Gerbils are normally very social animals. They live in groups, and it is never wise to own a single gerbil. Based on Scientific studies, gerbils remain healthier and live longer when they are not alone.
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Gerbils are very small, they are cute and they can be very entertaining. Gerbils, however, do need to be handled with care. This is part of what makes them one of the most popular pets in the world today.
Choosing a Gerbil
Gerbils can be in a variety of colours. It can be difficult to tell them apart from male to female. Hopefully, you have a salesperson that knows how to tell the difference. There are certain ways to be confident as far as choosing a healthy gerbil.
Check the nose and the mouth to see if there is any dripping. The eyes and nose should have no dripping or water. If the gerbil is sitting all alone in a corner, there is likely something wrong with him.
The anus should be dry, and the gerbil should not be sneezing. If possible you would also want to check the insides of the mouth. Check to see if the teeth are overgrown, or broken and are sure the gums are bright pink. This is a sign of being healthy.
The sex of each gerbil is highly important as if you do not get two of the same sex, you will likely have a batch of infant gerbils in about 24 to 26 days. It is not uncommon to have two litters in quick succession.
A gerbil would be a great pet for those who do not have a desire to hold their pet often. The gerbil does love to squeak and squawk as though it is speaking. Carrying on a conversation may keep the gerbil happy.
A gerbil is easy to care for and does not have the same strong odour as their other species mates, such as mice, hamsters or rats.
The gerbil will make a good pet, as long as the owner does remember that a gerbil is still a rodent. As a rodent, the gerbil may still bite once in a while. Although, most of the time a gerbil will bite when it is afraid or in pain.
Your gerbil may seem shy at the beginning, however, they do loosen up and know who you are in a short amount of time. The gerbil is also an affectionate creature. This also involves spending time to get to know your pet, this will almost guarantee that your gerbil is not likely to bite you. It only takes a little time to create that bond each day.
If you treat your gerbil with kindness and love, they will respond accordingly. The gerbil will learn to trust you and bond with you. When you treat the gerbil unkind, you will not form a bond with him or her. They will not trust you and will continue to avoid coming near you.
Holding Your Gerbil
A gerbil is actually a delicate creature. If the gerbil is the first pet for a child, there should always be adult supervision when the child wants to hold his or her gerbil. If a gerbil is taken out of the cage, it should not be left around any other animals. Larger animals are predators of the tiny little gerbil.
The child should never be allowed to pull the tailor and carry it by the tail. Holding a gerbil by the tail can cause serious injury to the gerbil.
Preparing for Your Gerbil
Adopting or purchasing a gerbil is not only going to the pet store and picking one out, there is much more to be ready to bring a furry little friend home. There are items that you should have on hand and ready before you even bring the Gerbil home.
The biggest deal is to have a cage or habitat for your gerbil. You need a cage that will not allow the gerbil to slide through the bars, look for one with square mesh walls. For many gerbils, they are happiest living in an aquarium. A 20-gallon aquarium is a perfect size.
You will also need the filling for the bottom of the cage. In general, it is most often suggested that you pick up some aspen wood shavings for the bedding. The pinewood or even cedar shavings can be harmful to your gerbil. Aspen is the softest and safest one to use.
Feed dishes can be simple little plastic or metal dishes. They do not need to be too big, but you also do not want them too small.
They will also need a water bottle. These can be found at the pet store near the dishes. They have hooks that will allow you to hand it from the bars or from the top of the aquarium top. The water bottle has a bead in it that the gerbil will learn to push up so that he is able to get a shrink of water.
All gerbils and hamsters love to run on exercise wheels. They can actually spend hours doing so. You will want one that can be placed in the cage and is stable enough that it will not fall over when the gerbil runs in it.
Toys are a little touchy when it comes to gerbils. Since rodents like to chew and gnaw on things, it is not wise to put any plastic toys in the cage or aquarium. All-natural wood toys or cardboard toys and tubes are the best choices.
The gerbil will gnaw and chew on the cardboard, but this is not a dangerous aspect. They will likely use the chewed pieces to take them to where they are making their bed. The bed will use wood shavings, but the gerbil also likes to have softer materials.
Your gerbil is going to need high-quality gerbil food. Good food will include nuts, seeds, grain, fruits and legumes. Gerbils will normally get the majority of their water intake from eating fruits and vegetables, however, always keep a fresh supply of water available.
A gerbil does not stick to a routine when it comes to sleeping. They may sleep all day and be up all night, as is common for nocturnal creatures. They may only sleep for an hour or two during the day and then be up and play or visit for a time before sleeping again.
The gerbil will need the cage cleaned at least one time a week. This means completely washing the dishes, washing the tank or cage bottom and also the wheel. Once the cage is dry, then you can place fresh Aspen wood shavings in and replace the cardboard toys, refill the dish with food and the water bottle with fresh water. The water does need to be changed and filled at least once or twice a day.
The gerbil may seem safe and healthy, however, even a gerbil needs to be taken in for routine visits with a veterinarian that knows about gerbils. Your gerbil does not require vaccinations like most other pets, but they still should be taken to the veterinarian for routine checkups. The veterinarian will run a faecal test to check for parasites.
Many times you are required to have the veterinarian seen within 48 hours of purchase. This is required by many sellers and breeders or they can void the guarantee of health. At this first visit, you would be able to ask the veterinarian any questions you may have and discuss with him or her all things gerbil.
It is actually considered easy to train and tame a gerbil. They live in huge colonies in the wild, so they are sociable, inquisitive and considered friendly. Taming and training will involve offering a treat through the cage bars, or from the top. Once the gerbil has become used to receiving treats in this manner, then start by opening the door and offering a treat. The step after that will be to leave the treat in your hand and see if the gerbil will come to sit in your hand.
When the gerbil is accustomed to you, it will sit in your cupped hands and some will allow you to gently rub the head or neck area. Be sure to never touch the tail area. A gerbil’s tail is extremely sensitive and should never be touched, played with or pulled.
Owning a gerbil can be both challenging and entertaining. If you spend the time with the gerbil he or she will grow accustomed to spending time and getting that bond built. They are super friendly, cute and active. They are super fast so they must be watched by an adult when a child is near the cage.
When you care for your gerbil faithfully, kindly keep the cage clean, keep the gerbil well-fed, offer it water that is fresh, and spend the time together, a gerbil may be the best pet you have ever considered.