There are about 90 species of gerbils but the one type most commonly kept is the Mongolian gerbil. They make wonderful, fascinating pets and they rarely bite. They are fairly easy to keep and as they are sociable so they should not be kept alone. Same sex pairs or groups should be kept and this will restrict breeding. It is worth keeping in mind that adult gerbils (ten weeks and older) can become aggressive to newcomers to their environment so it may be an idea to split the tank initially and introduce them gradually.

Gerbils usually live in underground tunnels with different exits and entry points. If you can house your gerbil in an environment which is similar, your gerbil will live to be very healthy and happy. They do need a layer of bedding to rummage through and an adequate sleeping area such as a clay flowerpot which has been cut in half. Wood shavings are ideal for gerbils but it is best to avoid fluffy bedding material. Your gerbils will love being able to dig and burrow and you can give them additional fun by adding toilet roll tubes to the tank.

In addition to commercial food mixes, gerbils really enjoy fresh vegetables and fruit. Gerbils are renowned for burying their foods in the wild so do not be alarmed if this happens. It is paramount that they have a fresh supply of water contained within a bottle, do not use a water bowl as this will be tipped over and wasted.

They are usually very friendly and inquisitive pets, and happy to be handled. It may take some time to get them completely used to you so it is a good idea just to have your hand in the tank sometimes so that they become used to your scent. Important to realise that you should not hold your gerbil by the tail as this can injure them. Children should be supervised when holding their pets so as to ensure that they not hold them too tight.

Gerbils are most active during the evening hours so they make for quiet pets for most of the time.

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