Unique Apartment Pets: Gerbils

Share:

Unique Apartment Pets: Gerbils

Staff Writer · Oct 23, 2009

The best apartment pets comfortably fit into a small environment, require little care and make loving pets. A pet gerbil fits the bill perfectly.

Choosing Gerbils

Gerbils are social creatures, so you should adopt them in pairs. Be sure to pick two gerbils of the same gender, otherwise you’ll find yourself with a frequently pregnant female. (Spaying and neutering small rodents like gerbils is a dangerous procedure.) The gerbils are bound to get along much better if they were litter mates or raised together from a young age; ask the pet store to find a good match. The gerbils that catch your eye should have clear eyes, ears and noses (discharge is a sign of illness) and a clear, smooth coat. Handle the gerbils to see if they’re friendly and let them walk around to check for labored breathing or limping. Healthy gerbils should have no scratches or abscesses.

Prepping for Your Pet Gerbil

Necessary pet gerbil supplies include a cage, litter and bedding, healthy food and toys for exercise. A gerbil cage is a wire cage or aquarium (10 gallons minimum) with a tight mesh cover. Gerbils are very curious and will attempt to escape if given the opportunity, so make sure the cages have adequate ventilation but don’t have holes that they can squeeze through.

The bottom of gerbil cages should be lined with aspen shavings (avoid pine or cedar), hay or other rodent-friendly bedding materials. Change this litter at least once a week. Include nesting materials for your gerbils to chew on, such as shredded tissues, soft paper towels and newspapers. Fill the cage with cardboard tubes for play and a small box so your gerbil can rest in a cozy, quiet corner. An exercise wheel helps keep your gerbil in shape. (But try to find one that’s not too squeaky or your gerbils might keep you awake!)

Feeding Your Gerbils

One of the most important gerbil supplies is food. Your gerbils should always have access to fresh water. Basic gerbil pellets, lab blocks or seed mixes allow for nutritionally balanced meals, but you should supplement these meals with extremely small quantities of the following:

  • Dandelion greens
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Nuts
  • Raisins
  • Cheese

Be sure to give these to your apartment pets as only occasional treats, and in very small quantities. The base of their diet should be the nutritionally-balanced pellets, lab blocks or seed mixes.

Taking Your Gerbils Out

You can interact with your gerbils by taking them out of the cage. Do not grab them by their tails. The best way to pick up your gerbils is to put both hands in the cage, palms facing up, and let them climb right into your hands.

When your gerbils are outside, keep a close eye on them, as they can easily run away and hide. Don’t make sudden movements or loud noises and you can watch your gerbil sniff and explore your apartment to get some exercise. Make sure they stay away from electrical cords!

Gerbils are loving creatures that make excellent apartment pets. They’re easy to care for and don’t take up a lot of space. You can expect to have a healthy gerbil for an average of 2 to 3 years.

You might also like:

On ApartmentRatings, real renters have the ability to rate and review their apartment communities based on their experience touring and/or living in them. ApartmentRatings offers renters the ability to see what life is truly like at a community through a report card grade style format called epIQ. Every month we highlight a major city across […]

Jessica Lee

 · Jan 31, 2024

On ApartmentRatings, real renters have the ability to rate and review their apartment communities based on their experience touring and/or living in them. ApartmentRatings offers renters the ability to see what life is truly like at a community through a report card grade style format called epIQ. Every month we highlight a major city across […]

Jessica Lee

 · Dec 28, 2023