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Category Archives: Gerbil Care

Care guidance, tips, setup instructions and advice about the care and keeping of your little furry friends!

Gerbil Shopping List

Looking for a quick, no fuss shopping list of the must haves and the good ideas for getting your first gerbils? Something you can have ready on your smart phone or printed out?

Look no farther!

The Must Haves: 

One ten gallon aquarium/terrarium

One screen lid that fits the tank mentioned above

Bedding– Preferably paper, I recommend Kaytee “Clean & Cozy” unscented bedding

Water Bottle –Glass, or equipped with a metal guard to prevent chewing

Food–Gerri Gerbil or Vitacraft’s “Mouse, Rat & Gerbil” food

Chews–Pet safe wood or lava block

Hide House–Wood/Plastic composite or ceramic will last the longest

“Gerbil Dust”–Sold as Chinchilla dust, to be given once a week in a glass bowl for bathing

Exercise Wheel–Metal mesh or “Silent Spinner” style wheels only

The Good Ideas

Play Pen–Make sure it is made for small rodents such as hamsters, or the bar spacing may be too large

Food Dish–Though not required, this does help maintain a cleaner habitat and allow you to know how much your gerbils are eating

Tank Topper (found primarily online)– a tank topper allows for more space for your new friends to roam!

Pet safe habitat cleaner– You can used Windex, but be sure it is completely wiped clean to avoid possible ingestion

Treats– Sold in the small pet isle, Yogurt drops and other treats can be great ways to bond with your new friends

Freebies 

Toilet Paper rolls, small cardboard boxes and bits of paper make great toys, so long as they are not wax coated

Shredded Documents make fun nesting and chewing items, but again, make sure they are not treated with any kind of coating

And that’s it! Not including tax, your typical cost effective gerbil setup is about $45-$60 bucks depending on what kinds/brands you choose. (Compared to a guinea pigs whopping $150-$250 price range, that is a cheap pet!)

Check out this post for a more detailed description of the items mentioned above, and the “why’s” behind them.

 

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2014 in Gerbil Care, Gerbil Quirks

 

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All Stocked Up!

My spoiled babies have no idea how very blessed they are to have me. Because when I get an email from Petmountain telling me there is a 50% site wide sale and I have a $5 coupon… I stock up on stuff.

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Look at my pile of goodies!! Including two bags of a gerbil food I’ve been wanting to try for quite a while, as it’s the only food I’ve found that is made JUST for gerbils! Judging by the ingredients list and the smell and look of it, I think my gerbils will think they’ve found gerbil gold.

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It’s got the same stuff as my current gerbil food, PLUS dried carrots, a few raisons, and pumpkin seeds! My gerbils already are better off on their Vitakraft food than on “Hamster/Gerbil” food, I think this will make them happy.

Also, blue Kaytee Bedding, which they’ve stopped selling in my pet store. I know they don’t care, but it makes their cages look more fun to me.

It’s been 20 days since my breeding pairs have been introduced. No sign of pregnancy yet, but I’m hoping it will come within this next month at least. They’re all old enough now, and they often are pretty flirty with one another.

And now I must begin to get ready for work! We have a whopping 15 gerbils at my store right now. That is A LOT. Several are very pretty, too. Looking forward to helping them find loving homes! 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2014 in Gerbil Care, The Clan

 

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Gerbil Handling

Henry is my calmest gerbil by far, so I used him as my model.

Henry in my hand by the window (the batman symbol is a reflection from my pants.)

Henry in my hand by the window (the batman symbol is a reflection from my pants.)

Henry is one of few gerbils who doesn't mind being held still.

Henry is one of few gerbils who doesn’t mind being held still.

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.

My Dad holding Henry in opened hands--the way gerbils prefer.

My Dad holding Henry in opened hands–the way gerbils prefer.

Henry peering down at a fallen mealworm.

Henry peering down at a fallen mealworm.

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!

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2014 in Gerbil Care, The Clan

 

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The Waiting Game

My two females and one of my males are about 10 weeks old, almost three months, so they should be ready to breed any time now, but the waiting is so hard. My other little male (The Doctor) is a bit younger, but when his girlfriend goes into estrous he should become interested. Every day I go and hold them all, check on them and make sure they’re all happy and healthy, and it gets me excited to see what their babies will look like. The girls are both very sweet and readily climb on my hands once they see that the boys aren’t afraid of me.

The boys at my pet store are very pretty, four blondes (Not sure what particular variety) two blacks, a spotted black, an agouti, and a very pretty little burmese, just a shade lighter than mine. I’ve been handling them whenever I can while I’m working and waiting for just the right customer to come and give some of them a new home.

Tip:

If purchasing gerbils from a pet store, do your research before hand, and interview the pet store employee who you are thinking of buying from. If they don’t give adequate answers, ask if there is someone in the store who owns gerbils or works with the stores gerbils regularly. Ask to hold the gerbils or see the employee hold the gerbils. If they get out a leather glove to hold them with, walk away. Find a pet store employee who is confident and comfortable handling the gerbils bare handed and knows the basics about gerbil care. You can also use the American Gerbil Society’s breeder listings and find a breeder in your area, visit an exotic animal show, or go to your local exotic animal vet and ask the veterinarian if he or she knows if there is anyone in the area who breeds gerbils. Try to find young gerbils, as these will prove to be the best pets in the long run.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2014 in Gerbil Care, The Clan

 

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Tank Toppers

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(Yes, I know their water is low. I cleaned and refilled it after taking this photo.)

Tank toppers are a great way to add extra space and interest to your gerbils home, without the mess of escaped bedding that often occurs with critter trail style cages. They also allow you to mount a water bottle on a different level, and place a food dish on a different level, encouraging shy gerbils to come out into the open to eat. Toys can be hung or snapped to the bars and provide new chew and play options.

Your tank topper should be chosen with the same ideals as a wheel. It should have grid style floors to avoid tail or foot injury, and should be made solely of metal. I purchased mine from Amazon.com.

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Warnings & Tips:

Bar biting is when a gerbil obsessively gnaws on the bars of it’s cage. It can cause baldness on the nose and possible damage to the teeth. It is generally a symptom of boredom and can usually be prevented if other chew options are available. Usually. Henry (pictured above) however is a notorious bar biter no matter the toys and chews I provide. The best way to stop this bad habit is to only allow them to have their tank topper every other week. This prevents boredom and is good for their mental health.

If you are breeding your gerbils, only allow your pair to have a tank topper while there are no young present. Newborn gerbils may be placed by their mother under a ramp, where they are in danger of being crushed if you move it unknowingly. “Toddler” gerbils are clumsy and can hurt themselves falling from the highest level. Wait until your babies are of weaning age before allowing them to have access to a tank topper.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Gerbil Care

 

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Habitat Setup, Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Step One:

Take one tank of appropriate size and insure that it is clean.

Ten gallon tank

Ten gallon tank

Step Two:

Add three(ish) inches of bedding and squish it down.

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Step Three:

Add crinkles (optional), water bottle, chew toys (wood & toilet paper tube), and food. (Wheel and hide house not pictured)

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Step Four: Just add Gerbils!

Place gerbils in tank and watch them explore! Pictured are the Doctor and Rory.

(Remember that step five is the lid. Don’t forget the lid. 😉 )

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This should be repeated weekly to insure clean, happy gerbils!

 

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Gerbil Care

 

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Soft & Fluffy

Once a week you should offer your gerbils a dust bath! Gerbils cannot be bathed with water, as they have difficulty drying themselves and can become sick if wet for too long. In the wild, gerbils roll in sandy, dusty earth to clean the excess oils and possible parasites from their fur.

Chinchilla dust is the best option for your gerbils. It is affordable and long lasting!

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Place the dust in a container such as a glass bowl, mason jar, or gerbil bath house.

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Allow your gerbils at least ten or fifteen minutes to frolic in the dust and groom themselves. I personally enjoy using a mason jar on it’s side for their dust baths, so I can watch them roll around and clean their faces. Once finished, they will be soft, fluffy and cuddly again! (They may leave tiny, dusty footprints on your clothes!)

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Gerbil Care

 

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