Gerbils are one of the most adorable and friendly pets out there. They don’t take up much room and are always ready to play.
So, if you’re considering adoption, you’ve come to the right place. In this Mongolian gerbil care guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about these pets.
Let’s dive into what taking care of a gerbil entails.
As we all know, gerbils are tiny, furry creatures that make excellent house pets. The species is native to Africa and Asia and can thrive in many environments.
Some of the habitat options for gerbils are mountain valleys and bush country.
There are a few different species of gerbils, but the Mongolian variety is the most common. That’s because they’re easy to take care of, friendly, and can survive in enclosed spaces.
In addition, these critters tend to be incredibly intelligent. They can burrow holes that are miles long without getting lost.
On top of that, they enjoy learning new tricks and playing with toys.
Now that we covered the basics of a gerbil, we can dive into its traits. Let’s take a look at what the furball looks like, and how it behaves.
At first glance, gerbils look like a close relative of the common rat. They have long, protruding noses, extended hind legs, and lengthy tails.
However, there are quite a few differences between the two rodents.
For starters, gerbils tend to be much fluffier. They have longer coats that cover the entirety of their bodies, including the tails.
In addition, their fur comes in a wide variety of shades. These include white, gray, golden, and black.
Other than that, gerbils are a bit smaller. A fully mature jumping mouse will reach about four inches in length.
Add to that their four-inch tails, and their overall size is around eight inches.
As we mentioned before, gerbils are one of the friendliest house pets you can raise. They like being around a lot of people and have tons of energy.
To add to that, these critters can pattern their daily cycle after their owners. For instance, if you’re at your most active during the day, then so will your furball.
Besides that, these animals exhibit many other interesting behavioral habits.
To help you understand that, let’s take a look at how gerbils communicate.
Typically, when these rodents want a human’s attention, they’ll start squeaking. This vocalization allows them to express themselves easily.
Other than that, gerbils will drum their feet to make noise and tell you they’re ready to play.
Although, they won’t exhibit these behaviors to communicate with one another. Instead, gerbils rely on scent cues to keep track of their families and friends.
Speaking of family, these critters prefer living out their lives in small groups. Each member of the colony will have a role and they work together to keep their environment safe.
Since gerbils are tiny, you may think they don’t need much room. However, that isn’t always the case.
Typically, gerbils will do well in large cages, but these spaces need to meet a few requirements.
For starters, they shouldn’t be plastic, because rodents can chew right through them. Instead, a glass aquarium with wire mesh tops should do the trick.
Other than that, the tank should also have plenty of room for the substrate. This is the bedding material that gerbils like to burrow through.
Ideally, you want a 20-gallon container, with a minimum height of around 18 inches.
Gerbils are omnivores, which means they can eat plant and animal by-products.
On average, a balanced diet will consist of about 18 to 20% protein. Seeds and other vegetables will make up the rest of their meals.
Luckily, there are plenty of pre-packaged rodent blocks that can make your life easier. These will contain everything your pet needs to stay healthy.
To keep your gerbil in tip-top shape, give them a single teaspoon of pellets a day. Anything more than that can cause your pet to gain weight, which will have negative side effects.
Gerbils’ main form of exercise is burrowing. They’ll spend their days digging through the bedding and creating networks underground.
However, the critters can also benefit from a bit of variety.
Adding elements like an exercise wheel or a climbing trail will keep your pet engaged for longer. This will lead to increased mental stimulation, which makes for a happier gerbil.
To ensure your pet stays healthy for as long as possible, allow them about one hour of exercise per day.
Because gerbils are incredibly intelligent, training them is a breeze. You can use a combination of voice commands and hand gestures to teach your furball a few tricks.
For instance, a simple one is that many gerbil owners train their pets to respond to their names. As soon as you call out for them, they’ll come running.
Other than that, the tricks can be a little more complex, like navigating a large maze.
For the best results, make sure you give your gerbil a lot of time to pick up the new skills. In addition, be ready to give them plenty of treats once they have a trick down.
The little furballs enjoy snacking on sunflower seeds or dried raisins.
Health and Vet Care
Gerbils tend to lead pretty healthy lives with the proper diet and exercise. However, there are a few medical conditions that can affect the critters.
- Hair loss
- Difficulty breathing
- Discharge from the nose and eyes
Each one of these conditions can have a few different causes. So, be sure to visit the vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms.
If you’re figuring out Mongolian gerbil care, there are a few factors you should consider. For starters, these animals are friendly, and incredibly low maintenance.
Other than that, they don’t require much space and have limited dietary needs.
Plus, since gerbils are intelligent, these critters are excellent at learning new tricks.