Yes, gerbils are rodents, the same as other pets such as mice and rats. The Rodents (Order Rodentia, scientifically speaking) are the largest group of mammals in the animal kingdom, with several hundred species. They range from tiny hamsters like the Roborovski, to the huge Capybara. The gerbils are in the rodent family Muridae, which includes mice and rats, but are classed in their own subfamily, the Gerbillinae.
Gerbils are rodents, and proud of it!
So, the commonest of the gerbils, the Mongolian, breaks down like this:
- Kingdom - Animals
- Phylum - Chordates (animals with backbones)
- Class - Mammalia
- Order - Rodentiae (rodents)
- Family - Muridae (i.e. the mouse family)
- Sub-family - Gerbillinae (including all gerbils)
- Genus - Meriones
- Species - unguiculatus
Rodents have a long history of cohabiting with humans, drawn irresistibly to our methods of producing and storing - and disposing of - food. Having given them this perfect environment, we then condemn them as pests. We also have a long history of keeping rodents as pets, where many, sadly, are subjected to neglect.
One of the main aims of this Guide is to help owners give these little animals the best lives possible, by seeking help and advice when needed, and becoming gerbil experts in the process.