Basic Gerbil Care

Are you considering getting a pocket pet? If so, you may find that gerbils are an excellent choice. These cute little pets are very sociable and friendly, and won’t take up a lot of room. They do have some specific needs, so you’ll want to do some thorough research before deciding on a gerbil. Below, a Geist vet gives some tips on basic gerbil care.

Gerbils live in groups in the wild, so your pet will do best with a buddy or two. One curious thing about gerbils is that they must be introduced slowly to one another, and, after separation from their buddies, will need to be re-introduced as though they had never met. Be sure your gerbils have been sexed correctly, and house only same-sex pairs together, or you could find yourself with a growing number of pets.


Gerbils need a ten or twenty gallon tank. A large aquarium is a great choice, because the glass sides will keep your pet from kicking substrate out of the cage. The cage should not be placed in drafty areas or in direct sunlight, but should be in a room with some natural light coming in through the windows. Your pet will also need a little home within his cage, so he has a private, quiet retreat. These little furballs are pretty good at escaping, so make sure the cage is very secure. You’ll need to be diligent about cleaning your gerbil’s cage every week, as otherwise the odors inside could make your little pet sick.


You can feed your gerbil a seed mix for his basic diet. Some of these will have veggies added to them for variety. Another option is old-fashioned oats. Pumpkin or sunflower seeds are also fine. Gerbils can be a bit fussy, so you’ll need to make sure your pet isn’t just eating his favorite parts, as he may not be getting the proper nutrition if that is the case. For treats and variety, you can feed your little buddy small bites of washed fruits or veggies, pasta, whole-grain bread, raisins, bits of egg, and mealworms.


Gerbils are very curious, and love to tunnel and explore. Make sure the substrate is deep enough for your pet to dig into and build tunnels. You can get toys for your gerbil in any pet store, or you can make your own out of items you already have, such as coffee cans, toilet paper rolls, and terracotta plant pots.

Please contact your Geist vet with any questions on caring for gerbils, and visit our site frequently for updates.

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