Gerbils, also known as sand rats are a popular choice to keep as pets. When compared to other animals, they’re relatively inexpensive and are easy to take care of. They are incredibly social, intelligent, and affectionate animals so it’s better to get two of them instead of one.
In terms of food diet, gerbils come in the category of omnivores however they mostly consume herbivorous foods. In the wild, gerbils generally eat whatever they can find including berries, nuts, seeds, and sometimes even insects.
On the other hand, a lot of pet parents of gerbils feed their pet the commercial gerbil pellet mixes to fulfill the daily nutrients. However, some pet owners prefer giving their friendly rodents something fresh and tasteful such as homemade salad and varieties of fruits such as strawberries, bananas, etc.
Strawberries are a tasty and juicy fruit that is generally always in season, especially in the late summer, fall, and early winter. We get them in different forms such as ice creams, jams, and many treats that we humans enjoy eating — they are more prone to be served as a refreshing treat in the summer heat. We enjoy them, as do the gerbils, so, we can safely feed it to them in lesser quantity as well.
Despite the fact that caring for a gerbil is simple, there are a few things that especially when it comes to their food that one should be careful of. In this article, you’ll get the information you need to find out if you can feed your gerbil strawberries so read on below!
What Do Gerbils Eat In The Wild?
To get a better understanding of whether your gerbil should be eating strawberries or not, we’ll first discuss the diet of these rodents in the wild. Since gerbils are omnivores, they have a wide range of food that they can consume however they do prefer having a herbivorous diet most of the time. Their food mostly consists of nuts, grass, plant roots, seeds along with insects and bird eggs.
Gerbils also are mostly found in desert areas so having access to strawberries there isn’t common hence if you want to give some fresh strawberries to your gerbil, make sure you don’t overdo it and give in small amounts only.
What Do Gerbils Eat as Pets?
Even as pets, the nature and the food requirement of the gerbil will remain the same. They need a balanced, high-quality food diet and occasional snacks. These furry creatures don’t like to chew on the same thing the whole day so make sure to mix and match.
Are Strawberries Good For Gerbils?
Like the rest of fruits and vegetables, strawberries, though not a berry, are full of nutrients that are good for your gerbil’s health. Coming to the nutritional value of strawberries, 100 grams of this fresh fruit would contain approximately:
- 32 calories.
- Water 90.95 g0.7 grams of protein.
- 4.9 grams of sugar.
- 7.7 grams of carbohydrates.
- 0.3 grams of fat.
- 2 grams of fiber.
- Vitamins: C, B9 (folate), B6, K, and E.
- Minerals: Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron, Copper.
Strawberries are high in vitamins and minerals so they contain a lot of calcium, potassium, and several other minerals. Calcium and phosphorus are essential minerals for bone growth and health. Apart from that, these minerals are required to keep your pet rodent’s brain in great shape, as gerbils can suffer from convulsions that can result in it dying.
Additionally, strawberries are full of vitamins as well, especially vitamin C. These vitamins help to boost your gerbils’ immune system along with making their nails, teeth, hair strong. Strawberries also contain antioxidants such as thiamine that is known for their ability to combat terminal diseases such as cancer plus age-related diseases such as blindness and diabetes.
So, strawberries not only taste good but help boost up your pet gerbils’ health as well. That being said, don’t forget that strawberries are beneficial only if they are fed in a certain limited amount.
Safe Amount of Strawberries Your Gerbil Can Eat
Gerbils are native to dry, dusty environments. They have evolved through the years to be able to survive for extended durations with minimal intake of water. They only require a small quantity to survive. Nevertheless, this does not imply that gerbils can live entirely without water.
Looking at the nutritional values, you’ll realize that the major component of strawberries is water. This should tell you that a small amount of strawberry will benefit your tiny creature. But, if given in larger quantities, there’s a high possibility for your furball to develop multiple types of stomach and gastrointestinal conditions including bloating, acidity, diarrhea, indigestion, etc.
A gerbil’s body isn’t equipped to manage excessive amounts of anything, this includes water. Another drawback is that strawberries also contain high sugar content so the combined effect of high water and sugar content can end up being detrimental for your pet.
So, it’s essential to control how many strawberries you’re feeding your pet gerbil, it should never be given as a meal nor is it advised to give it as an everyday treat. Strawberries are a delicious snack, but they should be limited to that so the safest way to give it in terms of amount and frequency would be to give approximately half a teaspoon of small chopped-up pieces every two to three weeks.
By including a strawberry portion in your gerbil’s weekly treat cycle, you offer dietary variety and make mealtimes more enjoyable and appealing for your pet.
Different Ways You Can Give Your Gerbil Strawberries
You don’t have to give your gerbil the leftover bit of your eaten strawberry. Listed down below are different ways you can feed your friendly pet this delicious treat:
- Dehydrated strawberries
This makes a tasty treat for your furball however when feeding strawberries in a dehydrated form it’s important to remember that by removing the water, the other nutritional content increases, including the sugars so make sure to give portions accordingly.
- Fresh Strawberries
By far, fresh strawberries are the most common type of strawberries that people get to give to their gerbils. You can get fresh strawberries from anywhere such as organic markets, farms, or even your own backyard if you’re growing them. If it is small enough, you can give the whole strawberry to your gerbil otherwise you can cut it down into slices.
- Dried strawberries
These kinds of strawberries have less water content than even the dehydrated ones. This means that it becomes condensed and each bite will have a concentrated amount of sugar and other contents strawberry contain. So, make sure to be very cautious when giving dried strawberries to your gerbil.
- Wild strawberries
Wild strawberries do not contain as much sugar and are a perfect size as well. This would make an absolutely perfect treat for your friendly rodent, just remember to wash the dirt off before giving it to them for a snack.
- Frozen strawberries
Nutritionally speaking, frozen strawberries are the same as the regular ones. Gerbils don’t really eat food that cold plus they enjoy the crunch that the fresh strawberries come with, frozen strawberries, on the other hand, get super mushy when they’re melted. It’s still important that if you’ve got frozen strawberries, take them out so that they can be room temperature and then feed it to your gerbil.
Taking into account what is best for the health of your pet, fresh strawberries would be the perfect choice out of all the rest for your gerbil to consume. However, this doesn’t mean you cannot give other types including frozen, dehydrated, wild, and dried strawberries as they aren’t harmful either as long as it’s given in small amounts.
Can You Give Your Gerbil Strawberry Jam?
The answer to this question is definitely no. This is because strawberry jam is technically preserved, meaning it will contain an extra amount of sugar along with lemon juice or pectin. All of this is very unhealthy for your gerbil hence why you should refrain from giving strawberry jam to them.
Can You Give Your Gerbil Canned Strawberries?
There are huge amounts of preservatives and additives added to canned items. So, giving canned strawberries to your small friend wouldn’t be a wise decision as it can be toxic and dangerous to them. Now you know what not to search and get when getting treats for your pet gerbil.
What Parts of The Strawberries Can Gerbils Eat?
Like any other fruit, the strawberry plant has multiple parts out of which some are edible while the others are not although no part of strawberry is toxic for your gerbil. In the wild, gerbils are known to consume the roots, leaves, seeds of plants so you may be wondering if it’s safe to give those parts to your pet gerbil as well. Scroll on to see what parts of strawberries your gerbil can have.
- Strawberry Leaves
Gerbils typically do feed on leaves in the wild as it’s a good source for getting fiber in their tiny body. In supermarkets, you won’t find strawberries with leaves because they’re removed beforehand. But, if you come across ones that contain the leaves don’t hesitate to give them to your gerbil as they’re non-toxic, fiber-filled, and would be easy to digest as well.
- Strawberry Stalks
The stalk on top of the strawberry is totally safe for your furry pal to consume so don’t know need to remove it before serving it.
- Strawberry Seeds
The seeds are present around the outside of the strawberry. An interesting fact regarding the seed is that strawberries do not turn red without the seeds on the outside! In any case, these seeds are completely safe for the consumption of both, you and your pet gerbil.
- Strawberry Canes
Strawberry canes don’t contain many nutrients hence would be of no use giving to your gerbil so If you skip out on that, it won’t make any difference.
Do Gerbils Like Strawberries?
Although, gerbils cannot handle food with high water content well, strawberries in limited amounts are something that they would definitely love to have. Gerbils love the food they’re able to gnaw on, strawberries are juicy and crunchy making them a perfect snack for them to consume.
Side Effects Of Having Strawberries In Large Quantity
When gerbils eat strawberries in amounts more than necessary that leads to their stomach upset as it’s not made to handle large quantities of water and etc. If your gerbil accidentally consumed a large strawberry or it’s their habit to eat it every day then watch out for signs of a disturbed stomach.
Excess strawberries can cause these little creatures to have diarrhea, bloating, gas, indigestion, and a lot more so if you notice your gerbil suffering from any of the mentioned symptoms, go to a vet right away and get it checked out!
What Other Foods Can Gerbils Eat?
There are plenty of other fruits and vegetables you can give your fur buddy as treats, including, bananas, apples(without seed), carrots, lettuce, celery, and much more!
What Food Is Unhealthy For Gerbils?
Apart from foods that contain preservatives, nuts that are salted or flavored can be very toxic for these little animals so make sure to avoid them at all costs.
Gerbils are cute creatures who eat almost any kind of fruit and vegetables including strawberries. Strawberries are popular fruits that humans and gerbils both equally enjoy especially in the summer. They have a lot of essential nutrients in addition to being absolutely mouth-watering and tasty.
So, can strawberries be eaten by gerbils? Strawberries are undoubtedly edible for gerbils. They are not only non-toxic and delightful for your furry companion, but they also provide a variety of nutritional benefits.
However, don’t forget that even though you’re allowed to give your gerbil strawberries as snacks, you cannot give them in great amounts or as a proper meal as that would be unhealthy for them because of the high sugar and water content.
After taking the quantity into account, go ahead and get those fresh strawberries for your furry friend to enjoy.