Pets come in all types, and lately, pet gerbils have been quite popular.
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However, when it comes to a pet, it is integral to understand the dietary requirements and dietary restrictions that your pet should follow in order to live a happy and healthy life.
A gerbil’s diet consists of several different types of items that can either be raw, processed, or dry. So, contrary to popular beliefs, a gerbil can eat much more than fruits and vegetables. You should be focusing on providing your gerbil with a gerbil food mix to ensure that its dietary requirements are met. However, if you would like to incorporate carrots into your gerbil’s diet, then keep on reading.
Can Gerbils Eat Carrots?
A carrot is a raw form of food that a gerbil can most definitely eat. In fact, gerbils are known to quite like eating fresh carrots for their nutrition and crunch. Apart from the carrot, a gerbil is also able to eat and digest carrot tops, which actually make for quite a good snack. There are several health benefits that the carrot will provide to your gerbil, which we will explore further later on.
You can feed this root vegetable, that is, the carrot, once or twice to your gerbil in a single week. In fact, in the wild, gerbils are known to indulge in snacking on items that are quite similar to carrots and other types of root vegetables.
So, there is no negative consequence of feeding a carrot to your gerbil on an occasional basis. It is preferred that you give your gerbil raw carrots to snack on over cooked or boiled carrots. In fact, your gerbil will quite like the crunch that the raw carrot provides it.
Can Gerbils Eat Carrot Tops?
Carrot tops have a different texture, whereas this part of the root vegetable is much stringier as well as tough. The carrot top will taste differently than the carrot would. Many believe that carrot tops can be dangerous and poisonous due to their alkaloid content, which also contributes to their bitter taste.
However, this is not the case. Carrot tops, just like the carrot, are known to have no downsides and are perfectly safe for your gerbil to consume.
Your gerbil can even eat raw carrot tops just as it can eat raw carrots. So, if you would like to cut back, you can feed raw carrot tops to your gerbil. In fact, just like the raw carrot, your gerbil could actually enjoy munching on raw carrot tops.
Carrot tops are known to be a good source of calcium, iron, fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. While Vitamin C is not known to provide any health benefits to gerbils, the other nutrients are quite useful.
Why Do Gerbils Enjoy Eating Carrots?
Just like any other rodent such as hamsters, a gerbil will tend to eat anything and everything that you try to feed it. Of course, since gerbils are able to perceive taste, there are various types of foods that gerbils do prefer to eat. These foods, such as carrots, have certain characteristics in common, which is why gerbils enjoy eating them.
Being able to gnaw on food is something that gerbils quite like. This is why gerbils tend to go for foods that require chewing and are crunchy when in the wild. This characteristic can be found within carrots, which is why a gerbil likes to gnaw and chew on carrots.
In the wild, gerbils do not have access to food that is cooked. Since gerbils are not used to eating cooked food, when held in captivity, they prefer raw food rather than cooked food. In fact, cooking is known to change the composition of the ingredients in terms of their nutritional value, which is why cooked foods tend to be less healthy.
A carrot that is raw is able to retain its crunch factor and original taste, which is also why gerbils prefer raw carrots. With the added benefit of a higher nutritional value, anytime you feed a carrot to your gerbil, it should be raw.
We, humans, have developed several different processes in the food industry to create a variety in terms of texture and taste. However, while a variety in taste and texture is something that we prefer, gerbils are not the same.
However, that is not all; from a health standpoint, while processed foods can be digested by gerbils, they should not be a part of their diets as processed food can cause negative effects on a gerbil’s health. Gerbils are also known to prefer unprocessed foods rather than processed foods.
Are Vegetables Healthy For A Gerbil?
The general population tends to think of vegetables and fruits such as strawberries as incredibly healthy food items, and in some way, they’re correct. But, of course, each variety of vegetables has a different nutritional value, which is why nutritionists encourage the inclusion of different types of vegetables in your daily diet.
This is the case with animals as well, which includes rodents like gerbils. Each vegetable will provide a different level of value to your gerbil from a nutritional standpoint. However, the difference comes in when talking about specific vitamins that are required by animals, such as gerbils.
The perfect example is Vitamin C. For humans, Vitamin C is incredibly important, where if you lack it, you could develop several health issues, such as scurvy.
However, when it comes to gerbils, Vitamin C provides no health benefits, which is why we can deduce that there are some vitamins that are more important for gerbils than others. This leads us to the fact that not every vegetable will provide health benefits to your gerbil.
Are Carrots Healthy For Gerbils?
Carrots are one of the root vegetables that are known to be healthy for gerbils, whether in the wild or in captivity. This is due to the fact that they contain calcium, iron, fiber, and vitamin A content. Apart from the nutritional perspective, raw carrots are known to be quite useful when maintaining a gerbil’s teeth.
Like all rodents, gerbils have teeth that grow perpetually, which is why it is important for gerbils to grind their teeth to prevent them from overgrowing.
To prevent the overgrowth of their teeth, you may have spotted gerbils chewing and gnawing on wood. Crunchy food, such as carrots, can act as an alternative to wood when a gerbil is held in captivity and does not have access to wood.
Calories For Gerbils
Vegetables, in general, do not contain a whole lot of calories, and this goes the same for carrots. About 3.5 ounces or a hundred grams of carrots are known to only contain 41 calories. This is quite less for humans but gerbils too. So, you can feed carrots to your gerbil quite abundantly, and it still won’t become overweight.
This means that carrots are not just a great snack but can also make for a great occasional meal. When considering a diet for your pet, it is more important to consider the nutritional value of the meal rather than calories. When it comes to gerbils, calories within their food tend to be a menial detail to focus on as the foods they tend to eat are naturally low in calories.
In fact, it is better to feed your gerbil with foods that are low in calories, such as carrots, since food items that are high fat diets and calories like sunflower seeds can also cause health issues.
Carrots are great in nutritional value and have only 41 calories in a hundred grams, both of which are great for gerbils. So, how exactly do carrots have such a small quantity of calories? Well, most of what makes up the composition of carrots is known to be water. Apart from that, carrot tops are known to have a high fiber content, which is both indigestible and digestible.
So, some components within the carrot top will pass through your gerbil’s stomach without being digested. Of course, even though the calorie count of carrots for your gerbil is quite an attractive point, it is but a menial point to consider. The more important point to consider is the nutritional value. So, it is better to feed carrots to your gerbil as a snack rather than make it the center point of its diet.
Protein and Fat Content In Carrots
To understand how and why it is perfectly fine for your gerbil to feast on carrots, it is important to understand the nutritional value of carrots for gerbils. Carrots are known to contain a small number of proteins and an even smaller quantity of fat, which is both a pro and a con. It is a good thing as gerbils, in the wild, tend to eat food that has a low content of both fats and proteins.
This is because of the fact that over the years, gerbils have developed abilities of both storing as well as burning fat within their bodies at an incredibly efficient level. So, they naturally do not require much of it in their daily diets, which works perfectly well when talking about carrots as a part of a gerbil’s diet.
Of course, just like us humans, it is important for animals, such as the gerbil, to eat a balanced diet, so solely eating carrots isn’t a good option either. The role of fats in a gerbil’s diet is much like the role of proteins. A good way to supplement proteins into a gerbil’s diet is through insects.
Minerals and Vitamins in Carrots
Carrots provide a good amount of nutritional value mainly through their Vitamin K and Vitamin A content. In fact, carrot is known to contain a higher quantity of Vitamin A than other types of vegetables. Apart from Vitamin A, Vitamin K is quite beneficial as well as contributes to good sight. Apart from this, carrots do not compose of many other minerals and vitamins.
The other types of minerals and vitamins it does contain are in small doses, such as B vitamins, manganese, and magnesium. Magnesium is one such component that is quite important for gerbils as it is known to not only promote their brain’s health but also help in preventing strokes, which is a risk they face within the first six months of their lifespan.
Is It Necessary To Feed Carrots To A Gerbil?
There is no aspect within the dietary requirements of gerbils that would indicate that it is necessary for carrots to be a part of their daily diet. Of course, carrots are beneficial to your gerbil in more ways than one; however, all of the nutritional value provided by carrots can be found in products made specifically for gerbil diets, such as their food mix.
A good example of this is Vitamin A. While carrots are known to have a good quantity of Vitamin A and are particularly helpful at promoting liver function, they can be found in other foods, such as whole grains and legumes. Apart from that, carrots are known to provide a good amount of water content. However, that too can be easily replaced by water placed inside your gerbil’s cage. Let your gerbils out of the cage from time to time.
So, while it is great for a gerbil to eat carrots, it isn’t necessary. So, if you would like to feed carrots to your gerbil, do so occasionally. Carrots should not become an integral or major part of your gerbil’s diet. It should be considered as a snack more so than a meal.
It is a good idea to feed carrots to your gerbil as a snack, once every week. However, you should always bring various types of snacks for your gerbil, this way, it will be able to enjoy the crunch and taste of a raw carrot much more. Apart from that, the best food to feed your gerbil with is the food mix that has been created for gerbils specifically as it contains everything a gerbil would require.