as pictured above, it often makes a gerbil feel constrained and uneasy. You may even get nipped or bitten if the gerbil isn’t used to this kind of handling. You can work up to this, but do so slowly and release it if it seems uncomfortable in your hand.
Gerbils prefer to be held in open hands, particularly if you’re wearing a loose fitting long sleeved shirt that they can climb on or in. They are very active and don’t like to stay in one place for long. Once you’ve found your gerbils’ favorite treat, you may be able to get him or her to munch on it while in your hand. Henry will do this with dried mealworms or yogurt drops.
And now, a badly taken video of Henry eating a mealworm!