So, you've decided to keep a Pet Gerbil? Great Idea!
Now, here's some really good info on the subject
The Mongolian Gerbil, scientific name Meriones unguiculatus,
is one of the top ten most popular small pets. Gerbils are a
common first pet for children, which can work out fine as
long as an adult takes the responsibility of oversight and
the child is taught how to care for the gerbil properly. Of
course, no matter your age and no matter the pet you choose,
a responsible pet owner does thorough research before
choosing any pet, to be sure that the animal will suit you
and that you know how to take care of it properly.
Gerbils are in the rodent family and are about the size of a
small rat or a small hamster, with a furry tail as long as
their body and sporting a tuft of hair like a flag at the
end. The fur of the wild gerbil is usually the color called
"agouti," with each hair banded with grey near the skin, a
yellowish band and then black tip, and lighter hair on the
belly. But domestication has delivered about forty various
other interesting colors between white and black, and
including spots and "pieds."
Gerbils are popular as pets for a number of reasons. Here is
a list of some pros and cons of keeping gerbils as pets:
* Gerbils are very cute, looking somewhat like a hamster or
ground squirrel, with big eyes and small rounded ears, and
unlike rats and mice, their tails are furry.
* Gerbils are gentle and not as prone to biting as some
other rodents. With some patience they can be hand tamed.
* Gerbils are curious and playful, and so fun to watch even
in their cages.
* Because gerbils come from a dry environment, they don't
drink as much as other rodents and don't have the usual
* Gerbils produce less waste than mice and other rodents,
and so don't require a cage cleaning every day; in fact with
a pair you might not need to clean the cage but every two
* Gerbils are not nocturnal as some have written, but have
many sleep and wake cycles throughout the day, so whatever
your schedule your gerbil will likely be ready to entertain
you whenever you are available.
* You should prepare for and buy two gerbils that are
acquainted already, because if you try to introduce a
strange gerbil later it may be very hard or impossible to
get your first pets to accept the new addition. In fact, it
can result in the death of the strange gerbil. Read our
article about how to introduce a new gerbil if you need more
* You also shouldn't keep more than two female gerbils
together to avoid territorial fighting.
* You can't pick up a gerbil by the tail as you can with a
mouse, as their tails are designed to break off if a
predator grabs them by the tail.
* Because gerbils are rodents, they love to gnaw, and
because they come from Mongolia where it is very cold, they
want to make large nests. In the wild they both chew and
shred wood and dig burrows. So you will have to supervise
your pet whenever it is out of its cage so it won't injure
itself or damage your household furnishings by gnawing on
the wrong things.
But if you want a cute, small, easy to care for pet, you
can't do much better than to choose the Mongolian Gerbil.