So blessed to have a Dad who helps me with the ideas I come up with to make caring for my fur babies easier. Today, shortly after two of my six week old girls got picked up by their new mommy (YAY!) my dad and I went to Home Depot and got $15 worth of wood to build this shelf system for my largest bin, a 110qt tub. LOVE how it turned out! Perfect hight, lots of storage space. Very excited. ^_^
Tag Archives: safety
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
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.
Being that I’m the one running around with an “I *Heart* Gerbils” sticker on my truck, my manager at work asked me to adopt a gerbil who has severe bedding allergies today, and I said yes.
SO! Soon (probably not until this end of this month or later) I will be bringing home a nutmeg male gerbil who has bad damage to his nose and a bit of a temper after having been treated with meds for a while. But, I decided that I will attempt to pair him with Oliver, and thus won’t rehome Oliver once Henry is paired with Clara (I’m a gerbil match maker, apparently).
Not sure what I’ll name him yet, but I want to continue my British and/or Doctor Who theme. Any ideas?
Quick Note on Bedding Allergies
Though often misdiagnosed, bedding allergies are caused by excess dust and/or oils (such as cedar, pine and sometimes-though rarely- aspen), the symptoms are sneezing, itching of the nose/face, and loss of fur to the nose/face. Some gerbils are particularly sensitive to bedding, and have to be kept on special, nearly dust free bedding in order to heal their noses. Such as Oliver and this new guy I’ll be taking on. Oliver has permanent scarring to his nose and one of his ears from this, and this new guy will as well. He’s even rubbed his paws raw from it. Poor baby. Gerbils with allergy issues should not be bred, as this sensitivity to bedding will likely be passed on to their offspring.
A recent discussion I had with a very sweet family who are hoping for a pair of my gerbils inspired this post. Though it can be hard sometimes to make the decision to wait on a breeder rather than get a pair of sub-adult gerbils at a pet store, there are some great perks to reward your patience! And though pet stores are often a reliable source for gerbils, there are a lot of cons that go along with them.
- You don’t know the exact age of their gerbils. Though the associate may be able to give you a rough estimate, you can’t be completely certain if their gerbils are in the ideal age range to be happy, well socialized pets.
- Gender confusion. Some pet stores may indeed have young, well-enough socialized gerbils, and think they know which are male and which are female, but they are often wrong. This is how I ended up with my very first litter!
- Health history. Pet stores have no idea if the parent gerbils were healthy, free of deformities, had good temperaments or if they were related (in-breeding can cause serious health concerns).
- Lack of color variety. Believe it or not, color is important! Gerbils of more rare colors, such as spotted gerbils, or color point gerbils (gerbils with dark points at the nose, ears, tail and feet) are more likely to be calm and easy to tame than the more common colors such as “Agouti” (brown with black ticked fur), or black.
- Lack of socialization. Sadly, in a pet store environment with customers to tend to, many cages to clean and a whole store to manage, even if there are associates who enjoy handling gerbils, they simply don’t have the time to spend taming and socializing each and every animal in their care. Often times this can lead to nippy or fearful behavior.
With a breeder, all of these “unknowns” become known!
- Responsible breeders keep good records. A breeder should keep close records of their pups birth dates, the parents behavior, how many still borns each pair has had, and more! And will monitor the pups progress closely.
- Breeders are more accurate at sexing young gerbils. Though I will admit that sexing young gerbils is not my strong suit, most breeders are fabulous at it. Due to my struggle, I wait to place the babies until I am completely sure. And if ever I were wrong, I would rectify it as soon as possible.
- Breeders are picky. A good breeder will choose only the best for their breeding stock, and are careful to avoid in-breeding and any obvious health issues such as kinked tails.
- Better color options. Breeders like to play around with genetics and try to produce the most visually appealing gerbils they can. Especially spotted and color point varieties, which means you are more likely to get naturally calm, easy to tame gerbils. (And they’re pretty, too!)
- Well socialized. A good breeder knows that good socialization starts from day one! Just gently touching and examining new born gerbils helps to get them used to the feel and smell of humans. By the time they’re ready to depart to their new homes, they know that people are friends!
Though the wait is hard, the pay off is worth it! Knowing what you’re getting makes all the difference in the world, and having a breeders contact info on hand in case of questions, concerns, or emergencies (“My gerbil ran under the fridge! What do I do?!”) is a great relief to a new gerbil keeper.
My listing went up today! The breeder above me is where I purchased my two females. Last night my membership officially went through, and I registered my two breeding pairs and submitted this listing!
Now if my two girls would just give me some sign as to whether or not they’re pregnant! *Sigh* Patience is not one of my virtues.
Using a “split pen method”, Smellin’ Good spray, and having young gerbils to work with, I successfully introduced my breeders today! They are currently sleeping all snuggled together with their new mates in their appropriate tanks.
So excited to meet the babies someday. Currently they are a bit young to be interested in mating, but soon that should change.
At the pet store where I work, we strive to take top notch care of the animals we have in our store. We treat any sick or potentially injured animals and are very proactive about their health.
However, sometimes shortcuts must be taken. Our animal provider generally sends odd numbers of gerbils. Three, five, seven, nine. No matter my efforts to sell them in pairs, there is always one sad gerbil left alone. When the next shipment of nine or so gerbils arrives, it is in the lone gerbils best interest to be reintegrated into the group. A huge no-no in most gerbil forums and websites. But I am here to tell you that not only is it possible, but it can take as little time as five minutes, requires no cage divider, and has a 95% success rate.
The reason gerbils attack one another is because they smell different. They don’t smell like one of their own “clan”. (Unless they are kept in restricted quarters and begin fighting for space.) The trick to introducing them peacefully is to mask their personal scent.
Smellin’ Good is a pet safe deodorizer sold at our store. One small spritz on the rear end of all gerbils involved in the introduction and–at least with young male gerbils–they welcome one another with open paws! By the time they’ve rid themselves of the baby powder scented spray, they’ve been with each other for over an hour and are all sharing one smell. A newly formed clan!
I have literally introduced three groups of three with this method and come back to find all nine sleeping together in one hide house.
I cannot guarantee this method always works, just that so far it has always worked for me in a pet store environment. Tomorrow I am going to attempt it with mine, with much caution. I will post an update later.