How to Raise Gerbils: Your Comprehensive Guide to Gerbil Care and Happiness!

Before getting a gerbil, it’s essential to choose the right species that suits your lifestyle and personality. The most common species of gerbils are Mongolian gerbils, also known as desert gerbils, and Fat-tailed gerbils. Mongolian gerbils are smaller, more active, and easier to handle than Fat-tailed gerbils, which are larger, slower, and more docile.

Preparing a Proper Habitat

Gerbils are active animals that require a spacious and comfortable living environment. A 10-gallon tank is sufficient for one or two gerbils, while a 20-gallon tank is ideal for three or more gerbils. The tank should be made of glass or plastic and have a secure lid to prevent escapes. Gerbils love to burrow, so provide at least four inches of clean, dust-free bedding, such as aspen shavings or paper-based bedding. Avoid cedar or pine bedding, which can cause respiratory problems.

Essential Gerbil Supplies

In addition to a proper habitat, you’ll need some essential supplies to keep your gerbil happy and healthy. These include a food dish, a water bottle, chew toys, and an exercise wheel. Gerbils need to chew to wear down their teeth, which continue to grow throughout their lives. Provide wooden chew toys or mineral chews to prevent dental problems. An exercise wheel is an excellent way for gerbils to burn off energy and stay healthy.

Feeding Your Gerbil

Gerbil Diet and Nutrition

Gerbils are omnivores that require a balanced diet of protein, fiber, and fat. A high-quality commercial gerbil food is the best choice, as it contains all the necessary nutrients. Avoid feeding your gerbil sugary or fatty treats, as they can cause obesity and other health problems. Fresh vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, and spinach, can be given in small quantities as occasional treats.

Safe and Unsafe Treats for Gerbils

Gerbils love treats, but not all treats are safe for them to eat. Avoid giving your gerbil chocolate, caffeine, citrus fruits, or any food that contains high sugar or fat content. Safe treats for gerbils include sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and small amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Watering Your Gerbil

Gerbils need fresh, clean water at all times. Provide a water bottle with a metal sipper tube, and change the water daily. Avoid using water bowls, as they can be tipped over or contaminated with bedding or food.

Gerbil Health and Wellness

Gerbil Grooming and Hygiene

Gerbils are clean animals that groom themselves regularly. However, you can help keep your gerbil healthy by providing a dust bath. Fill a shallow dish with chinchilla dust, and let your gerbil roll around in it for a few minutes. This will remove excess oils and dirt from their fur and keep their skin healthy.

Common Gerbil Health Problems

Although gerbils are generally healthy pets, they can still develop health problems that require veterinary care. Some common health issues in gerbils include dental problems, respiratory infections, and skin disorders. Watch for signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or difficulty breathing, and seek veterinary care if necessary.

Preventing Illness in Gerbils

Preventing illness is the best way to keep your gerbil healthy and happy. Provide a clean living environment, avoid overcrowding, and feed a balanced diet. Regular veterinary checkups can also help catch health problems early.

Gerbil Behavior and Training

Gerbil Socialization and Play

Gerbils are social animals that enjoy living in pairs or groups. However, it’s essential to introduce gerbils slowly and carefully to prevent fighting. Provide plenty of toys and activities to keep your gerbil entertained, such as tunnels, chew toys, and an exercise wheel.

Teaching Gerbils Tricks

Gerbils are intelligent creatures that can be trained to perform simple tricks, such as running through a maze or jumping through a hoop. Use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, to encourage good behavior. Keep training sessions short and frequent, and be patient.

Breeding Gerbils

Preparing for Breeding Gerbils

Breeding gerbils requires planning and preparation. Choose healthy, unrelated gerbils of the opposite sex, and ensure that they have a proper living environment and diet. Gerbils become sexually mature at around three months of age, and females have a gestation period of 24-26 days.

Mating Gerbils

Mating gerbils is a natural process that requires minimal intervention. Introduce a male and female gerbil in a neutral territory and monitor their behavior. If they show interest in each other, they will mate naturally. Remove the male after mating to prevent fighting.

Raising Gerbil Pups

Gerbil pups are born blind and hairless and require a warm, safe environment to grow. Keep the mother and pups in a separate tank with plenty of bedding and a nest box. Provide a balanced diet for the mother, and avoid handling the pups until they are fully furred and able to see.


Gerbils are fascinating, low-maintenance pets that can bring joy and companionship to your life. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can provide the best possible care for your gerbil and ensure their happiness and health. Remember to provide a proper habitat, a balanced diet, and plenty of love and attention. With a little bit of effort, you and your gerbil can enjoy a long and rewarding life together.

ThePetFaq Team