what gerbils like

What Do Gerbils Like?

If you’re a gerbil owner or aspiring to become one, you may be curious about what gerbils like. Understanding the preferences and needs of gerbils can help you provide a better living environment and care for them, enhancing the interaction and trust between you and these small, furry companions. In this article, I’ll share information and advice on gerbil food preferences, toys and activities, living environment, and social needs to give you valuable insights.

Gerbil Food Preferences
Commercial Pellet Mix:
Gerbils primarily rely on commercial pellet mix as their main source of nutrition. These mixes usually contain essential vitamins and minerals necessary for gerbil health, aiding in teeth maintenance. You can purchase specially designed gerbil pellet mixes from pet stores or online sources. Alternatively, you can create your mix, ensuring it includes a balanced mix of grains, legumes, nuts, and hay. Provide a small spoonful in a clean food bowl daily, avoiding overfeeding to prevent obesity or digestive issues.

Fresh Produce:
Offering fresh or dried fruits, vegetables, and herbal plants as supplemental treats provides gerbils with additional hydration, fiber, and enjoyable flavors. Include items like apples, bananas, carrots, celery, lettuce, mint, and basil in a separate clean bowl daily. Be cautious not to overfeed to avoid diarrhea or spoilage, and regularly clean any leftover food in the cage to prevent bacterial growth or pests.

Seeds serve as snacks for gerbils, offering essential fats and proteins, satisfying their chewing instincts. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and flaxseeds are suitable choices. Limit seed portions due to their high calorie and fat content to prevent obesity or skin issues. Provide a small handful weekly, placed in a small container or toy for the gerbils to find and enjoy, enhancing their activity and amusement.

Treat gerbils with a weekly small slice of fresh or dried fruits such as grapes, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, apricots, and figs. Place it in a separate dish or container, avoiding overfeeding to prevent diarrhea or dental issues. Avoid fruits high in acidity or sugar, such as lemons, oranges, pineapples, and melons, as they can irritate the gerbils’ stomachs or teeth.

Include a small piece of fresh or dried vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, cauliflower, cucumber, and tomatoes in the gerbils’ diet weekly. Place it in a small dish or container, preventing overconsumption to avoid digestive issues or bloating. Avoid high-moisture or high-nitrogen vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, celery, and bean sprouts, as they may dilute urine or lead to bladder stones.

Gerbils can enjoy a monthly serving of insects, providing animal-based proteins and calcium. Offer live or dried options such as mealworms, ants, crickets, silkworm pupae, and thrips. Place them in a small bowl or container for the gerbils to hunt and consume, promoting their hunting instincts and enjoyment. Avoid feeding insects high in fat or salt, like bees, wasps, scorpions, and snails, as they may impact the gerbils’ health or cause allergic reactions.

In addition to food, gerbils need access to clean water daily. Provide a fresh water bottle in a clean water dispenser, avoiding contamination or dehydration. Regularly check the functionality and cleanliness of the water bottle to prevent blockages or rust.

Gerbil Toys and Activities
Gerbils have a strong affinity for toys, using them for chewing, playing, and storage. Purchase gerbil-specific toys such as wooden balls, sticks, rings, and swings from pet stores or online. Alternatively, craft your toys like paper rolls, cardboard boxes, toilet paper tubes, and yogurt cups. Introduce several different toys daily in various locations within the gerbil cage, avoiding an excess that might encroach on their activity space. Regularly change or clean toys to prevent wear or contamination.

Gerbils have a keen need for activities, which serve as exercise, exploration, and entertainment. Provide suitable activities such as chewing items, tunnels, and climbing structures. Chewing is a natural instinct that helps gerbils maintain teeth health and alleviate stress. Offer materials like wood, branches, hay, and dog biscuits for chewing. Tunnels cater to the gerbils’ natural behavior, providing a sense of security and satisfying their curiosity. Supply tunneling options like plastic tubes, paper rolls, cloth bags, and wooden houses. Climbing adds a fun dimension, allowing gerbils to exercise and observe their surroundings. Introduce climbing devices like wooden ladders, rope nets, swings, and wooden bridges.

Gerbil Living Environment
The cage is the gerbil’s home, requiring adequate size for free movement and accommodation of food, water, toys, and bedding. Purchase a suitable gerbil cage, such as those made of metal mesh, plastic boxes, or glass tanks, from pet stores or online sources. Alternatively, craft cages using materials like wooden boxes, bird cages, or aquariums. Choose a sturdy, well-ventilated, and easy-to-clean cage, avoiding excessively small or crowded setups to prevent restricting gerbil movement or causing oxygen deprivation. Position the cage in a quiet, warm, and shaded location to prevent excessive brightness or noise that may disturb gerbil sleep or startle them.

Bedding provides the gerbils with a nest, requiring sufficient softness for comfortable rest and an opportunity to fulfill their digging instinct. Purchase gerbil-specific bedding materials, such as wood shavings, paper shavings, or cotton, from pet stores or online. Alternatively, use readily available materials like newspaper, toilet paper, or old clothing for bedding. Provide a thick layer of bedding daily, covering the bottom of the gerbil cage to avoid thin or damp bedding that may impact gerbil warmth or hygiene. Regularly change or clean bedding to prevent mold or unpleasant odors.

Facilities contribute to gerbil entertainment, with a variety allowing gerbils to engage in diverse activities, promoting physical and mental well-being. Provide suitable facilities such as an exercise wheel, tunnels, and climbing structures. An exercise wheel is a crucial piece of equipment, enabling gerbils to run and expend energy, maintaining their health and agility. Purchase a properly sized, stable exercise wheel from pet stores or online. Alternatively, craft a wheel using materials like yogurt cups, jar lids, or frisbees. Choose a silent or low-noise wheel to avoid disturbances. Tunnels create a playground for gerbils, simulating a natural environment and offering hiding and storage spaces. Supply tunneling options such as plastic pipes, paper rolls, cloth bags, and wooden houses. Climbing structures add excitement, allowing gerbils to exercise and observe their surroundings. Introduce climbing devices like wooden ladders, rope nets, swings, and wooden bridges.

Gerbil Social Needs
Gerbils have a strong need for companionship, allowing them to share food, toys, and bedding with their mates, as well as engage in play, grooming, and cuddling. Purchase a pair or more of same-sex or opposite-sex gerbils from pet stores or online. Alternatively, breed gerbils yourself, ensuring their health and compatibility. Introduce gerbils to companionship early, preferably when they are still pups, to prevent excessive loneliness or boredom. Regularly observe gerbil interactions to prevent conflicts or bullying.

Owner Interaction:
Gerbils form a strong bond with their owners, enabling them to share emotions, stories, and secrets, as well as engage in interaction, cuddling, and affection. Spend some time each day chatting, playing, and petting your gerbils. Alternatively, allow gerbils to explore on your hands, shoulders, or lap, ensuring their safety and comfort. Build trust with gerbils early, preferably when they are still pups, to prevent fear or avoidance. Regularly reward gerbils with treats, toys, or praise to enhance their loyalty and intimacy.

Same-Sex Companions:
Gerbils show a particular preference for same-sex companions, forming deeper friendships and cooperation while avoiding reproduction and competition. Provide same-sex companions for gerbils, such as two or more male or female gerbils, or consider neutering them to ensure health and happiness. Choose gerbils with similar personalities and ages to prevent conflicts or uneven dynamics. Ensure sufficient space and resources for gerbils to prevent disputes or territorial disputes.

As a gerbil owner, ensuring the proper provision of food, toys, activities, living environment, and social needs is crucial for their well-being. Establishing a deep connection and trust with your gerbils early on will help you and your small companions enjoy the best of times together.

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