Gerbils are small, furry rodents that weigh between 60-130 grams and measure around 10-12 cm in length. They have a long, bushy tail, large eyes, and big ears. Gerbils have four toes on their front feet and five toes on their hind feet, which they use to dig burrows in the wild.
Behavioral Characteristics of Gerbils
Gerbils are social animals that live in groups in the wild. They are active during the day and sleep at night. Gerbils are playful and curious and love to explore their environment. They communicate with each other through body language, vocalizations, and scent marking.
Preparing to Hold a Gerbil
Before you hold your gerbil, you need to make sure that you create a safe environment and obtain the right equipment.
Creating a Safe Environment
Gerbils are active and curious animals, and their natural instinct is to explore their surroundings. Therefore, it’s essential to create a safe environment for them to roam around. Make sure that your gerbil’s cage is large enough to allow them to move around freely. Remove any potential hazards such as wires or chemicals that your gerbil could chew on or ingest. Make sure that the temperature and humidity levels in the room are suitable for your gerbil’s well-being.
Obtaining the Right Equipment
Before holding your gerbil, you need to have the right equipment. The most important thing you need is a comfortable and secure grip. You can use a small towel or a cloth to wrap around your gerbil so that they feel secure. Alternatively, you can use a gentle approach and let your gerbil climb onto your hand. Make sure that you have a firm grip and support your gerbil’s body.
Approaching Your Gerbil
Approaching your gerbil is an essential step in holding them. It’s essential to read your gerbil’s body language and build trust with them.
Reading Your Gerbil’s Body Language
Gerbils communicate through their body language, and it’s crucial to understand it to avoid hurting or scaring them. If your gerbil is relaxed, they will have a straight posture and their ears will be up. If they are scared or agitated, they may squeak or make other noises, and their body will be tense.
Building Trust with Your Gerbil
Gerbils are intelligent animals that can sense fear and aggression, so it’s crucial to build trust with them. Spend time with your gerbil, talk to them in a soft voice, and offer them treats. Once your gerbil feels comfortable with you, they will be more willing to climb onto your hand.
Proper Techniques for Holding Gerbils
Now that you have created a safe environment and built trust with your gerbil, it’s time to learn the proper techniques for holding them.
Picking Up Your Gerbil
The best way to pick up your gerbil is to let them climb onto your hand. Place your hand inside the cage and let your gerbil come to you. Make sure that you have a firm grip on your gerbil and support their body.
Supporting Your Gerbil’s Body
Gerbils are delicate animals, and it’s essential to support their body when holding them. Make sure that you have a firm grip on your gerbil and wrap them in a small towel or cloth to make them feel secure. Support their body with your other hand to prevent them from falling.
Handling Multiple Gerbils
If you have multiple gerbils, it’s essential to handle them one at a time to avoid fights or injuries. Make sure that you wash your hands between handling each gerbil to avoid transmitting any diseases.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
To ensure that you don’t hurt your gerbil, it’s essential to avoid common mistakes.
Forcing Your Gerbil to be Held
Gerbils are social animals, but they also need their space. Avoid forcing your gerbil to be held if they don’t want to. Always respect your gerbil’s boundaries and let them come to you when they feel comfortable.
Not Providing a Safe Escape Route
When holding your gerbil, always provide a safe escape route. Gerbils are prey animals, and if they feel trapped, they may become scared or agitated.
Holding Your Gerbil for Too Long
Gerbils are active animals, and they need to move around to stay healthy. Avoid holding your gerbil for too long, as this can cause them stress or discomfort.
Holding gerbils is not difficult, but it requires some technique to ensure that your pet remains safe and comfortable. By creating a safe environment, building trust with your gerbil, and using proper techniques for holding them, you can enjoy spending time with your gerbil without hurting them. Remember to avoid common mistakes and always respect your gerbil’s boundaries. With these tips, you can be confident in holding your gerbil and building a strong bond with them.
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