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What Gerbils Need

Bringing a gerbil home is an exciting experience, but one that really requires some preparation. To give you a hand, we’ve created this list of things that you’ll need to prepare.

  • A cage
  • Your gerbils need a secure, quiet place to live – a space to call their own. There are lots of different enclosures available, but whichever you choose, it will need to be large enough for your gerbils to run around and satisfy their burrowing instincts. For more advice on choosing a gerbil house, have a read of our Gerbil Cages section.

    gerbil cages
    A Qute gerbil cage provides the ideal space for your pets

  • Food
  • When you bring your new pets home, it’s a good idea to buy some of the food that they’ve been eating for the last few weeks. You can then gradually introduce their new food rather than swapping it to a novel one suddenly. Slowly changing their diet will help prevent stomach upsets and reduce the stresses that come with moving into a new home.

    A well-made dry food should be the staple of your gerbils’ diets. They’ll be eating a lot of this throughout their lives, so it’s a really good idea to have some ready for when they move in. As you wean them off their previous food, you can start introducing the mix you intend on keeping them on.

  • Water
  • All pets need constant access to unlimited, clean, fresh water. For gerbils, this can be supplied through a special small mammal water bottle attached to the side of the cage. These come free with our Qute enclosures.

  • Companions
  • All gerbils need the company of their own species in order to be happy. They live in family groups in the wild, and those kept in captivity need a friend to play with, nap with, and talk to.

    gerbils need company
    Gerbils love hanging out together

  • Bedding
  • Gerbils are fantastic tunnellers. In the wild their burrows help them survive the fluctuating temperatures of desert environments, and offer protection from predators too. They need to mimic this behavior in captivity, otherwise they become very unhappy. If you provide lots of the right kind of deep bedding, the animals will be able to satisfy their natural instinct to create tunnels and dens.

    For more information on good bedding options, and which ones experts recommend you avoid, have a look at our Gerbil Bedding page.

  • Grooming and Medical Equipment
  • It’s best to have some equipment on-hand for the first few weeks of gerbil ownership - a small, wide-toothed brush for occasionally combing your pets’ fur, and human nail clippers are good places to start. You may also want some scales for monitoring your pets’ health, as well as a sand bath to allow your pets to clean themselves. For more information on helping your pets stay clean, visit our Gerbil Hygiene section.

    gerbil equipment
    Be ready to help your gerbils

  • Toys
  • Gerbils love toys - enrichment items make their lives more interesting. They need mental stimulation, so provide them with a pet puzzle or something they can chew or manipulate.

    Gnaws and chews are perfect toys. Gerbils’ teeth grow constantly throughout their lives, and those in captivity often need a bit of help grinding their teeth down a comfortable size. Some non-toxic wood fits the bill, helping your pets wear their teeth down. It may even save you money in the long run, as gerbils with overgrown teeth may require veterinary treatment.

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