Gerbils are tiny animals that belong to the family of rodents. They were also called desert rats once. Many people keep them as pets because of their low attention needs and small size. You may also have this animal to fulfill your furry companion requirements.
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As a pet owner, you may have wondered about can gerbils get wet or do they like water. Luckily, you no longer have to ponder about it anymore. This post will clear all your queries about gerbils and their affinity for water.
Can Gerbils Get Wet?
Typically, gerbils can get wet if you put them in the water at a pond or your private pool. However, the question is whether you should let your pet in the water. Gerbils are not supposed to enter the water, so you must avoid forcing your animal to become wet.
If the animal goes into the water accidentally, it can suffer harsh consequences. These include medical issues such as hypothermia. Besides that, the pet may also suffer from behavioral problems if you force it to enter the water with you.
Why Shouldn’t Gerbils Get Wet?
Many factors affect the ability of gerbils to get wet, so you must understand them. That is why here are the top things you should be aware of:
High Sensitivity To Water
Gerbils are highly sensitive to water because they belong to the rodent family and are small in size. Because of this, they have less insulation and cannot withstand the temperature of external water bodies. So your pet may easily catch a cold because of getting wet.
Besides that, most gerbils suffer from hypothermia after entering a pool, lake, or another water body. This can cause your pet to die because of the low temperature. It can also lead to other health issues, and the animal may stay sick for a while before recovering.
They Cannot Swim Well
Two factors affect the swimming ability of your little pet. Firstly, the animal is not adapted to getting into the water. This is because of the health conditions the gerbil can suffer from. It can get hypothermic quickly and does not like to go into the water.
Typically, gerbils prefer semi-arid habitats and don’t prefer to enter external water bodies. The second factor is the structure of the pet. These animals have short legs, which don’t allow them to swim well. Meanwhile, the small size makes the gerbil an easy prey for different predators.
Multiple Health Issues
You must remember that gerbils become stressed when forced to enter a water body. This is why their body processes are disrupted, and the animal may suffer from multiple health and behavioral issues. For instance, your pet may become a bit aggressive towards you.
Sometimes, the animal may also avoid eating because of the stress and suffer from digestive issues. You should not force your pet to enter large water bodies. It is also recommended to avoid giving water baths to your little companion.
Risk Of Drowning
The risk of drowning becomes significantly high due to the small size of the animal. Your pet will have short legs, which does not allow it to swim well. So if the gerbil enters a deep water body, it is most likely to drown. If the pet survives, it will still suffer from various health issues.
Besides that, gerbils can also drown in shallow pools if you don’t pay attention. Typically, the pet avoids going into the water, but it may be forced to enter the pool or accidentally jump into it. You should take out the animal from the water before it drowns to death in such a case.
Can Gerbils Swim?
A gerbil can swim because it can withstand harsh conditions due to its instincts. However, remember that this pet does not go into the water unless forced by the circumstances. For instance, a gerbil may attempt to cross a water body to escape when chased by a predator.
However, teaching your pet to swim is considered cruel by experts and other pet owners. You may find the lesson videos on the internet, but you must avoid forcing a gerbil to enter the water. The animals don’t love this and will become stressed because of you.
How Do Gerbils Bathe?
You may wonder how gerbils bathe if they don’t like to enter the water. Well, the answer is straightforward. These tiny rodents use sand for cleaning themselves off oil, dirt, and other contaminants. They rub themselves against the coarse surface for bathing.
If you notice a natural habitat of a gerbil, you’ll see that this animal lives in semi-arid areas with sand bodies nearby. The rodent rolls around in tiny pits of sand to clean its fur. Interestingly, this method is highly effective and allows the gerbil to stay clean and not overheat.
Once the pet completes the sand bath, it will shake off the dust from the body. You may relate this to how a dog removes excess water after taking a bath. Providing access to new sand baths to your pet will allow it to stay healthier.
Can Gerbils Withstand Water Baths?
Gerbils don’t have high insulation and quickly get cold if you bathe them with hot or cold water. This is why animal experts and vets will tell you to avoid using this cleaning method. Instead, a sand bath is the best option to keep your gerbil safe from contaminants.
However, you are recommended to use a water bath for your gerbil in specific cases. Typically, you should use minimal liquid to wash your pet during an infection. Besides that, a water bath is also suitable to get rid of parasites such as lice on your pet’s fur.
So the short answer is that gerbils can withstand water baths if you keep the liquid quantity minimal. Besides that, you should not perform this action unless recommended by the vet during infection or the appearance of parasites.
How to Provide a Sand Bath to a Gerbil?
As a gerbil owner, you may not know how to set up a sand or dust bath. So here are the steps you can follow:
Buy A Small Container
A gerbil loves to roll around in the sand to take a bath and get rid of dirt. You must provide the pet with enough space to do this without creating a mess in your home. So a tiny plastic container will help you provide your gerbil with a sand bath.
Typically, you should opt for something that allows your little pet to roll easily. The container should also be able to keep the sand inside when the animal is moving. You must also ensure that the pet does not fall out of the bath.
Most pet owners use dog bowls for the sand bath because of the optimal size and space. You can also use storage containers to provide an enclosed space for your pet for cleaning. Some stores also have specific tools made to serve as a sand bath.
Get The Sand
Now that you have the container, you must get sand for it. However, remember that you should avoid getting the dust from parks or other external locations. This is because they have more contaminants, and your pet may get sick if the sand contains parasites.
The best option to get the sand is by visiting a pet store. Many shops have clean dust to help you bathe your gerbil. You can also purchase the sand from online platforms. It is readily available at a reasonable rate in most stores.
Once you have the container and sand, you can let your pet enter the space for a bath. The only thing to remember is to replace the sand from time to time to avoid contamination. You should also change it if the dust becomes dirty.
Keeping a Sand Bath Clean
Here are some steps you should take to keep the sand bath clean for your gerbil:
Disinfect The Container
A primary thing to remember is to clean the sand bath regularly to keep your gerbil healthy. You can do this by removing the sand from the container and keeping it in a different jar. After that, you should use warm water and disinfectant soap to clean the container.
When cleaning it, you should also use a sponge or toothbrush to scrub the sand bath. After that, you must let the container dry through the air. A lint-free towel is also suitable for drying the item promptly.
Use A Mesh-Strainer
Whenever you add fresh sand to the container for the bath, you must use a mesh strainer. This will remove large contaminants such as clumped-up dirt from the sand. So you can easily offer a clean bath to your pet.
Besides that, you should also sift the sand before putting it into the container. This will allow you to remove small particles such as stones, if any are present.
This is everything you need to know about can gerbils get wet. These animals can get wet, but you must avoid this. The small rodents don’t like to enter the water, and their bodies cannot withstand the condition. If you want to clean your pet, you should use a sand bath instead of water.