The gerbil, a small pet rodent loved by children


Belonging to the family of the “magnificent seven”, just like squirrels, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, ferrets and dwarf rabbits, the gerbil is a model of sociability, which is why it appeals so much to children. . It has the advantage of being pleasant to live with and easily tame.

Origin and physical characteristics of the gerbil

Not to be confused with a mouse or a hamster even if the resemblance is somewhat striking, the gerbil is a rodent of brown, white, gray or slate color which is distinguished by its long hairy tail and by the fact that it is stands upright through its powerful and long hind legs. It measures on average 12 cm for an estimated weight between 50 and 120 g. The gerbil comes in many varieties: the Egyptian gerbil, Pallid’s gerbil or even the Negev merione. It lives mainly in the desert and arid areas of Asia, the Near East, the Middle East and Africa. It is thanks to its ability to save water in its body that it is able to evolve in such arid climatic conditions: a physiology that has favored its domestication.

Ideal place for the gerbil to live

For its well-being, the gerbil must necessarily live in a group. This is why it is preferable to adopt several and of the same sex in order to avoid mass reproduction. He needs a cage of at least 80 cm for two rodents so that they are comfortable. This should be provided with hay litter or wood chips which will act as litter. You should know that the gerbil really likes to dig galleries. Also, if you have the possibility of having a terrarium, garnish it with scratching sand. Likewise, your pet will be able to exercise if you put a metal wheel in their cage. And to ensure his moments of rest, plan a small hiding place. Be careful, the gerbil does not tolerate temperature variations, drafts and cold. Think about it when choosing the location of his cage.

Gerbil feeding and care

Herbivorous, the gerbil is fond of peanut and wheat seeds. You can easily find it in pet stores or specialty shops in the form of pellets. A daily amount of 15 grams is more than enough to avoid any problem of overweight. You can, in addition, feed her proteins, vegetables and fruits. Hay is also suitable, but in small quantities, because it causes constipation problems which is dangerous for the animal. Occasionally, you can offer insects such as crickets to your rodent, which will act as treats.

Good to know about gerbil health

External parasites such as mites, ringworm, flea, lice or ticks are the worst enemies of the gerbil because they are the cause of skin diseases. Digestive disorders including constipation and diarrhea are also frequent in this animal. When sick, gerbils tend to hide, have a spiky, damp and dull coat, and they don’t move much. Pay attention to these signs.

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