Fluffy Little Balls of Gerbil Love


Say your kid has finally convinced you he or she is responsible enough to own a pet, why not give gerbil raising a try? As pets go, they’re compact, so size isn’t going to be an issue. They’re also gentle and curious little diggers.

From Mongolia to Your Aquarium

Gerbils originated in Africa and Asia and can be found in India. In 1935, 20 pairs of captured Mongolian gerbils were kept in a closed, random-bred colony in Japan, at the Kitasato Institute. These 40 rodents are the ancestors of nearly all the Mongolian gerbils available today!

In 1954, Dr. Schwentker brought gerbils to the US for use in scientific research. It didn’t take long before researchers found themselves taking them home as pets for their children. Gentle, small, clean, and relatively inexpensive to care for, gerbils quickly became a staple of pet stores. Urban dwellers looking for pets with such qualities found these “desert rats” to be ideal companions for smaller living spaces like apartments and condos.

Happy Gerbil Homes Your Pet Will Dig

Provide clean, thick layers of bedding for your rodent friends, as they are natural burrowers, creating burrows up to 6 feet deep and 20-26 ft wide in the wild. There’s no need to recreate such a large environment in your home, but furnishing toys, climbing materials, and plastic tube tunnels will keep your furball happy and calm. Gerbils are chewers, as you might expect from their sharp pointed teeth, so make sure you give them something to gnaw on to sate this compulsion and keep them healthy.

I Now Pronounce You Tankmates

A 20-gallon aquarium is ideal for Split-Tank Introduction, which is the preferred way to let gerbils acclimate to one another. Gerbils are notoriously territorial and will attack each other when stressed. Make sure to clean all toys and other items in the cage to reduce anxiety when introducing gerbils. By switching the sides each gerbil is on 4-5 times a day, both animals will acclimate to the other’s scent easier.

Gerbils, Like Tribbles, Multiply Quickly

Gerbils breed quickly, with females being able to become impregnated in just 3 months from birth. The gestational period for gerbil mommies to be is 21-26 days, and produce litters of 3-10 babies or pups, as they are called. Parenting is a two-gerbil job, and both sexes feed and care for their offspring. This includes teaching what foods to eat and how to clean themselves.

One of the main reasons gerbils are so popular is that they are easy to care for. As pet store gerbils are more prone to illness and may be mis-sexed or pregnant when you purchase, it’s a good idea to seek out a registered gerbil breeder. You can search AGS breeder listings online, to find one close to you. The environment you provide should be clean, spacious, and able to be divided when introducing gerbils that are strangers.

With proper care, gerbils are friendly, adorable, furry balls of love.

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