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Are gerbils good pets?

Gerbils have gained popularity as pets among children and can provide endless fun for them. But it's important to understand the gerbils unique care needs. Our Hattiesburg and Wiggins vets will discuss how to take care of a gerbil to help you.

There are a lot of things to consider when taking care of your pet gerbil including feeding schedule, proper handling, and house needs. Here is a list of things to think about and instructions:

What are gerbils like as pets?

Unlike many other small pets, gerbils do not thrive when kept alone. Living in solitude can negatively impact their health, leading to issues like obesity and shorter lifespans. If you're considering getting a gerbil as a pet, it is advisable to bring home two gerbils together for their well-being.

How do I handle a gerbil?

Gerbils are small and fragile. Your gerbil should be kept away from larger, predatory pets like cats, dogs, and even ferrets. And, you should never grab or hold a gerbil by her tail, or you could cause a serious injury. 

How do I interact with a gerbil?

It's important to approach them calmly and gently. Offer your hand for them to sniff and gradually start petting them on their back. Avoid sudden movements or loud noises. Gerbils are very sensitive creatures. 

Additionally, you can provide them with toys and tunnels in their enclosure to encourage playfulness and mental stimulation. Remember to always handle gerbils with care and respect their boundaries for a positive interaction experience. 

What do gerbils need to thrive?

Below, we'll list some of the things your gerbil will need in their environment to thrive.

Your Gerbils House

Gerbils, similar to other rodents, have a natural inclination to chew. It is important to avoid housing them in wooden cages, as they can easily damage or destroy them. Wire cages are also not suitable since gerbils have a tendency to dig, which could potentially cause injuries from the metal.

For gerbils, a 20-gallon fish tank or a plastic gerbil home from a pet store are often suitable options. It is recommended to avoid rounded tanks, as gerbils prefer to curl up in corners. Remember, like most pets, your gerbil's habitat can never be too spacious.

Feeding & Water

You can typically find pre-mixed gerbil food at your nearby pet store, which is suitable for most gerbil owners. In addition to that, you can supplement their diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, although it's important to avoid excessive lettuce as it can lead to diarrhea. Gerbils also enjoy treats like hard-boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and cheese, but it's crucial to offer these in small quantities due to their high-fat content.

You need to make sure your gerbil has a fresh, clean supply of water at all times. A gravity-fed water dispenser works well for gerbils.


Don't give your gerbils any toys made from plastic because they love to chew, and plastic could cause a wide range of problems for your pet. Instead, stick with natural wood products like wooden chew toys, cardboard tubes, and wood planks.

Vet Visits

Just like any other pet, gerbils must be seen by a veterinarian on a regular schedule. These routine veterinary checks are important for keeping your pet healthy and happy.

If you have more questions about caring for a new pet, don't hesitate to contact our Hattiesburg and Wiggins vets today!

New Patients Welcome

Holland Veterinary Hospitals in Hattiesburg and Wiggins are accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of all animals. Get in touch today to book an appointment with our experienced vets.

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