Bringing your new gerbils home is exciting for you, but a little stressful for the animals. Preparation is key to making the transition from birthplace to new home as smooth as possible. Here are some ways to minimize the stress for your new furry friends.
You need to prepare for the big day when your new pets come home
- Have the cage ready in advance
- Have a carry case ready
- Plan the route carefully
- Let your pets settle in
Your gerbils will have had quite a stressful time, so when they finally get through your door it’s best to quickly transfer them into their new home and let them get settled. To achieve this, you’ll need to have set up their cage before they arrive, and have filled it with all they need - bedding, food, a wheel and water.
Gerbils are notorious escape artists - they can chew their way out of cardboard boxes in no time at all. The place you're getting your gerbils from might be able to give or lend you a carry case. If they don’t, it’s a good idea to purchase one before you go to fetch your gerbils.
The carry case will need to be full of bedding, and be stocked with food and water for the trip home. If you’re driving to pick up your new pets, make sure the carry case is fixed securely in your car, and can't slide across boots, floors, and seats, which would be dangerous for the pets inside, and certainly very stressful for them. One solution is to strap the case in with a seat belt, and add pillows round the sides to make sure it's snug and secure. Another possible method is to bring someone along for the ride who can ride with the box on their lap.
Gerbils are little Houdinis, and can escape a cardboard box with ease
Cars, especially hot cars, are not pleasant environments for gerbils. The noises, smells, and air pollution are all unpleasant and stressful experiences for them, so it’s important that you keep their time in the vehicle to a minimum. Plan your return route carefully, and avoid stopping on the way back unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Most experts advise that you don’t remove your gerbils from their new enclosure for the first week. This gives them some time to get accustomed to their surroundings and become comfortable in their new home.
Although it’s tempting to sit and watch your pets, and to bring them out and play with them, it’s best to avoid doing both of those things for the time being - your pets won’t thank you for it. They will already be quite worried and being taken out of their enclosure will add another level of stress to an already tricky few days.