You’re planning to bring a pair of gerbils into your pet-owning household. Setting up a habitat that suits their behaviors helps keep them healthy, so you’ve done considerable research to make sure you get it right. You’ve arranged for new patient exams with your Grayson veterinarian, who can also provide you with some expert habitat advice.
While your gerbils would like some daily indirect sunlight, keep their enclosure away from strong direct sun. Also, don’t place their cage near heat sources such as heating vents and wood stoves. At the same time, you don’t want the gerbils to be subject to drafts, so keep them away from doors or fans. Your gerbils will prefer an ideal room temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the wild, gerbils dig and chew a lot…really a lot. They busily create food storage and predator protection tunnels, along with cozy, secure places where they can raise their young. A spacious glass aquarium holds lots of bedding material so your gerbils can burrow to their little hearts’ content. More importantly, they can’t chew through the aquarium’s glass walls. A 10-gallon rectangular aquarium works fine for two gerbils, but use a larger one for multiple residents. Securely install a sturdy wire mesh cover, as your gerbils will make short work of a flimsy screen. Cleaning the cage weekly minimizes ammonia fumes from gerbils’ waste products, which means they’ll also experience reduced respiratory system risks.
Your gerbils will appreciate corn cob, aspen shavings, or plain shredded paper bedding material. Stay away from cedar or pine shavings, and also avoid shredded paper that contains newsprint.
Privacy and Security
You don’t want your gerbils to get poked and prodded by visitors unfamiliar with gerbils’ needs for privacy and security. Also, you don’t want the little rodents to become dinner for your family’s dog or cat. You’d run both of these risks with a wire enclosure. However, a sturdy elevated glass aquarium allows visitors to be entertained by the gerbils’ behavior, while your little pets remain off limits to curious fingers and hungry mouths.
Finally, add a water bottle, small heavy ceramic food dish, and an unending supply of toilet paper rolls for the gerbils’ playtime. Ask your Grayson vet to recommend other safe playtoys. Remember, if your gerbils remain active and receive good care, they’re more likely to remain healthy.