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How To Find A Lost Gerbil

If one of your gerbils escapes, don’t panic!

The first thing to do is to temporarily remove any other free-range pets from your house. This means putting any dogs and cats in the garden, asking a friend to take them in, or (for the first few minutes at least) putting them in their crate or carry cage. If one of your other pets comes across your gerbil it could end badly, so it’s best to remove them.

If the search is taking longer than you expected, it might be worth thoroughly checking one particular room of your house. Once you’re absolutely sure that this room isn’t where your gerbil is hiding (check under chairs, sofas, cabinets, behind cushions and wardrobes), then you can let your larger pets out in this room.

capture gerbil
Wanted! Lost Gerbil... But don't panic: they usually reappear

  • Make sure your other gerbils cannot escape.
  • If one of your group has managed to get out, chances are its friends could, too. Have a really good look at the enclosure to identify where your gerbil wriggled to freedom. Could it be that the bars of the cage are spaced too far apart?

  • Check the cage
  • Are you absolutely sure that your gerbil is missing? Is it not just buried in a corner of the enclosure? Try feeding your pets a treat and see if it comes rocketing to the surface.

  • Try the bucket trap
  • This is a tried and tested method, used by owners of a number of different pet rodents.

    • This trap relies on using food and a bucket in order to trap your pet. The bucket needs to be large enough so that your pet can’t clamber out of it very easily, but it mustn’t be so large that your pet will hurt itself when it falls in. Nine or ten inches deep is ideal.

    • Pad the bottom of the bucket trap with lots of bedding, so that when your pet falls in it won’t get hurt. Don’t add in too much, though, otherwise your pet may be able to use it to crawl out. You’ll also want to put some food down there in case it gets hungry. Next put a bit of thin tissue paper over the top of the bucket to create a kind of false floor. Put something your gerbil loves to eat on top of this tissue paper.

    • Now you’ll need to build some steps so that your gerbil can reach the lid of the bucket. Books are a great option. Put them on their side and one on top of another to build steps. Make sure to put larger ones underneath smaller ones so that it’s nice and stable.

    • Check the bucket trap several times a day to see if you’ve caught your gerbil. It might be a good idea to lay several of these traps throughout your house to maximise the chances of you catching your pet.

    bucket trap
    Bucket traps can be really useful tools for catching escaped gerbils

  • Lay out a treat trap
  • If the bucket trap hasn’t worked, then you might need to some treat trapping. This is a little more tricky, because you need to be on hand to catch your gerbil when it falls for the trap. Treat traps involve putting treats in tinfoil, so that you can hear when your pet is investigating the treats. It’s best to have a light tea towel so that when you spot your pet you can gently throw this over it to catch it.

  • Search the house
  • If none of the above methods have worked, you will probably need to search your house. If your pet is left to it’s own devices it could get hurt, or even chew through some electric wires and start a fire.

    There are so many places in a house that your gerbils can get into. You’ll need to look in cupboards, underneath wardrobes, under cabinets or televisions, behind and under chairs and sofas. Essentially, if you think that your gerbil could possibly have fit into there, check it.

  • Call the Pros!
  • In some counties, you'll find an ‘animal catcher’ in your local directory. These professionals will usually find your pet quite quickly, so you may want to look one up if you’re having trouble finding your escapee gerbil by yourself.

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