Gerbils are great escape artists, and you’ll be amazed at how swiftly they can dash about, and even more amazed at their ability to squeeze through a tiny gap. So, if you have a good space for them to play in outside of their enclosure, you'll need to make it properly gerbil-proof, and ensure that there are no hazards in the space.
Gerbils like to explore outside their enclosure, but you'll need to keep a close eye on them
- Choose a suitable room - It’s hard to create a space that’s not only safe but difficult for your gerbils to escape from. Try to work with the natural barriers in your house - external walls, for example, rather than a room with lots of doors and possible escape routes. If there are doors, make sure they won't be opened in mid session, allowing the gerbils to make a run for it; or build a wall that creates an enclosure within the room (this is the best option, if you manage it).
- Cover any gaps under doors, in floorboards or in skirting boards, and make sure all the windows are closed.
- Remove house plants - Gerbils can suffer digestive problems if they nibble a plant that’s not good for them. They are great jumpers, so plants can't just be lifted off the ground: an intrepid gerbil will make it his business to hop and scramble up to eat them!
- Provide food and water in the room or room enclosure.
- Provide some shelter within the space - the gerbils will want somewhere to dive for cover if they feel anxious. Provide a little sheltered space so that they have somewhere to hide if they feel the need.
- Remove all other pets - they may just be inquisitive, or may just want to play, but pets such as cats and dogs have certain food-based instincts when it comes to little rodents like your pet gerbil. Unintentional biting or pawing of the gerbils can be just as fatal as the intentional kind. At the very least, the presence of the other anial will cause the gerbils a lot of stress. So, create your freerange gerbil space in an area your other pets can’t access.