5 TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Tip 1: Keep them in pairs/groups
Gerbils are social animals, therefore should live in pairs or groups. They rely on one another for safety and security so it is very beneficial to keep them together.
Social behaviours in gerbils include:
Grooming one another
Sleeping together in the same nest
Sitting beside each other
Warning the other gerbil(s) of danger by thumping
This page covers the basics of caring for gerbils, and what you should know about them
Tip 2: Give them lots of space
An ideal cage size for gerbils is 100cm x 50cm and bigger. These days there are so many options! Some gerbils, however, may become territorial in a very large home.
Will it meet the minimum size requirements?
Is it safe from other animals (e.g. cats, dogs)?
Is there sufficient ventilation?
Can I clean it with ease?
Is it free from drafts?
Is it made from suitable materials which they will not chew?
Is it fully secure so they can not escape?
Tip 3: Provide lots of enrichment
Having a large accommodation is great, but to make that even better, you can provide enrichment for them to stimulate their brains. Giving them activities to do will prevent boredom and it is great fun to watch them display natural behaviours; you should take into consideration some their natural instincts to encourage this.
Tip 4: Feed them a natural diet
The bulk of a gerbils diet should be made up of a grain & seed mixture. Variety is essential and the more different types of grains and seeds, the better - variation ensures that their nutritional needs are met, and makes their diet more interesting (because eating the same food all the time can get boring!).
A high quality gerbil food contains various different grains, seeds, dried plants, flaked ingredients (such as flaked peas, barley flakes etc) and nuts. Additionally dried insects such as mealworms, silkworm larvae. Fresh vegetables and plants are also welcome on the daily menu for a gerbils diet.
Tip 7: Spot clean their home
Some gerbils can be litter trained - chinchilla sand is a popular substrate for the litter tray as it can easily be cleaned using a small sieve. If your gerbils don't use a litter tray, you will most likely see which areas they use to pee - they sometimes wake up during the day to go to the toilet so this is a good time to monitor where their preferred area is. You can clean that area as often as needed.
It depends how much substrate you provide for your gerbils as to how often you should do a deep clean. Simply remove all the bedding (reserving some of the old bedding to reduce stress) then spray the base of their home with water and vinegar solution. Then replace with a suitable fresh bedding (such as hemp or megazorb), and sprinkle over some of the old bedding so it smells familiar.