Gerbil: guide, tips and useful information
If you are considering adopting a gerbil as a pet, follow our guide with useful tips and information to learn more about these adorable rodents.
The Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus), more commonly called the Gerbil, is a curious, lively, and company-loving small rodent. Originally from Mongolia (Asia and Africa), where it colonizes the desert steppes, it therefore needs less water than its "cousin" hamster, by eliminating modest quantities of urine, it is able to considerably limit the dispersion of water. This feature is highly appreciated as its cage will not stink.
The gerbil is a really nice animal, which will never, ever try to bite you: more dynamic and more active than the hamster, it is about the same size but with a tail.
Due to its excellent character it can be really suitable for children, moreover it has very pleasant attitudes to observe, such as sitting on its hind legs to look around curiously.
This little rodent tends to be awake, active, and awake during the day.
Physical characteristics of the Gerbil
The gerbil can weigh between 52 and 133 grams and measure around 12 cm in length. To the measure of the body it is necessary to add the length of the tail, which oscillates between 6 and 12 cm.
Males are slightly larger and heavier than females. In general, this animal has a sharp muzzle and hardly visible ears due to its very small size.
Both male and female specimens have a particular odoriferous gland called Harderian. This gland on the belly allows the smell to be emitted on objects or other animals by spreading a substance rich in pheromones.
It lives on average about 3-4 years.
If you want to buy a gerbil, the first things to do
The gerbil is a pet with little stress and excellent adaptability, however, as soon as it is purchased, let's avoid long trips outside the home closed in its sales box.
Let's bring it into the cage that we will have set up, always positioning it away from drafts and away from radiators.
In the first few days we let him get used to the new reality and make available a small house where he can take refuge and rest feeling safe.
The gerbil does not have an absolutely shy or shy character, however, let's gradually accustom it to being picked up and, always under close supervision, let's allow it some small patrols of the house. They do not have a great perception of emptiness and danger so beware of "flights" from the tables!
If you decide to adopt it as a pet, it is always advisable to guarantee the company of at least one other specimen.
The main treatments
The gerbil has a very pleasant appearance with a hairy tail and club. There are various colors such as silver, black, champagne, fawn and white. It has two big tender eyes that will be red in albinos.
It is an animal native to Mongolia, where it colonizes the desert steppes, therefore it needs less water than its "cousin" hamster, eliminating modest quantities of urine.
It is a territorial animal: if male it will be kept alone or with some females. It is a very active animal therefore it will need to move and have a cage developed vertically at its disposal, all the better if it has several communicating floors, with ladders, wheels and polyvinyl pipes.
Corn cob is suitable for the litter; do not use coniferous sawdust instead because the gerbil is sensitive to traces of resin, and it would cause conjunctivitis and dermatitis on the face.
The hygiene of the cage, clean water, assorted and fresh food are the basis for one of our little friend's care.
She loves to clean her fur by bathing in the sand, you can use that for chinchilla.
The feeding of the gerbil
The diet should be richer in protein than that of hamsters, so the mixes of seeds that we will use as basic food, we will supplement with moths and crickets.
It would not be wrong to feed some kibble for puppy cats 2-3 times a week.
It is good to leave some sprigs of fruit trees or calcium blocks available so that with the activity they can regularly consume the incisors, which are continuously growing.
The health of the gerbil
It is a fairly robust animal, but it should never be grabbed by the tail. Feeling caught by the tail can cause unexpected reactions from the gerbil. In addition, the gerbil's tail is very delicate and if handled improperly it could become damaged, causing it to feel unwell.
Avoid placing the cage near heat sources or drafts.
The large eyes of the gerbil are associated with a large lacrimal gland that produces an oily secretion rich in pheromones and porphyrin pigments. Do not be alarmed, if this gland, following a few blows of air, becomes inflamed, the animal will appear to bleed from the eyes or nose, when in reality the phenomenon depends only on hyper-tearing.
If you want to see the gerbils live, come and visit us, our Pet Shop is in Via Andevenno 1, Castione Andevenno in the province of Sondrio.