If pocket rodents are your thing, but you think mice aren’t good enough for you, you should, I believe, adopt a Gerbil as pet. Gerbils are what you can call an exotic variety of mice. Gerbils are absolutely delectable with their petite appearance and a little tuft at the end of their long furry tails. What is intriguing about them is the fact that you can get them in myriad colours through selective breeding. The wild one, which flaunts a combination of grey, black, yellow and white is more commonly known as “agouti”.
Now what you need to remember is that though Gerbils are not really nocturnal, they can oftentimes be active at night. This is because their body is habituate to several sleep cycle during the course of twenty four hours, and they are not very accurate with their timings.
Gerbils are social animals. They are extremely curious and their alacrity to explore new things is really a spectacle for the owners. They are playful and love company. In the wilderness, they are more used to living in colonies, and that is the reason they are advised not to be kept alone. If you do intend to keep a gerbil, it is always better to adopt a pair or more. They have what you can call a complaint temperament, and do not usually bite unless threatened. Gerbils are very touchy about their beautiful tails and will definitely approve of you picking it up by the tail although its small size can make us feel otherwise.
Gerbils need a big enough cage since they are extremely active creatures. However, most owners prefer using glass aquariums to cages since their soft fur tends to brush against the sides of the cage causing them injuries that you would not want them to have. Another advantage of using an aquarium is that you can introduce a thick layer of bedding to give your pets the authentic experience of burrowing, which you can provide if you are using a cage. You need to cover the top of the aquarium with something akin to a wire mesh to allow ventilation and also to prevent them from escaping. As I said earlier, Gerbils are very energetic and will always be on their knees to do some unprecedented. If you do plan to use a wire cage, make sure the bar spacing is no more than half an inch. This will prevent your pets to try to kick the bedding out , or chew at the wire, causing nasal injuries and even ulcers of the mouth. Do not, under any circumstances, use plastic since Gerbils have dextrous chewing habits. Whatever you do, make sure you keep them under surveillance to prevent any mishap.
Gerbils will also need something akin to the nest box to hide in. Since they are burrowing animals, they need to feel protected and outside the vicinity of any roving eye to sleep. For that purpose, you might want to introduce a box inside the aquarium or cage, wherever you want to house your pets. The quality of the nest box is of prime importance. It is always advised that there should be no plastic around them because of their tendency of incessant chewing. You can use a ceramic or a wooden box for the purpose. Now, you must expect them to chew the wooden box but at least you can be sure that it will take some time and your pets will not become sick since this is a part of their wild habitat. To add some variety, you might even want to add a couple of clay flower pots. This addition, however, is possible only if your cage or aquarium is big enough.
This is actually advisable to house your Gerbil in the biggest possible cage. They are hyperactive and need lots of exercise. For that purpose you need to furnish them with an assortment of playthings from rocks, wood pieces to ladders, ramps, and platforms. You might even want to add your own discarded toys but you must only give your pet what is safe to chew since they will inevitably start chewing whatever they find in their vicinity. Toilet paper tubes, as informed by some owners, are a particular favourite. Since they are so energetic, they are more prone to be dehydrated. You must hang a water bottle preferably with a metal sprout in the cage so that they can replenish the water that they have exhausted in their play. You might also consider introducing an exercise wheel, but make sure it is not the hamster wheel because they edges might cause your Gerbil grievous harm. If can find no other, you might consider taping the surface and the side so that there are no rough surfaces. Under no circumstances should there be gaps in the wheel because there is a high risk that its tail might be injured in the process. As said earlier, the tail is the most sensitive part of your pet and it is the tail which makes it vulnerable.
If you pay proper attention to your pet and see that its safety is not compromised, I think housing a Gerbil will be easy and more importantly, rewarding.