Gerbils are great family pets. These cute rodents are small, low maintenance, and super entertaining to watch!
Small animals like gerbils and hamsters can make great family pets. Whether you have young children or older children in your household, having a pet gerbil in your kid's life can be a great decision -- especially if they're first-time pet-owners. (Even though, be sure to teach any younger kids to handle the gerbil with care!)
A great pet, especially for families living in smaller spaces, these small pets are active and entertaining little guys -- being social animals, gerbils are very friendly and love being handled by their humans. Their ability to bond with their human companions is just one of the many things that people love about them! While there are about 90 species of gerbils, Mongolian gerbils are the ones most likely sold in pet stores.
If you are new to this whole being a gerbil-parent thing, here are 5 tips so your pet gerbil can be #livingtheirbestlife!
1. Give Them a Good Home
Gerbils need a nice and quiet habitat to live happily. Make sure to put your gerbil's cage in a quiet area of the house, away from any loud activities like your tv or a stream of running kids. Gerbils like to chew, so the best housing options are plastic cages. While wire cages can also be a good option, their burrowing can often kick shavings out of their cage -- which makes a great, big mess!
2. Feed Them a Good Balanced Diet
Gerbils mainly eat a plant-based diet. Feed these cute little rodents a mix of fresh fruits, seeds, and veggies for a well-balanced and healthy diet. They also love sunflower seeds and can be used as an occasional treat. Make sure to also keep their water bottle filled with fresh, clean water.
3. Provide Them with Toys
Life can get pretty boring in a cage -- make sure to give your pet gerbil some mental stimulation by providing the appropriate toys. Throw in some wooden chew toys they can go crazy gnawing on, as well as some cardboard tubes to have a happy gerbil!
4. Give Them Some Exercise
Because gerbils are such social animals, they really don't mind a good cuddle every now and then. Be sure to give them a chance to stretch their legs by giving them some exercise time: either by letting them run around freely in a fenced-off enclosure or giving them an exercise wheel or ball.
5. Clean Their Cage Regularly
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Yes, this is one of those necessary evils. An important step to keep your pet gerbil happy & healthy is by giving them a clean home they feel comfortable in. Make sure to clean out their cage on a regular basis -- a thorough cleaning about once a week or twice a month should do the trick (don't forget the soapy water!).
If kept happy and healthy, you can expect a lifespan of 2 to 5 years from your pet gerbil.
Do you have a pet gerbil? Share your rodent friend with us on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!