Gerbil Care

gerbil careGerbils are of the rodent family, are about 400grams in weight, are about four inches long, with a tail of about the same length, and come in various colors.  They will have brown or red eyes, and are very social animals.  Although gerbils are native to various countries, the most popular domestic pet is a Mongolian gerbil.  These creatures are usually gentle and tend not to bite( unlike some other rodents).  Although the regulations which are legally binding for cat and dog owners do not extend to rodent owners, the health of the rodent must be taken into consideration with regards to space.   

The cost of a gerbil is not too much per year, and is an inexpensive way to teach children responsibility, or to reward them.  Although they are able to be trained reasonably easily, they are better off in groups rather than singles in a cage.  Therefore when purchasing a gerbil, it is healthier to purchase two rather than one, as they have been proven to live longer healthier lives when living in a group. 

Gerbils require a space adequate enough for exercise, eating and sleeping.  Female gerbils do not fare as well in big groups, and it has been found that the behavior of males in groups larger than 3-4 can be aggressive.  Therefore, the best groups are about 2-4 gerbils, with a mix of the sexes if possible.  It is best if the gerbils are together from around the age of six weeks, so they can socialize optimally. 

If gerbils are trained well, they will behave outside the cage, and even sit on your head (if you like that)!  This should be started with some treats for good behavior when the gerbil is out of the cage, and then move to extending the time the gerbil is outside, while decreasing the treats.  If you are wishing to breed gerbils, they are not a great money spinner. 

The hamster cage will cost about $35, and litter approximately $220 per year, with food about $50 per year.  Gerbils can be very active and will escape from a cage that is not properly secured.  Their hearing and smell is acute, and so loud noises should be avoided close to gerbils.  If the care of a gerbil is in the hands of a child, an adult should also monitor the care from a distance, in case of emergencies.