Gerbils are said to be one of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ as they, alongside with hamsters, mice, Guinea Pig, squirrels, rabbit and weasels, can be an excellent buddy for any kid. Moreover, being social and easy to handle and tame, they are more and more popular as pets.
Whether you are old or young, it doesn’t really matter, you’ll just love them. I used to have to Mongolian gerbils and I must tell you, I’d choose to get some more any time. However, it was quite sad when they died but hey, they can’t live forever, can they? Anyway, gerbils are rodents that very easily adapt as long as you fulfil all their needs. They don’t bite, are really curious and extremely funny.
Where do gerbils come from?
This species comes from the deserted areas of northern China and Mongolia. Hence the name of one species: Mongolian gerbil.
Although similar to the untrained eye, gerbils and hamsters and mice have a number of differences. Gerbils are larger than mice, more like a hamster. But their tale is covered by fur, it’s not bald like rats’.
The interest in gerbils as pets is constantly growing, since they are clean, sociable animals, easy to take care of and very very funny. Their life is highly interesting to be observed by teens or adults keen on science. Gerbils are active like four hours at a time and they go to sleep approximately the same period. This way you can quite easily watch them (if you had a hamster, you would need to stay up all night long to observe them).
Alongside Mongolian gerbils, there are also Greater Egyptian and Pale gerbils as well. The later two are less common, though.
Boy or girl
You should probably opt for two boys or two girls (or more, it’s not really the number that matters) to avoid any surprises. They do mate really often and you don’t want to end up with an overpopulated terrarium or cage.
Gerbils live about 4 years. You should buy them at 6-8 weeks since that’s the age they don’t really need their mom any more. They might be a little scared and not that easy to catch at the very beginning but they’ll adapt soon.
Food for your pet
It will need a balanced diet. You should give it seeds, fruit and vegetables (apple, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, fresh grass, hay, etc) and protein. You could choose some special mix you can buy from pet shops. Make sure they constantly have fresh water. Buying a dripper for the water is a really good idea since they tend to spill whatever they have in a bowl.
Pay attention to where you put the terrarium or cage. Temperature and humidity should be constant or it will make them sick. When it comes to choosing between a terrarium or cage you should know that gerbils really love to dig. Should you out them in a cage, they will make a really big mess.