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Do not allow the bedding material to become damp or smelly. Once or twice a week, cleaning and remove urine and dry droppings of gerbil in the bedding.
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Yellow Leaves on Plants
Gerbils make great companions and are fascinating to bond with. Gerbils are also friendly and great pets for kids. They supply endless hours of entertainment and fun. Even though caring for a gerbil is easy and straightforward, there are some things that need to know to ensure your gerbils live a long happy life in their enclosure.
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Gerbils are social animals. Gerbils live longer and healthier lives when they live with others of their kind, they feel happiest with their friends. However, there is a note that you should add 2 gerbils with the same sex in the cage.
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Some pet owners choose to provide their gerbils with an exercise wheel. However, the slats in a traditional hamster wheel can catch a gerbil’s feet or delicate tail. When choosing an exercise wheel, either look for one with a solid surface or cover the outside of a typical hamster wheel with tape to create a solid surface.
Rearranging the contents of the cage periodically will help keep your gerbil stimulated.
The healthiest food choice is pellets formulated for gerbils. These pellets should contain 18% to 20% protein and are readily available in most pet stores. It is better to avoid the gerbil mixtures that contain pellets mixed with seeds because the animals will often pick out the seeds and leave the pellets. An adequate amount of food to avoid obesity and diabetes is 5 g of pellets per day. It is normal for gerbils to hoard their food, burying it in their bedding and around their cage. Homemade diets containing seeds or table scraps are usually not nutritionally balanced, although pumpkin or sunflower seeds can be offered as occasional treats. A consistent food source helps to prevent health problems.
The cage should be filled about one-third deep with bedding materials to provide gerbils with a place to dig and hoard their food and a means to absorb their urine. Bedding made from aspen or corncob shavings is a good choice and is commercially available. Recycled paper products marketed as bedding are safe and easy to clean. Cedar shavings contain oils that may be toxic to small animals, and their use remains controversial. Gerbil housing should be cleaned and disinfected often (once every 2 to 3 weeks) to prevent disease.
In the wild, gerbils build elaborate burrows. Therefore many gerbil owners provide their pets with commercially available plastic tubing and other environments that allow for climbing and burrowing. Other options are sturdy rocks, wooden planks, and ladders for climbing. When choosing toys, keep in mind that gerbils chew everything, so do not choose anything with pieces that may be harmful if swallowed.
Gerbils must be kept in a cage with a solid (non-mesh) bottom because they often stand up on their hind legs. An ordinary fish tank with a breathable (mesh) lid makes an excellent home for a gerbil. Solid plastic containers with connecting tunnels make an interesting environment. A rule of thumb is that each gerbil requires about 5 gallons of space; 1 gerbil needs at least a 5-gallon tank, 2 gerbils need a 10-gallon tank, and so on. Living quarters should be 60°F to 70°F and relatively dry (below 50% humidity). Whatever type of cage is chosen, it should be secure (to prevent escape) and easy to keep clean.
Because gerbils are adapted to dry, desert-like conditions, they do not consume much water; 4 mL (less than 1 teaspoon) per day is average for an adult. However, plenty of fresh, clean water should be supplied daily. Water can be provided via a bottle with a metal spout or nipple, which can be hung from the lid of the tank, or via a small bowl. All water dispensers should be washed thoroughly when the water is refilled.