Mongolian Gerbil Care
Gerbils are friendly and generally docile pets and come in a variety of colors. Gerbils can sometimes be kept together if they were raised together and the same gender, however some will still fight and will need to be separated. Males should not be kept with females unless they are neutered because they breed readily and have large amounts of babies. Use caution when picking up gerbils because if you hold the end of the tail the skin may come off!
Gerbils need a solid bottom cage with a lot of ventilation. The cage must be escape proof as gerbils are master escape artists! The plastic bottomed cages with wire tops work very well. Aquarium style cages are not appropriate due to poor ventilation. Gerbils urinate and defecate a lot so their cage should be cleaned frequently (at least 1-2 times weekly) to reduce waste odor and contamination. Carefresh (recycled shredded paper) bedding is the best option to use at the bottom of the cage at least 1-2” deep. Gerbils will nest in the bedding and will shred paper if offered to line their nest. Toilet paper rolls offer great hiding places and gerbils enjoy destroying them as well. Cardboard, wooden chews, grass hay, newspaper, and other destructible toys (avoid plastic) provide good chewing opportunities.
They will chew wood and plastic so only ceramic or metal dishes should be used. Water bowls and water bottles attached to the side of the cage should be used. Make sure that fresh water is available at all times. Periodically check the corners and edges of the cage to ensure that they have not started chewing any holes that may lead to escape. A solid sided exercise wheel in the cage should be available for exercise. Time outside of the cage to explore a safe area is great enrichment.
Diet and Nutrition
Gerbils should be fed a complete pellet and many companies such as Oxbow and Selective Diets make them. There are many varieties of gerbil food mixes which will generally have a blend of fruits, vegetables and seeds and grains and these can be offered as a small part of the diet. You can offer vegetables, small amounts of fruits, nuts, and low sugar cereals as treats.