Gerbils should be raised indoors, in a house suited to their needs. Although they are capable of withstanding extreme temperatures, your home should be placed away from drafts and without direct sunlight. Try to have them in a room where you will be often to be able to observe them regularly. This will help them get used to you and you will enjoy just seeing them.
Gerbils like to hide, they will be constantly reorganizing and reforming tunnels, keeping fit during the process. The best house for a gerbil is one that offers a deep bed tray to build burrows. A shallow tray is not suitable for these animals. You can look for the best bedding for gerbils.
For the bed material you can choose between several options:
It is very cheap but little to recommend. The sawdust irritates the eyes and nose of the gerbil, so it is best to avoid it.
In general this material is very clean and does not usually cause problems to gerbils. It is best to avoid shavings with strong odors, such as cedar or shavings scented with oils, as they can cause allergic reactions and cause eye and respiratory problems to these small animals. Gerbils will tend to chew the largest pieces of chips as part of their normal activities to build the nest. They will get smaller pieces that they can use in tunnel constructions. The mixture of these fibers, obtained by the gerbils after shredding, with cardboard and paper, will help keep the chips together and therefore the tunnels they build, being safer for them.
Strips of paper and cardboard
This is a very clean option and does not carry risks of allergies or other problems, but the paper is not very attractive for gerbils. Recycled paper and cardboard are usually brown, being very unimpressive. However, if you suspect that your hamster is suffering from an allergy or other problem related to bedding, putting your pet in a paper or cardboard bed can help solve the problem.
Straw and peat
This option provides a more natural environment to your gerbils allowing them to build more complex burrows, but it has many disadvantages. It is a heavy material and it can be difficult to obtain the right consistency. If it is too dry, gerbils cannot hide and tunnels that have been built will collapse. And if it’s too wet, it can cause fungal infections (such as ringworm) and chest problems.
Various types of material are sold for small pet nests. Probably the best, be the toilet paper or tissues. Your gerbils will crush it quickly and it will look like cotton. And it costs little!
Outside your home
Your gerbils will enjoy exploring the world beyond their home. Using the Qute’s bed tray, you can safely take them to different places to explore. Pay close attention and be careful when there are other animals at home, especially if there are cats. If you let your gerbils walk around a room, make sure there are no wires that can be chewed or gaps under the door through which they can escape.
In 2001, a child was innocently playing with his gerbil when the animal suddenly disappeared through a small hole in a floorboard. Firefighters spent 13 hours to take it out, not to mention the destruction of a 400-year-old mahogany floor. If you are going to put your gerbil in a ball, you must strictly limit the amount of time your pet spends inside, about 20 minutes is enough. Gerbils are intelligent and will soon realize that they are locked up and will get bored.
The cage for 2 gerbils
The cage for 2 gerbils must be at least 1 meter long on a single floor (approximately 0.5 m2), for each extra gerbil 0.25 m2 must be added. We can accommodate them in cages, fish tanks, terrariums, etc. You can take advantage of the height to build more floors or structures that can climb. For this, it must be taken into account that the floors must allow them to stand upright on two legs and, therefore, must have a minimum height of 15 centimeters.
- The aquariums are less exposed to drafts, are easier to clean and do not allow the substrate to go out that the gerbils will spread throughout the cabin thanks to its excavator instinct.
- Single-floor cages tend to be very small and multi-storey cages often use grid floors that are authentic foot traps for any small rodent. If the cage is made of plastic or contains many toys of that material, it may seem very curious, but it will end up being totally or partially destroyed by the powerful incisors of the gerbils.
Anyway, it is very easy to buy a large cage, parrot or whatever, and reform it inside so that it becomes the home of our gerbils. Build floors, buy bird stairs or use cardboard tubes that are very strong for access to plants, etc. They even sell “kits” to make those transformations, although they are usually made of plastic.
To clean the cage it will be done with water and a little soap with an old toothbrush to handle between the bars.
The best and cheapest is to use only toilet paper. They love it and have a good time tearing it apart to accommodate it to your liking and build a good nest.
For them to be healthy, it is best that they can enjoy walks outside the cage and in controlled environments.
In order to get the gerbils to play, it must always be under our supervision and in gerbil-proof places, that is, without wires to gnaw, where they cannot destroy anything important with their teeth and of course with great care not to step on them, that they can escape or that any of our other pets find them. It can be done on bathroom floors (lowering the toilet lids, which jump a lot), on a bed, on a table not too high (putting cushions or pillows on the floor so that if they fall they don’t get hurt), etc. The balls where the rodent is introduced inside and released through the house, are quite stressful and are not recommended.