View Full Version : Gerbil Experts!

Ally has U's
12-29-07, 03:00 pm
As from a thread I had just put on here the other day I was interested in adopting a hamster, BUT as fate has it my friend came to visit and said she is getting rid of her hamster because she can't properly care for them like they needed to be cared for. I said that I would try to help her. Now I am doing research on gerbils. Does anyone have advice on the situation first off? Any how here are my questions:

Can more than one gerbil be housed together?
What is their housing like, I have researched and found out that bin cages are ok for hamsters but are they ok for gerbils?
What can they eat?
How different are they from hamsters?
Are they cuddly or are they (quoting someone from an earlier thread) 'furry fish'?
What are they like, do they use hamster tunnels do they burrow do they use wheels?

Maybe I should dive into this but at least I am being cautious and asking for your help! I am researching but any help would be appreciated!!!

Ally has U's
12-30-07, 01:26 am
Alas I have researched and found that many websites disagree with each other. I can't really trust anything that is said from them. I need some more information or I am not going to take them in. If I can't care for them then I just can't take them. Which means they will probably go to the pet store (this pet store only take in animals that are surrender so they are more of a rescue with a store but don't have people fill out adoption applications so they are still a rotten pet store), please any information or a point in the right direction would be appreciated!

12-31-07, 04:12 am
Can more than one gerbil be housed together?
- Yes, males are more happier in groups, and can be in pairs as well. Females do well in pairs than group, as they tends to de-clan one of the girls while boys won't do that.

What is their housing like, I have researched and found out that bin cages are ok for hamsters but are they ok for gerbils?
- Nope, gerbils are avid digger and they can chew and dig their way out of those plastic. A glass tank is more suitable. 20 gallon for a pair.

What can they eat?
- They can eat Hamsters mix, just make sure you remove the Sunflower seeds as Gerbils are picky, they'll only eat those. Remove and sue those as rewards/treats. Also, remove the Dried Yellow Corns as they can trap Bacterias and cause cancer in small animals on long term. Remember only refill the food bowl when they've finish EVERYTHING. Gerbils are VERY picky.

How different are they from hamsters?
- They wake up during the days and night too, They've got a long tail of course lol.

Are they cuddly or are they (quoting someone from an earlier thread) 'furry fish'?
- I don't say they are cuddly but you can interact and play with them.

What are they like, do they use hamster tunnels do they burrow do they use wheels?
- Plastic aren't ideal toys for Gerbils as they are constantly chewing, and they can chew a plastic in less than an hour. For toys it would be good to throw in some toilet tube etc, and it is fun to watch them go in and out of it and start chewing on it to nest. Remember they can finish inless than an hour so you can always ask your neighbours to keep for you for them!

01-02-08, 01:54 pm
Gerbils are a social species and should be housed in pairs, or groups.

Housing: The best housing I have seen is a combo thing, with an aquarium at the bottom and a wire cage on top. This means the gerbils get to burrow, but also get the space for toys, climbing etc from a normal style cage.
This is the sort of thing I mean:
Small Animals - Cages - Cage and Burrowing Tank Habitat for Small Pets - ARDENT PETS | Online UK Pet Shop - Hamster cage Gerbil cage (http://www.ardentpets.co.uk/small-animals/cages/cage-and-burrowing-tank-habitat-for-small-pets/prod_312.html)

Food - this isn't my area of expertise but I would suggest a specific gerbil food.

Gerbils look different from hamsters obviously, different fur, long tail, different posture etc. They are more likely to be active when you are around. I barely saw my hamsters when I had them because they only came out late at night.

I don't think many small rodent species are really "cuddly" pets, but gerbils are quite entertaining.

The most important thing to consider about gerbil behaviour is BURROWING!This is an extremely highly motivated behaviour for them, and they will try to do it even when it is not physically possible (eg you'll see them try to dig out of the corners of a cage etc).
Personally I feel that it is unfair to keep a gerbil unless you can provide it with an opportunity to burrow properly. This is why I like the cages that combine aquarium with wire cages on top. A couple of inches of sawdust is just not good enough. I don't think a bin cage would be suitable for this reason.
They will use hamster tunnels, and I have seen recommendations that if they can not be provided with burrowing facilities they should be given tunnels instead - long enough to properly hide in. Obviously they should not be made of the softer plastics that could be chewed.
They will use running wheels. With gerbils it is especially important to use solid wheels so they do not get their tails caught.
Like all rodents gerbils chew a lot. They will enjoy carboard toys to destroy, like loo rolls or empty boxes.

01-12-08, 08:51 am
For an excellent care guide, list of breeders in the US, color chart, and tons of other information, check out ...

Percy's Mom
01-12-08, 08:58 am
Zoomom - This forum is completely anti-breeding, not only for guinea pigs, but for all animals that there is an overpopulation of in rescues and shelters. Your link was deleted because the site is obviously pro-breeding to the point of offering a list of breeders.

01-13-08, 04:44 pm
We have a single male (a former classroom pet). The best housing is a deep aquarium with lots of litter. They LOVE paper tubes of all kinds - toss all of your toilet paper tubes, wrapping paper tubes, and paper towel empty rolls right into the cage. They will use every one that you give them. The slightly larger, harder cardboard tubes (like the ones they sell in pet supply stores)are great, too. Any cardboard that is free of glues and shiny papers will be appreciated. And for a special treat, toss some paper towels or a toilet paper roll that still has some paper on it - they will tear it to shreads and use it. They love to build, build, build, all night long! I use lots and lots of litter, and then change it all less frequently than I change my Chinese Dwarf hamster. He builds such elaborate tunnels in there; I feel guilty wrecking them. I can imagine him shaking a little fist at me: "Dang it all, woman, I just finished the new kitchen!"

As for feeding, they hide food by nature. Mine immediately empties his bowl and squirrels it away, so I never really know what he has or hasn't eaten.

The more you handle them, the nicer and more playful they will be. Mine loves his ball, and I need to get him a wheel - he's getting a little portly in his old age.

All in all, gerbils are great pets. I enjoy ours a lot.

02-14-08, 04:31 pm
we have 3 female gerbils living together, no problem with them at all, wedid get them all at the same time, so they have been raised together.

03-01-08, 08:21 pm
I have gerbils, and have had them for nearly a year :) I'm on a gerbil forum, which gives really good info, cause tons of people on there are gerbil breeders. XXXXXXXX is the gerbil forum. And XXXXXXX is a good site! Gerbil can live in bin cages, but make sure the bin has smooth edges. It can't have ridges and stuff, cause they'll chew it up :P A twenty gallon high is good, cause gerbils like to dig. Aspen is probably the best bedding, but if your gerbil is allergic to it, there is carefresh, ecobedding, and other bedding. DON'T use pine or cedar. Don't put anything plastic (hamster tubes, soft plastic wheel), becuase if they ingest it, they could die. Water bottles can sometimes be chewed on, but most have guards or are shaped so that it can't be chewed. Don't use runged wheels, because little gerbil tails can get caught and ripped off. Gerbils can normally be hand trained in a few weeks. Just put your hand in the cage with some Cheerios or sunflower seeds everyday, and they'll see your hand and think "Yay! Good things!" :D Two gerbils do well together. I have male gerbils, and they are pretty layed back. Hope this helps!

02-07-09, 05:35 pm
I am planing too on fostering gerbils and getting some of my own ! So thank you every one for the advise !
I have done some research and gerbils need to be in groups. Wire cages are bad for them as they can hurt their noses, so large aquariums are better. And don't forget to put a lid as they love to climb !