How to tame a gerbil and Reading their Body language – Patience is the keyword of the taming of your gerbil. Beyond this essential trait, you have to use a methodology. Several steps must be respected. We give you the keys to a taming without a hitch and with the reward of a beautiful agreement on arrival.
Understanding your gerbil
It is a diurnal rodent . As such, you will not have to disturb her during a good part of the day, where she likes to rest. To annoy her in her cage at the wrong hours would lead to a deterioration of your relationship. Thus, you will attach to watch the day and try to tame early in the morning and especially in the evening.
Other times of the day are not conducive to annoying her, especially when she scratches, cleans herself or when she eats.
In general, your gerbil is curious, harmless, social, very intelligent. She prefers life in community rather than being alone in a cage.
Your gerbil will dig a lot inside his cage. It is a natural behavior. In addition, she can also stand on her feet and stand up. She’s just on the lookout. She can stand in this position to also claim a treat.
The stages of taming on How to tame a gerbil?
When adopted, your gerbil discovers a new environment , a hitherto unknown atmosphere . She must take the time to do it, to discover every nook and cranny of her cage, to look outside.
In fact, when you drop your gerbil for the first time inside its habitat, leave it alone for a few days. She will take her habits, begin to dig, to walk in the pipes, to make a few turns of the wheel and of course, to eat and sleep.
- The approach
After 48 to 72 hours, you can sit in the early evening next to his cage. You talk to him calmly, call him by his name. She will get used to your presence at her side and the sound of your voice.
- The hand in the cage
Dip your hand in the litter and leave it stretched in the cage. You can add a few seeds in the hollow. Your gerbil will come to sniff it, will take in its smell. It may inadvertently bite you. There is no malice. Repeat this gesture for several days.
By force, you gain his confidence. She may put a paw to grab a seed, then 2, and then settle entirely. At this moment, you can try to gently pull her out of her cage.
Important : If she is backing up, you must let her go. Do not force her to stay in your hand. She is not ready yet.
- Take her out of her cage
Confidence has settled. Every time you put your hand in his cage, your gerbil comes nestle comfortably. To remove it from its habitat, do it with delicacy. Do not try to put it on your shoulder, where it could get scared and fall from above. Bring it gently to a surface where you can sit and leave it at your side. A sofa for example. It will evolve on and come on your clothes, in your hand, as it pleases.
If taming did not work?
It only takes a broken confidence to start all over again, with more difficulty than at the beginning. In reality, you must question how you approach your gerbil. You may be clumsy, brutal. Once again, the key word is patience.
Taming your gerbil is normally a formality. It is a very kind rodent, curious, attentive, lively and intelligent. He appreciates above all the company of his congeners and yours once confidence is established.
You must be patient, organized, careful and delicate. These 4 words will prevent you from missing the timing and having to start all over again.
The Body Language of the Gerbil
A very small rodent, your gerbil is fond of good communication. Throughout her life, she will not stop trying to get in touch with you, or with her peers. Because, yes, the gerbil is above all an animal that lives in a group. So, when things go wrong, when things go, when she does not feel well, she does not hesitate to let him know. It’s up to you to be able to decrypt it. We explain how.
Your gerbil is curious, social, of incomparable kindness, mostly sweet. Some are perhaps more bitter, more virulent than others, more aggressive. Others, on the other hand, are more fearful. Each gerbil is different, but all enjoy communicating through their body … and some noises.
Daily, your gerbil can let you know his mood and mental state in a few signals. You must know how to detect them. Here they are :
- She performs rounds. Your gerbil protects his territory and ensures that no one enters without his permission.
- She is afraid that her food will be stolen. You will notice it by giving him food. She nibbles her food like we’re going to steal it from her. Besides, if you try to take her from her mouth, she will cling to it like the apple of her eyes.
- She digs. Do not worry, it’s natural behavior. Your gerbil spends his time digging. Thus, it needs enough substrate to satisfy this desire.
- She’s eating away at her bars. It can manifest its boredom, and it will be necessary to occupy it more. She can also let you know that her cage is too small. You will have to think about enlarging it.
- She licks the windows of the terrarium. This is a fairly classic behavior in a young gerbil, who seeks to drink drops of water dripping along the glass. In an adult, it will be necessary to check if his bottle contains enough water, or if it can hydrate easily.
A gerbil that bites
There are several explanations for this. A gerbil does not bite without reason. So, in the case of a bite, it may be solely your fault. For example, to annoy her, to caress her when she wishes to remain quiet, to have badly manipulated her and thus to have hurt her. His bite is then a legitimate reaction to an ill-being. Another malaise is that of an underlying disease. Your gerbil may try to make you understand that she is not doing well. In this case, we also find other behaviors such as a lethargy, a gerbil that remains prostrate in its corner, not really moving. Do not hesitate to take him to a veterinarian quickly.
Body language between gerbils
- A nose-to-nose . This is how gerbils present themselves to each other. They try to see if they belong to the same group.
- Gerbils do not hesitate to clean the bodies of other gerbils in their group.
- The squeak is the traditional language of gerbils them. This is how they communicate and understand each other. You just have to react if that squeak turns into a scream.
Aggression in the gerbil
It happens very often that gerbils fight each other. Struggles that can turn into bloodshed and drama without your intervention. You will have to recognize them and, if possible, anticipate them.
- The boxing is still only the phase of fun . We must not intervene yet, but keep a close eye on developments. At this point, 2 gerbils clash, standing on their hind legs, and try to impress the opponent. As long as there is no scream, there is no reason to be alarmed.
- When you see blood on the tail of a gerbil , when they sleep on their own, or when you hear little shrieks of a gerbil when another passes by , you can legitimately begin to worry. This can quickly escalate. The best and separate them, maybe permanently. Otherwise, you risk fighting until you die .
- Your gerbil can show frightened or timid . In this case, she will kick her foot . She can also run fast. Finally, she can manifest this feeling by a raised tail .
In all cases of a trace of aggression or fighting between gerbils, you must imperatively bring you gloves to approach them. Their claws can hurt a lot and severely cut you. Better to take all precautions before intervening in the middle of a cage.
Your gerbil will show you his mood according to some of his behaviors. As a gregarious animal, she will also have a way of communicating with her fellow creatures in a particular way. You will have to watch all this closely, because a fight is often started quickly, and can end up in a bloodbath that should be avoided.
Hamster vs Gerbil – As a pet most often choose a hamster, forgetting that there are other rodents who will perfectly cope with this role, for example, gerbil.
This miniature animal is placed on the palm and has a long tail (about 10 cm). To determine the choice of whom it is better to purchase, you need to know the behavior of hamsters and gerbils, as well as some rules for their content.
Hamster and Gerbil species
The most fascinating species of hamster is the Syrian Golden Hamster (or “teddy bear”). He lives from two to three years and feels good only in solitude.
Dwarf species (Siberian, Jungar, Chinese) are much smaller in size than the “Syrians.” They are more sociable and can live in pairs.
Gerbils in the world very much. Mostly Mongolian gerbils get into our house. They do not tolerate loneliness, so it is better to buy two animals at once. Male and female will necessarily bring offspring.
Lifestyle Gerbil Vs Hamster
The hamster can differ quite strong and whimsical character. It is active only at night and has a reputation as a “biting animal.” If you constantly wake him up during the day, he starts to hurt and can bite, so families with young children are not recommended to start hamsters.
Gerbils are active during the day, which allows the child to enjoy the observation of these tender animals. But we must bear in mind that they love to run away from an open cell and have not very good eyesight. When the gerbil is walking around the house, all family members should be especially careful.
The main rules in the care are the same:
- You need a large cage, which is placed away from the sun and drafts. Bedding can serve as hay, shredded paper, aspen chips. Pine cannot be used, as this tree is harmful to both hamsters and gerbils.
- It is advisable to install a wheel and a small box with an inlet in the cage. For the tunnels suitable empty cardboard tubes of paper towels.
- In the cage should always be fresh water. It must be changed daily. It is best to use an inverted bottle with a pipe.
The differences are as follows:
- Gerbils travel through the tunnels during the day, and children often watch them with pleasure. It is also desirable to put a smooth and clean stone in the cage. It will serve as an observation deck, as these animals are very curious.
- Gerbils love to play. They should be provided with toys that do not have any openings where a long tail can get stuck. You can not give items made of soft plastic or cardboard: they will immediately be chewed and torn.
Nutrition: Gerbil Vs Hamster
In pet shops for rodents, there is a large selection of ready-made pellets that contain seeds, grains, corn. Neither gerbils, nor hamsters should be given potatoes, onions, beans, rhubarb, chocolate, and sweets, but there are some peculiarities in feeding:
- For gerbils, mixtures of seeds, grains, and dried vegetables with a 12 percent protein content and 6 percent fat content are suitable. Hamsters every 2-3 days, you can add seeds, nuts, alfalfa, spinach, lettuce, carrots and apples to your diet.
- Gerbils are very fond of sunflower seeds but do not be tempted to constantly replenish their cup for food. It is important to alternate the sunflower with fresh vegetables – carrots, lettuce, turnip, and broccoli.
- Sweet fruits (apples and bananas) should be introduced into the diet of gerbils very carefully and gradually.
Health: Hamster Vs Gerbil
Signs of malaise and hamsters and gerbils are weight loss, runny nose, diarrhea, lethargy, and matted fur.
Hamsters are more susceptible to respiratory diseases, which can become infected even from humans.
Gerbils are susceptible to parasite infestation – fleas and lice. In this case, you will need to sanitize the entire cage and surrounding objects.
As soon as the first symptoms of malaise appear, you should immediately show your pet to the veterinarian. With good care, a hamster can live in your house for two years, and a gerbil – up to 4 years.
Do you prefer a hamster or gerbils?
Which pet is right for you? If you have “limited” space at home but still want a pet that knows how to give you affection, that is intelligent and responsive, let’s see who can do it for you. Always remember to ADOPT, in this way you will give a dignified life to the little creatures who need it.
HABITAT – Hamster and Gerbils
Hamster: lives ONLY and needs a space of at least 60×40 cm if we speak of a dwarf hamster, and 75×45 cm of the cage if we speak of a golden one. To add, unless you have a hamster, there are evening walks of varying length depending on the character of the hamster. Socialization is very simple because when the hamster walks we can sit on the ground and he will approach “spontaneously” exploring.
Gerbil: depending on the number of gerbils you want, space is variable. For a couple (for heaven’s sake, not intended as male or female or you find 40 gerbils in two months!) Composed of m + mo f + f, it takes at least one 75×45 cm cage with a high bottom. The gerbils love to dig: as you can see in the various video … even if who knows how much time is needed for cleaning! A good layer of litter, games, gnawable houses: everything contributes to the welfare of these small animals. The gerbil’s love walks: obviously, if you have a 3-meter case you can, if you wish, postpone, but if you have a simple cage, a trip in the evening in the corridor is not bad. The gerbils jump a lot and gnaw a lot. Carefully cover the cables.
FOOD: Hamster Vs Gerbil
Hamster: the basis of the diet are grains and vegetables. It is very easy to create their seed mix and if you want you can also do it with items that are in the supermarket in the cereals and dry soups sector. For vegetables, of course, you can imagine that a person with a balanced diet will always have them at home, so it is very easy to “feed” your small rodent.
Gerbillo: ditto, eat grain and basic vegetables. He also loves nuts like hamster, but watch out for fat!
Veterinary care: Hamster and Gerbil
Both of these rodents need a veterinarian specializing in exotic animals – a generic is NOT adequate.
Hamster: the hamster is very fond of his biped. Even if the hamster bites, however, it perfectly recognizes those who treat it with dignity, those who feed it, change it, look after it, replace its litter box, etc. On average, rodents are very intelligent and interactive. As said, then, during the walks it is very easy for the hamster to come near you, nibble at you, give you some lick, “call” and etc. Surely, therefore, we would classify the hamster as very sociable.
Gerbil: in short, here I have some doubts. Surely the gerbils among them make a lot of company, but if you simply shut them up in a display case, you can do nothing but admire them during their excavation works. Let’s say it’s a matter of time and taste: if you have time to let the gerbils out every night, obviously socialization will be easier, if they stay behind glass, even if the habitat is large, they will simply remain an animal to watch. The gerbil is not so “brilliant” we say, but obviously understands its name, comes to take the evening rewards, etc.
Have you done a reflection on who is right for you?
Dangerous objects for Gerbil + Essential Accessories – Very nice rodent, your gerbil has many assets to make. She is sensitive, endearing, sociable and quite lively. She also likes to have spaces to be entertained throughout the day. So, she can eventually get out of her cage and enjoy the floor of your house. In this case, you will probably need to take some precautions to avoid endangering your pet’s life. Here are our explanations and advice.
In the same way as some foods, some objects are considered dangerous for your gerbil. Some may even be ” toxic ” if ingested. So, if you plan to let out this small ball of hair in your home, you will have to anticipate and pay attention to what you leave lying around.
Dangerous objects inside his cage
Forget any bulky object, which could be a danger in case it falls on your gerbil. It could crush him and kill him. Do not place too many objects in height. This could increase the risk of falling, and therefore more or less serious injuries. Finally, avoid sharp objects .
In his cage, your gerbil will walk on a litter. The latter must be adapted . As with all rodents, you will soon forget to install a litter made of wood chips . It turns out to be harmful. Same, do not choose newsprint. On the other hand, you must opt for plant litter , flax , corn or hemp , or even a bedding of cellulose or cotton . Although it can be particularly hot in the summer.
As an object, we can evoke not without difficulty accessories such as bowls for the water of your gerbil. Bowl to avoid since it can quickly overturn and make water consumption unsuitable . You would rather opt for a bottle .
Dangerous objects outside his cage
Once outside, your gerbil could run many dangers. Thus, it will have to evolve in a clean, cleaned and disinfected environment . Small rodent, it remains fragile and likely to develop several pathologies .
You will also be careful to hide the electrical wires that litter the walls and sometimes your floors. Curious by nature, your gerbil will not be praying to nibble one or two sons lying around. Beware of electrocution, which is watching.
In parallel, make sure that it can not reach a garbage bag , a plastic bag or any other “hollow” container. This is also the case of vases, drawers . She might not get by on her own, and in some cases risk ending up in the trash.
If your gerbil has the freedom to wander in a room in your house, she must not be able to go anywhere . Parts are too dangerous for her. Thus, you will make sure to close the door and you will try to close them well. The same goes for the windows , which will have to close well. This is as valuable for preventing it from escaping as to reduce the risk of drafts that could make your rodent sick.
If the room where your gerbil can play has a radiator , it should not be too hot in the winter. Upon contact, your pet may burn badly.
In parallel, avoid connecting your gerbil in freedom and another pet , like a dog or a cat. This could sometimes end badly. Better to take no chances.
Finally, you will be particularly careful that your pet does not come into contact with chemicals , that it does not go into a sink or that it does not play in your sofa bed . If the mechanism were to close it, it would be crushed.
These poisonous plants For your Gerbil
These are not objects, strictly speaking, but plants can be as dangerous as an electric wire. Ingestion of those listed below may lead your gerbil to death. Thus, you must avoid contact with: azalea, anthurium, aloe, buttercup, colchicum, dieffenbachia, fern, hyacinth, ivy, cassava, lily of the valley, narcissus, primrose, sage, violet.
Putting your gerbil in your home is a great way to fill it with joy. However, many precautions must be taken to reduce the risk of injury or death. Indeed, each object can represent a danger for this very small rodent. From electric cables to plants, to furniture, vases, garbage bags or even chemicals. You must also be careful that she can not escape from the room where she will be free. Unless you do not want to find her again one day …
Essential accessories for a gerbil’s cage
Your Gerbil arrives at your home. To feel good and confident, she will have several accessories previously purchased. This is the only condition to have a rodent happy to choose your home. This will reduce his anxiety state and contribute to his well-being. We advise you on the accessories to buy.
Apart from her manipulation, which she likes, your Gerbil must be able to entertain, rest, eat and groom herself. These repeated daily actions will be a sign of her well-being and, above all, of the fact that she has everything to do with it. Thus, it is advisable to buy him several accessories essential to his domestic life, alone or to several. As a reminder, your Gerbil, alone, will soon be bored. It is a gregarious animal that appreciates the presence of congeners.
Essential accessories for its food
No hay, as for Octodons or Guinea Pigs. Your Gerbil feeds almost exclusively on pellets, which meet all your dietary needs. Thus, its cage must have a bowl of earthenware or metal , so that it does not tip easily. It will be the perfect place to distil the pellets dear to your rodent.
The latter will also have to hydrate. Therefore, it is necessary to attach a bottle of water to the bars of his cage. At a good height, the bottle is an important part of his place of life. One should avoid preferring a bowl of water , which tends to spill too easily. Water can become unsuitable and no longer be good for consumption. However, before buying a baby bottle , make sure your Gerbil can drink well. This requires a technique that not all have.
In any case, the accessories useful for its food should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice a week.
The essential accessories of its rest area
The habitat of your Gerbil is indispensable for its development and rest . The habitat is not its cage, but rather a place, inside, where it can take refuge and feel safe . This habitat can take different forms, such as a wooden cabin or a simple pipe.
However, the Gerbil often builds its own nest . You only have to put him in some available materials such as coconut wood or dg toilet paper and tissues . His ingenuity will surely surprise you. She will use whatever you give her (avoid plastic, PVC or toxic materials if she ingests them) to build her rest area. As a diurnal animal , the Gerbil will spend most of his days there.
The essential accessories of its hygiene corner
The Gerbil is a rodent very clean , with impeccable hygiene . You do not have to worry about it, since she herself cleans herself daily. For this, you must simply install him, and change him regularly , his bathing earth . The latter is arranged in a bath tub also adapted to the size and morphology of your rodent. In this land, your Gerbil will roll there daily to remove excess sebum and prevent parasites from clinging to it. This “sand” will allow him to polish his hair , to make it brighter andsilky . You will have to change this bathing earth daily .
In addition, your Gerbil must have a litter under his feet (avoid the chips of softwood) to fulfill his needs whenever he wants.
Accessories for playing and entertaining
Your Gerbil needs games to be entertained and cared for . It can thus spend in a wheel to hamster . There are several models and especially formats. It should not be too big to prevent your rodent from running out. In any case, it must be full . Because, a wheel with bars would take risks inconsiderate to his tail , which could be literally cut off .
Outside the wheel, your Gerbil will be fond of a hammock, like at the Octodon. The latter will serve him as a rest area. She will bask and spend a few moments in her day.
In addition, your pet loves rolls of toilet paper . If the leaves allow him to build his nest, the roll is an element that can be used as a tunnel for example.
Your Gerbil requires fewer accessories than other rodents, including rack point. On the other hand, she will appreciate your little attentions to make her life better and to occupy her daily. For that, you will have to think about:
- A bowl of food for granules, terracotta.
- A bottle of water attached to his bars.
- A rest area with enough to build a nest.
- Rolls of toilet paper.
- A bathing earth and a bathtub.
- A wheel
- A hammock
Hazardous foods for the gerbil (unhealthy food) – The good health of a domestic gerbil goes through its diet. If her diet is not balanced or given an unadapted food she may fall ill. In addition, some foods are not suitable for this small rodent and can cause digestive disorders or, in the worst case, intoxication.
How to feed a domestic gerbil? What does a gerbil eat? What is forbidden food for a gerbil? We give you all the information you need to know about the diet of the gerbil in this article.
The gerbil diet
The gerbil is a rodent essentially granivorous but omnivorous trend. In other words, it feeds on seeds but can tolerate other foods such as vegetables, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and even insects. Her diet when she is in the wild is very varied and gives it all the vitamins and other nutritional benefits it needs.
How to feed your domestic gerbil
Gerbils must have a daily intake of 3% to 5% fat and 15% to 20% protein . To meet their needs, granules for gerbils that can be purchased in pet shops are sufficient. Be careful however to choose only specific food for gerbils, granules for other rodents are not suitable!
There are two different types of gerbil food available commercially: blends and extrudates . For the first, it is a mixture of several seeds, very colorful and attractive for gerbils. But also rich in fat and conducive to sorting. Gerbils often sort their food to eat only what they like, and it’s not often the best in terms of nutrients. In addition to not being economical, sorting can cause deficiencies and other damage. This is why it is advisable to feed its gerbils with extruded, uniquely shaped seeds in which all the nutrients are crushed so that the gerbil can not sort.
In terms of quantity, one tablespoon of extrusions per day per gerbil is sufficient. Added to this is the hay that must be left to the rodent at will to allow him to bite his teeth naturally, it is also a good fiber intake. The hay must be of good quality, that is to say, the greenest possible and must not seem dry or too dusty.
Other foods for domestic gerbils
Pet shops are full of treats of all kinds to please our rodents. These foods are often too rich in sugar and fat and overweight if they are given too regularly. It is better to turn to dried fruits and vegetables such as banana chips or apples instead of buying seed sticks, cookies or the famous “drops”.
Whatever your choice, these foods must remain very rare in the diet of your gerbils. Two to three times a month is more than enough to please them. Fresh fruits and vegetables are more recommended.
Fruits and vegetables
You can give fruits and vegetables to your domestic gerbils however this should not be the basis of their diet! The gerbil is mainly granivorous, fresh foods must remain casual. If your gerbils have never eaten such foods you must start gradually with small pieces to get used to their body otherwise it can cause diarrhea.
In general, when giving fruits and vegetables to gerbils it must remain small: a slice of banana, cucumber, carrot, a broccoli or cauliflower, or a small piece of apple. If the gerbil has not touched what you put in after an hour, remove the fruits and vegetables so they do not rot.
Meat and dairy products
Occasionally gerbils can eat animal protein , but this must be rare. It may be a piece of chicken ham, or other white meat, or a teaspoon of plain yoghurt. They also enjoy a small piece of hard cheese from time to time. Hard boiled eggs can also be donated from time to time, this should also be rare.
Prohibited foods for the gerbil
Some foods should not be given to the gerbil because they are toxic. Cooked fruits and vegetables should not be given in any case, only fresh foods are allowed. The same goes for all the seeds and seeds that must be carefully removed from the fruits you give to your gerbils. Finally, citrus fruits and foods rich in vitamin C are bad for the kidneys of the rodent.
Chocolate, anything that is beans or beans, potatoes, haul and vegetable peels, rhubarb and even salad should not be given to the gerbil. This seems logical, but it is always good to remember: theine, caffeine, and alcohol should not be given to this small rodent.
Hazardous foods for the gerbil
Does your gerbil eat everything? At first sight, yes. Indeed, it is an omnivorous rodent that appreciates the meat diet as well as fruits or vegetables. However, not everything is good for her, who is not aware of what she can or can not ingest. You must be careful in offering him food. We inform you on which to avoid so that the health of your animal does not deteriorate.
Omnivore? Yes, the gerbil is, even if we can also talk about granivore . Indeed, she will be quite fond of seeds and will occasionally eat fruits, vegetables and insects. She can therefore seem to eat everything. There are, however, foods that are forbidden to him . Food that can seriously damage its intestinal flora or worse, its vital organs and may lead to death.
You must be warned of the danger these foods may contain, even in very small quantities.
Totally toxic foods
At first, you will have to forget all traces of chocolate. As good for humans as it is bad for animals and especially rodents. Chocolate contains theobromine , which is a toxic substance . The reactions range from diarrhea to vomiting and even heart attacks . To avoid, therefore!
You will also avoid giving him tea, coffee and alcohol . These 3 drinks can drastically speed up your heart rate, already high in normal times. They would therefore promote attacks and can also damage his brain.
The citrus fruits like lemon, orange and grapefruit should be avoided from your diet because they can have negative effects on his kidneys .
No kernel of fruit (or vegetable) should be ingested by your gerbil. The nuclei contain a substance close to cyanide . Even a small amount can be fatal to your pet.
The nitrate in spinach is bad for your health, like salting too much chips and other appetizers like peanuts , fines and biscuits .
In addition, you should avoid giving him raw eggs, which contain salmonella as well as sweets, which will promote his overweight and obesity, and could develop diabetes.
The potatoes are starchy forget, like all kinds of salads and tomatoes and the raw beans .
Prohibited vegetables and fruits
Despite its appetite for fruits and vegetables , your gerbil can find harmful on its way. It is therefore appropriate to banish them from their potential diet. The following list must disappear from its diet: apricot, asparagus, celery, turnip, squash, zucchini pepper, apple, grapes, sorrel, potato and tomato tops .
Your home may be overgrown with plants , your other passion. You should know that some of them are really toxic for your gerbil. By swallowing them, she is exposed to serious health problems . She could especially die. Thus, it is important to avoid installing plants within reach. Your passion can lead to an accident and thus make your protégé disappear. Plants such as azalea, anthurium, aloe, buttercup, crocus, dieffenbachia, fern, hyacinth, ivy, cassava, lily of the valley, narcissus, primrose, sage or the violetare harmful.
What to deal with food poisoning?
Your gerbil has inadvertently swallowed a dangerous or toxic food. There is not a minute to lose. You must immediately go to your veterinarian. The latter will be able to save your pet if he can. Certain types of food are unfortunately fatal in almost all cases, regardless of the intervention.
At the slightest symptom of food poisoning (vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, lethargy), you need to know the food responsible for it. You must be able to tell your veterinarian. Essential condition to try to save it.
The most serious cases are when the toxins have reached the vital organs of your rodent (brain, heart, liver, lung). In these cases, there is not much to be done except to shorten the suffering.
Safe food for gerbils – A healthy and balanced diet is essential for your gerbil to be serene and healthy. But be careful, these little balls of hair are sensitive, and it is appropriate to respect certain rules inspired by what they find in their natural habitat.
Arid steppes, deserts, rough mountains: this is how the country of origin of the Mongolian gerbil presents itself. She can only survive in this region because her body has adapted perfectly to these difficult conditions.
She does not need a lot of water, and frugal meals of dry grass, grasses, roots, and insects suit her perfectly. The digestive system of gerbils is quickly abused if the food contains a lot of water, sugar, fat or protein because it had adapted to the harsh conditions of his country of origin.
THE BASIC MENU
The basic food of gerbils consists of seeds, cereals, and dried herbs. The daily menu also includes fresh fodder. It can consist of kohlrabi leaves, lemon balm, carrot tops, dandelions, mint, daisies, fennel or mugwort.
Be careful with the fresh fodder that the plants that make it up to do not contain chemical fertilizers or pesticides. When in doubt: Wash dandelions and other plants thoroughly under running water and dry them well before giving them to your gerbil.
Give your gerbil two or three times week insect larvae or mealworms. This is enough to cover your protein needs in a natural way and it also allows you to vary your diet a little.
VEGETABLES AND SNACKS
As there are no vegetables in the natural habitat of gerbils, his digestive system is not always able to digest this type of food rich in water. That’s why you should donate vegetables to your rodent only once a day and only a small portion. Vegetables that are easy to digest are, for example, pepper, salad, carrots, spinach leaves, kohlrabi, tomatoes (without the tail!) And cucumbers, but remember to wash them carefully to remove any possible trace of pesticides. Those difficult to digest are the pulses, potatoes, most cabbages, and onions: do not feed them to the gerbil.
For snacking from time to time, you can offer your gerbil sunflower seeds, hazelnuts or pumpkin seeds. The gerbil, on the other hand, can easily eat fresh twigs, for example, fruit trees or willow.
THE FRUITS for Gerbil?
The fruits are also part of the menu of a gerbil. However, it should not be given all the time especially not with the glitches. They contain a lot of water and sugar and can cause digestive disorders or increase blood sugar levels. As the body of these small animals cannot always eliminate sugar, it can cause, if the food is too rich, type 1 diabetes.
A fruity delicacy can be for example a pear, an apple, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, rose hips or raisins. Above all, do not give it exotic fruits, citrus fruits or tropical fruits. These fruits irritate the lining of the digestive tract and can cause serious digestive disorders.
Remember: just like us, gerbils will have their own preferences, so try to vary the pleasures to find what they are. It’s your turn!
List of foods for gerbils:
- Unsalted peanuts (candies)
- CarrotChicoryCauliflower (Beware: cabbage is dangerous!)
- Pumpkin seeds (candies)
- Sunflower seeds (candies)
- Grass (grass) Dry food mixes – pellets or seeds/cereals
THE 5 RULES TO FOLLOW
- The gerbil must always have food available.
- There are natural whole foods for gerbils, of good quality, without preservatives or dyes.
- Give him, once or twice a day, alternately portions of salad, vegetables, and fruits, previously rinsed.
- From time to time, give him a little treat in his hand.
- Make sure that she always has fresh water in a drinking trough or bottle.
The recommended fruits for your gerbils
The gerbils are seed-eating tends omnivorous . So you can give them fruits as a bonus (especially no citrus fruit and no vitamin C fruit is very toxic for their kidneys, so no orange dr * ops): like apples , bananas , etc …
You will be careful to remove the skin and grains in it because the apple seedscontain cyanide, which can kill them.
Meat and dairy products
Sometimes you can give your gerbils a little (but a little bit) cooked meat(personally I really rarely give it, it only happened to me twice): like chicken ham(this is sure it’s not toxic).
Me, I sometimes give them natural yoghurt with a spoon! They love! (but very little to avoid diarrhea of course). This will complete their diet a bit.
Copraphagia in gerbils
The Coprophagia is defined as the ingestion of feces (the fact that the animal eats his feces). If gerbils do that, do not worry, is that they suffer from a deficiency in vitamins and minerals and they are recycling (by absorbing the vitamins in the droppings).
To avoid this, you must give your gerbils vitamins diluted in the bottle, but be careful, without vitamin C . If they have diarrhea: veterinarian! But a small intestinal transit regulator does not hurt them!
Extras and treats for your gerbils
As I said before, gerbils like variety in their diet . So when we can, we offer them small bonuses .
* Extruded seeds and soufflés:
The extruded seeds and blown (special corn flakes, vegetable patties, rice balls blown) are much appreciated.
Add to this bird seeds (millet, sorghum). Then corn kernels , pumpkin seeds (be careful though, because it’s quite fat), small pieces of nuts (not too huh).
* Cat food:
Then a little kibble for cat if it’s possible (really very very little), for their proteinintake . I would recommend chicken rather than beef croquettes (which already, cause kidney problems in cats, so it is better to avoid for gerbils , because their kidneys are fragile ).
If you can mix several packages in one meal (not before, otherwise you will lose the freshness), your gerbils will party!
* The sweets…
A little dried coconut : gerbils love it! Of apples dried flower petals for chinchillas, ptites washers alfalfa , grass pieces for chinchilla (Chinchilla plants are fine for gerbils because they have the same type of vegetation in nature).
They also like hamsters cookies (I’m not talking about weird gadgets, but what looks like rusks with grains in them). They like it a lot, but it should only be used as a dietary supplement , because of their low nutritional value.
Do not forget the cool bonuses (but still in small quantities eh). If you notice any diarrhea , use a bowel regulator and consult your veterinarian! Gerbils deserve as much care as humans.
Precautions on food – Safe Food for Gerbils
Beware of allergies or ” indigestion “! Any new food must also be introduced very gradually. Even if the gerbils are not very fragile, it is better to take precautions on this side anyway.
Here, I only talked about dry foods to have, if it’s possible. The idea is to offer the same dose per day, same time: 1 tablespoon per gerbil. That way, they do not sort too much: everything will be consumed until the next meal. Do not forget to empty the remains anyway when you change meals!
How much do gerbils cost – If a gerbil was alone in his cage, his lifestyle will not prevent you from making you happy. But a gerbil, like many rodents, prefers to be in the company of other congeners. This is a gregarious animal that enjoys the company of a fellow of the same sex. At the risk of being bored firmly. The prices are given below as an indication should, therefore, be multiplied by 2 in the case where you intend to adopt not one, but 2 gerbils. Note: Please convert the currency to get the equivalent of yours.
Cost to purchase a Gerbils
Think again, the dry price of a gerbil is not excessive. Nevertheless, it represents only a cripple part of what it will cost you throughout its life. Depending on its provenance and race, a gerbil will cost you on average 10 to 15 euros (convert to US), rarely more, sometimes less . Thus, the price in a shelter will often be revised downward, especially if your future protected at a certain age. The professional breeders and individuals engaged mostly right price, instead of pet stores that tend to drive prices up, while the quality is prohibited.
However, it is important to buy a whole bunch of items that will serve your gerbil before it is adopted on its own. Because there is no question of bringing your new rodent home without a minimum be prepared.
Your gerbil will not need an extremely large cage . Of course, the number of animals you hold will be proportional to the size of the cage . Count on average fifty euros . Some are more expensive than othersin particular because of their material or their strength . Others, occasions, can very well do the trick.
Then you will need to buy the basic accessories of your rodent. To know a bowl of food , where you will have its pellets , but also a bottle or a waterer , everything depends on what you prefer. Each time, count € 5 on average. Price that can double according to the material of these elements.
You will not forget the toys as a full wheel (10 €) and a home (up to 20 €) or tunnels (10-15 €).
There will also be food to remember between pellets , hay , herbs and treats . A gerbil will cost you ten euros a month.
Finally, think of the litter on which your rodent will rest. Even if these materials are more expensive (nothing extravagant), opt for hemp, flax or cellulose. It’s always better than wood chips, which will cause health concerns and higher medical costs …
This is the unpredictable expense item . It is difficult to know how much your gerbil will cost you per month and especially per year. Go on at least thirty euros a year. Because this is the simple cost of a routine consultation , which should be done at least once a year.
To this, you may add a sterilization (150 €) or a castration (80-100 €) in the young subject. A drug treatment could push up the bill to ten euros. Count one to several hundred euros for a surgical operation . Result of a tumor or abscess for example.
The place of purchase
The quality of your gerbil will depend essentially on the place of adoption. Some are more recommended than others, because they ensure a better follow-up before putting it back in your hands.
- At a professional breeder
There is not a mass for the gerbil. So those who do their job are certainly passionate . They are committed to passing on their knowledge and making it last . The gerbil is often treated well from birth . She is in contact with the breeder, and therefore with the human. She is well-kept in impeccable conditions . Before any purchase, move around, discuss with the breeder in question and ask all the questions that tease you . In addition to buying a gerbil, you will learn more by talking with him.
- A particular
Again, your future gerbil has had contact with a human before contacting you. It is a pledge of advanced socialization. Nevertheless, the quality of detention is not certain. You must move to check his environment, the cleanliness of his cage. Know his origins, his parents, his past. Many private individuals litter the Internet world. Adoption is simplified but never buy with one click.
- In pet shop
The pet shop is the place to escape par excellence. Healers often do not have the time to devote themselves to these small rodents. They are put in the same cage , breeding among themselves and favoring consanguinity . The genetic defects and hereditary diseases are legion pet . Thus, you will often adopt a gerbil more expensive than normal and less healthy. Forget.
- In refuge
This is an opportunity to give a second chance to a rodent abandoned by his family of origin for many reasons. This gerbil has been cared for by the volunteers of the shelter . She will have been able to resume a normal life while waiting for her to come for her.
The gerbil can quickly cost you several hundred euros a month, without mentioning medical expenses, which can range from simple to fivefold. It is not the most expensive animal on the market. Above all, the main expenses are to be made before adoption. Accessories, foods, and cages are to be anticipated. Then you will have to turn to the most suitable place to adopt your pet. Some are more common than others, especially because they respect the beginning of life of your future rodent.
Which gerbil to choose?
The gerbil is a small rodent very easy to tame. Naturally curious, lively, playful, the gerbil is obviously endearing. If you decide to adopt one (or more preferably), you have made the right choice. Especially since it does not require a particular interview. However, we give you some tips to not be wrong at the time of purchase.
Understand the origin and character of the gerbil
A little history. The gerbil belongs to the family Gerbillinae , which itself is part of Cricétidae , which also give another branch: the hamster . About fifteen genera make up this mammal and more than a hundred species have been recorded in the wild. In their natural environment, we find mainly the gerbil in Africa, China and Mongolia.
The gerbil is a very sociable animal , even in captivity. It is a gregarious rodent . He experiences loneliness when alone. It is thus necessary to adopt at least 2 gerbils of the same sex of the same siblings and before their sexual maturity to avoid any conflict and to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
The gerbil is a particularly clean rodent since it performs its own toilet. You will have a very harmonious relationship with her. She loves cuddling. She is curious, lively, full of vitality and, as a bonus, does not emit any unpleasant smell .
Concerning her rhythm of life , she is diurnal . She sleeps most of the day, so she is active at the beginning of the day or at night. It can gradually adapt to your life, but it will maintain reflexes of rest in full day.
Choose a male or a female?
It does not matter. Let’s say that the female is more likely to mark her territory than the male, especially if you opt for the purchase of 2 female gerbils. Morphologically, the female is slightly larger than the male.
At what age?
It is recommended to wait about 2 months to adopt your gerbil. At this stage, she will be weaned and will no longer need her mother. Before, she will be prone to behavioral problems because she has not had time to be perfectly ready to leave the family cocoon.
What kind of gerbil to choose?
There are several species in the gerbil, all with different physical characteristics.
- The dipodillus simoni includes no dress since it is a naked gerbil . The tail is short.
- The lesser gerbil has a uniform dress on her back. The tail is longer than the body.
- The Meriones crassus has a silky, shiny robe. This gerbil has white hairs on the belly and white nails.
- The Meriones libycus has a gray tawny robe. The tail can reach 20 centimeters which ends with several black hairs.
- The Meriones shawl is the biggest hope of the gerbil. In adulthood, it can reach 20 centimeters in length, with a tail not exceeding 18 centimeters. His dress is rather dark.
- The Meriones vinogradovi is slightly smaller than the shawl.
- The Meriones hurrianae has a rough coat, short and in no way silky.
- The Pachyuromys duprasi has a silky coat, a rather short tail (60 cm) without necessarily a lot of hair to cover it.
- The Psammomys obesus has a red dress.
- The Rhombomys opimus has small ears.
The Meriones unguiculatus is the one that is found most often in individuals. It has an original color that is agouti with a clear belly, a tricolor on the back (gray, yellow and darker). However, some have mutated:
- A unique color : black, slate, ivory, saffron, blue
- A gloved coat : body and dark ends
- The albino with a white coat and red eyes
- The pied gerbil , which has mottled patterns.
Where to adopt my gerbil
- A pet shop . Be very careful. Some pet shops do not take care of their animals and rodents at all. If you opt for one or more female gerbils, they could have been mixed with males. Therefore, it could be in the making at the time of purchase. The health of these rodents is not always taken seriously by sometimes unscrupulous employees.
- A refuge, an association. This is the best way to give a second life to these small rodents who can live on average 4 years in captivity. They were often pampered by volunteers who were passionate about everything. If their first experience with a human has gone wrong, your future gerbil has since regained some confidence through the work of the healers.
- At a professional breeder. It is often the pledge to have a gerbil corresponding to your expectations. The professional breeder, in most cases, knows his subject perfectly and has taken care of your future pet. However, always check that his living conditions have been favorable. Observe his relationship with his owner before making any purchase.
- In an individual . Here too, you will have to check the environment in which your future gerbil bathes since its birth, its behavior towards the human. She must be curious, lively, moving, and not prostrate or be afraid as soon as the owner approaches her.
Choosing a gerbil in good health
A gerbil in good health presents:
- A shiny, silky, clean coat
- A clean and unsoiled behind
- Well cut and aligned teeth
- Dry eyes and nose, without flow
- Lively behavior, curious, alert
- No balls under the skin
- No crust or visible sore
Our Final Opinion
There are many species of gerbils. All gather nevertheless on a generality: the gerbil is an animal easy to tame, curious, lively, pleasant to watch evolve in its cage and with its congeners. Because, yes, gregarious rodent, the gerbil prefers to live with at least one of his siblings. They must be put together very early to avoid any conflict and bloody fight.
In addition, you should check during adoption that your gerbil has all the signs of good health. This will be the sine qua non for a rich life until around 4 years old.
Dying gerbil symptoms – gerbils are quite robust and resilient pets if they are well cared for. It is basic that they are housed in a proper cage, have a good diet and clean water always available. Any change in their behavior such as lethargy, weight loss, sudden aggressiveness, dirty hair or agitated breathing can be indicative that something is not right.
List of the main problems suffered by gerbils:
Falls: the gerbils that have access to the outside of the cage, spoiled or escaped, can suffer accidental falls, either from a table, bed, bookshelf etc. The falls if they are of great height taking into account the size of the animal can cause serious injuries like fractures, contusions and even the death. It is possible that we find the animal lethargic, immobile and even in shock. In this case, it is necessary to place it in a comfortable and warm place and notify the veterinarian promptly.
Heat hits: gerbils are quite susceptible to heat stroke if they are exposed to direct sunlight or housed in a very hot room and especially if they have no access to shade or water source. A gerbil with heat stroke is weak, dehydrated and can convulse and die. You have to go urgently to the veterinarian. If at that time we can not, you have to put it in a cool place and wet your extremities with warm water (avoid cold water) and if you have swallowing reflex give it with a syringe or a dropper some water or sugary whey.
lesions on the tail: the tail of gerbils is quite delicate and their skin comes off very easily. This can happen if the gerbil is held by the tail, if it is fought with another partner or if the tail is hooked with some element of the cage. It is very spectacular since its tail is with the musculature and the bone exposed. In that case, you can not do anything but amputate the exposed area, which must be done by a veterinarian. Leaving the piece of lacerated tail is a significant risk of new injuries and infections that can compromise your life.
Wounds and cuts: either by fights, by scrapes with elements in the cage or by self-mutilation, a gerbil can show wounds in any part of his body. Superficial wounds rarely need intervention and heal quickly. Larger or bad looking wounds require cures and even sutures. We can heal a wound with a little diluted iodine.
Dental overgrowth: it is not a frequent condition in gerbils, but it can be the case if they have any malformation in the mouth or do not wear them properly due to a bad diet or bad lodging.
List of the main diseases that affect gerbils
– Respiratory problems : may be caused by allergies (especially to the substrate) or by infectious processes, whether contagious or opportunistic. A respiratory problem in a gerbil can be serious and can be the cause of a sudden death if it is not treated.
– Diarrhea: diarrhea can have a nutritional or infectious origin (viral, bacterial or parasitic). A gerbil with diarrhea is easily dehydrated. The visit to the veterinarian is mandatory in this case, without wasting time. One of the causes of diarrhea is Tizzer’s disease, highly contagious and lethal.
– Dermatological problems : either external parasites, ringworm or scabies. It must be borne in mind that some cutaneous diseases of gerbils are zoonotic. The veterinarian must perform the relevant tests to know what is the reason for the dermatitis or alopecia of the gerbil and thus give it the appropriate treatment.
– Masses: especially in gerbils of a certain age, the appearance of masses may be indicative of tumors. The tumors must be removed surgically, today there are many clinics prepared for it.
Despite its status as a healthy rodent, your gerbil is quite sensitive to bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. Like all rodents, any disease can be fatal.
Signs of a sick gerbil
Your gerbil is surely sick if it has any of the following symptoms:
- She has dull hair
- The back is dirty, following a diarrhea
- She does not eat anymore, lean
- She remains prostrate in a corner, do not move too much
- Her belly is swollen
- She has trouble breathing
- She has crusts or sores on her skin
All these signs should prompt you to consult your veterinarian.
The origin can be various : the stress, a litter too dusty, the overpopulation. If you do not take enough care of your gerbil, it will be prone to this nasal dermatitis which is manifested by a redness of skin that can drift in crust. This dermatitis can become chronic , resulting in a poor prognosis for your gerbil. The treatment will consist of cleaning the cage, changing the litter and putting a less irritating one. You will also have to make sure to limit his anxious state. Your veterinarian will probably prescribe an antibiotic as well as a local disinfection to do.
The moth is a very limiting parasite for your gerbil and even for you, since you may be transmitted. Your rodent will have dry depilated areas before they drift to a fairly large state of redness . The face is the first affected area, before the legs and trunk. The treatment is based on enilconazole.
A necrosis of the tail
This only happens when you have mishandled your pet. The tail can break and promote necrosis. In fact, it will be necessary to amputate the part of the reached tail.
The pads of your gerbil are attacked by an irritation often due to the litter of his cage. Blisters form under his feet. To prevent this from happening, go to your veterinarian quickly for proper treatment.
It is the common disease of all rodents. It has several origins: food, congenital, traumatic. In fact, it causes a slimming of your gerbil, which will eat less or no more. The salivation can take over. Your pet weakens, which promotes the appearance of bacteria . The treatment consists of pruning each week if the cause comes from there. In the case of a poor diet, it will be necessary to rebalance the diet .
Your gerbil dies in 90% of cases . The salmonellosis is transmissible to humans . It is therefore better to find out quickly to clean all the habitat of your rodent and try to save it if possible. Your gerbil will show slimming, dejection, hair loss and diarrhea to promote dehydration. Sometimes no clinical signs are observed, but your gerbil dies.
Unfortunately, diarrhea is often fatal to your gerbil. Indeed, they can come from a bad diet, a bacterium or a virus. In all cases, it causes significant dehydration. Without a quick reaction, your rodent can die in a few hours.
Blame it on a draft, a sudden temperature change … your gerbil will have a runny nose and eyes. Attention, this disease must be differentiated from nasal dermatitis , which has similar symptoms. The treatment consists of local disinfection and antibiotic therapy.
It plays a role in the appearance of nasal dermatitis . It can also hypertrophy. Your vet might choose to excise it.
Its origin may be parasitic, bacterial, an excess of cerumen or a tumor. Your gerbil moves with your head tilted. A rapid intervention is necessary for the treatment to act and prevent irreversible sequelae.
They often reach older gerbils. Thus, one can find in all the regions of the body. They are often malignant, especially in the male because it is often on his ventral gland. Euthanasia is often recommended because the gerbil, too old, is unlikely to wake up.
Mongolian gerbil – The rodents that we commonly call “gerbils” and that are sold as pets are actually gerbils of Mongolia ( Meriones unguiculatus ). They belong to the family of murids just like rats and mice. The true gerbils are rodents of the dipod family. But, given that everyone in Spain knows the gerbils of Mongolia as “gerbils”, we will call them in this way to avoid confusion
They are desert animals and in the wild they live in tunnels, where they protect themselves from extreme temperatures, although they do not hibernate. They eat basically seeds, herbs, roots, etc., but they are omnivorous and do not waste an insect if they can. They are very social and live in colonies usually composed of a male, a female and their young offspring.
As adults, its size is between that of a mouse and that of a rat, having a weight between 50 and 120 grams. Its tail is about the same length as its body and is provided with hair.
The original gerbils are of a color called “golden agouti”, which is brown with black and blonde frosts and with light-colored tummy, but based on crosses for decades, the breeders have achieved more than 30 different varieties of color.
They were taken to the field of research more than 50 years ago and outnumbered rats and other rodents in laboratory tests thanks to their great intelligence. His docility and easy care led some researchers to start taking some copies as pets and so began his life as a pet.
They are friendly animals with the human being, they do not usually bite if they are not mistreated or manipulated incorrectly, they are tremendously quick and agile, but above all, what characterizes them is their great curiosity. In addition, their different personalities make them fascinating animals to observe.
They are active both day and night, alternating periods of sleep and activity. They build nests to sleep and usually do all together, especially if it’s cold. It is not convenient to wake them up when they sleep so as not to irritate them.
In addition to eating and sleeping, they spend a lot of time playing with any object that you offer them, although sometimes they get tired once their curiosity is satisfied.
Roer is one of their main daily occupations because, like good rodents, they have teeth that grow throughout their lives and must wear them out so they do not think they are serious eating problems. Therefore, one of its ways to explore or play with something, is to destroy it with its powerful incisors that can kill most of the accessories of rodent cages that usually sell, especially if they are plastic. But what really fascinates them are the cardboard rolls of toilet paper and kitchen. Their favorite pastime is to destroy them, so everyone who has gerbils should store as many as they can for them to enjoy.
They also spend a lot of time digging, or at least trying, because in nature they build tunnels like burrows, so they can spend a lot of time scratching, which also helps them to wear their nails. If they are given the opportunity to do so, it is very curious to see how they use their hind legs to propel back the excavated material and how their head acts as a ram to remove everything that bothers them.
They are very clean and, not only groom themselves, but also do it to other individuals of their clan. In addition they do not usually have a very strong odor, so it is not necessary to clean their living quarters very often. They can hold perfectly three weeks or more without their cage or fish tank being very dirty.
They tend to crawl because they have an odoriferous gland in their belly that they use to mark with their smell all the territory, including the other individuals, all the objects within their reach and ourselves if we put their hands close. It’s their way of claiming everything for them. This behavior is more intense in males.
They are very athletic and not only because of how fast they are, but because of their great jumping ability, reaching to rise from the ground more than half a meter if they propose it. It also tends to surprise the ease with which they get on two legs, sometimes fully upright. They are also very good at climbing, which together with their intelligence makes them good “escapists”.
It should also be noted that some are scary, some more than others, and often run to hide or jump suddenly up because they startle. It does not have to be because of loud noises, because there are many times and they do not pay attention to them. Their way to warn other gerbils of what they consider a potential danger is to drum with their hind legs, although that noise is also made when they are courting to mate.
They have good hearing and that makes that a lot of the noise they make, they emit at frequencies that we do not get. But sometimes they are heard as if they were praying. Depending on the case, it may be due to fear, to protest something or simply to taste when they are groomed. They also have good eyesight and good smell.
The zeal of the females deserves a separate mention, since it changes their behavior completely. They enter a state of great desperation to mate with the male that, once caught the provocation, is dedicated to chasing the female and assemble it every few seconds. In fact, gerbils have the record of matings per hour in the animal world. The females usually have heat every four days and lasts between 12 and 24 hours.
Keep in mind that females are usually stronger than males and, if they see another female in heat, they usually try to prevent it from mating to maximize the chances of survival of their own hypothetical offspring. This can sometimes lead to fights and therefore it is not recommended in any case or have groups of adults of different sexes (except in the case of a male and female couple, of course), or groups of adult females over three (although some believe that three are already many). Neither should groups of males of more than four be held, because there may be conflicts of dominance as well. Similarly, gerbils should never be mixed with other animals, even if they are rodents.
Still, gerbils are social animals and if they are alone they are sad. Only in exceptional cases, such as elderly gerbils that have been left alone, it might be inappropriate to find a partner. Therefore, it is best to have them in same-sex couples, so that they are happy and avoid being raised. Even so, putting a partner in a gerbil deserves a separate chapter, since it is far from simple. It is a laborious process that only works in certain circumstances and that is called “split cage method”. We will explain this method later.
Also, it must be explained that if a clan of gerbils separates for more than 24 hours, it will be divided and if we want them to be together again, it will be necessary to study if they can apply the split cage method or not, but in no case case you have to risk simply putting them together.
It is not usual to bite the human being, but if they are bothered a lot or if we smell food, we probably receive a small bite as a warning or test, which will not pierce the skin. If they truly feel cornered, they can react in self-defense and hold us firmly, in which case we will have to blow them hard in the face so they can let go and clean the wound if they bleed us. There is no need to worry because gerbils can not infect any important disease.
We must also explain that gerbils have an escape method from their predators with which we must be very careful. If they are held by their tails, they pull hard and detach from it to be able to flee and save life. Therefore, it must be taken into account that under no circumstances should a gerbil be held by the tail . If it is done, the most normal thing is that the tail of the animal is amputated, so that part or all of the bone remains in the air and days later, after drying, they are detached, thus remaining for life.
Food and water
Gerbils are omnivores, but that does not mean they should eat anything. We can divide the food that is appropriate in several types:
Dry food and feed
It is the basis of your diet. We can buy a quality feed or we can simply manufacture the mix ourselves. Some people even resort to herbalists to mix all the basic ingredients.
We can take as a base food for hamsters and we can add cereals such as corn or “corn flakes”, wheat, oats, barley, etc. For example, a “muesli” type mixture that did not contain sugar could be worth it.
The seeds and grains are important and you can add to the above food for parrots, parrots or parakeets, but watching that in the end there is not an excess of sunflower or pumpkin seeds, as they make them fat.
Although they love them, it is convenient to restrict them , especially if our gerbils are overweight.
In addition, nuts (raw and unsalted) are also one of your favorite treats and therefore should not be given too much. However, they will enjoy walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, etc. when we offer them
- BUNNY : for gerbils (Rennmaus Traum)
- OXBOW : Healthy Handfuls
- JR FARM : Food for gerbils (Rennmäusefutter)
- SUPREM : Gerri Jerbos
Gerbils are less susceptible to diarrhea than other rodents, however they are not immune and therefore, they should be accustomed to all fruits and vegetables little by little. If the gerbil is not accustomed to eating vegetables and fresh fruit, it must be introduced following the 3 day rule.
It is essential that they take this type of food and it is usually recommended to administer it every other day, not as a supplement to dry food. Some believe that this does not require drinking water, but it is a serious mistake.
You can give them: chard, spinach, escarole, endive, broccoli, lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, watercress, arugula, cucumber, celery, carrot, turnip, alfalfa, zucchini, peas, red cabbage, apple, pear, peach, apricot, fresquilla, grape , strawberry, etc.
Insects and small invertebrates
They can be given from time to time crickets and tenebrios, which sell in the shops of animals and do not be scared if you ever hunt a moth, ant or spider, but can go perfectly without this type of diet if the feed has the correct amount of protein.
There are foods that can be given occasionally, such as bread, biscuit, cheese, yogurt or some dairy (although there are many people who defend that they hurt them), chips and the like, however it should not be done by norm but at most exceptionally.
They can also take some cooked foods, such as potato or rice.
Being desert animals, gerbils take little water, but even if they are fed fruits and vegetables, they need water at all times. They should therefore have a drinking fountain and the water should be changed every few days.
It is convenient to know how to differentiate between males and females because an error can become a long line of mouths to feed, so let’s give the clues how to do it.
An adult male has very visible testicles. They are two enormous bulges that are found under the base of the tail and that seem to have the shape of a cushion.
In case there are doubts, the fundamental thing to differentiate between males and females is to see the distance between the anus and the penis or vagina. If the genitals and anus are very close together it means that it is a female and if they are more separated it is that it is a male. However, when gerbils are not adults, differentiating them can be difficult for the uninitiated.
If the gerbils are babies without hair yet, the females can see three or four pairs of breasts in the belly.
Gerbils are not animals that need special care, however there are things that should be clarified.
Its temperature should be between 18 and 28 degrees Celsius and you should never leave them exposed to the open air or drafts. The fact that they get a little sun every day is good for them to absorb vitamins and for calcium to fix well on their teeth, but high temperatures are dangerous, so it should not be done in summer.
We can house them in cages, fish tanks, terrariums, etc. and as for the space they need, there are those who say that the minimum is 0.25 m² of surface per gerbil, but honestly, the better the more space we give them. Above all it is important that we think that an aquarium of many liters of capacity does not do much good if the surface in which they can move is small. Therefore, if space is available, in its living quarters, you can take advantage of the height to build more floors or structures through which they can climb. For this it must be taken into account that the floors must be able to allow them to stand upright on two legs and therefore they must have a minimum height of 15 centimeters.
There are people who defend the use of aquariums in front of cages, because they think they are less exposed to air currents, which are easier to clean and above all that do not allow out the substrate that gerbils will undoubtedly spread throughout the interior thanks to his excavator instinct. For those who decide to use them, there are all kinds of accessories to hang as drinkers, exercise wheels, etc.
About the cages, because there are many that are designed for rodents, but what at first seems well built, in a short time can be revealed as little effective. For example you have to think that single-story cages are usually very small and that multi-storey cages often use grid floors designed so that all the dirt falls down, but they are real traps for the legs of any small rodent. . Many fractures and amputations have produced these soils and, of course, must be covered with solid materials that allow them to step on without problems.
Gerbils bite everything from plastic to destroy it . If the cage is plastic or contains many toys of that material it will end up being totally or partially destroyed by the powerful incisors of the gerbils.
Anyway it is very easy to buy a large cage, parrots or other animals, and reform inside to become the home of our jerseys. Build a few floors, buy stairs for birds or use cardboard tubes that are very strong for access to plants, etc. They even sell “kits” to make those transformations, although they are usually made of plastic, unfortunately.
What you have to watch out for in the cages is that the bars on the walls are not too far apart so that they can put their heads or that they are too narrow and they can have some stuck limbs.
Regarding how to clean the cage, the best thing is water and a little soap next to an old toothbrush that are perfect to handle between the bars.
The substrate to use with our little friends is another cause of discord, since many preparations of wood chips for rodents are sold, which is inexplicable, since they have developed allergies to several types of woods, especially pine and cedar, and even worse if they are treated. If we want our gerbils to be healthy, we should avoid having suspicious wooden elements in their cages.
The best and cheapest is to use only toilet paper. They love it and they spend good times destroying it to fit it to their liking and to build a good nest. Newsprint is best not to use because newspaper ink is toxic.
You should not use cotton or fabrics either, as they will fray and cut them, and that is very dangerous because the threads are strong enough to cut mouths, fingers and even limbs in such small animals.
There is another type of substrate that is very good and can even be eaten without problems, which is the one made with ground or crushed corn cobs, also known in South America as marlo de choclo. In Spain there are brands that commercialize it, however we return to the problem of digging instinct if we have cages, since they can spread it to us everywhere.
Another issue to talk about is the exercise that our gerbils do.
To be healthy, the best thing is that they can enjoy out-of-the-box walks and in controlled environments, although there are many people who never take them out.
However, in order to get the gerbils to play, it must always be under our supervision and in gerbil-proof places, that is, without wires to gnaw, where they can not destroy anything important with their teeth and of course with great care of Do not step on them, that they can escape or that one of our other pets finds them. It can be done on bathroom floors (by lowering the toilet lids, which jump a lot and there has already been some drowning), on a bed, on a table not very high (putting cushions or pillows on the floor so that if fall do not get hurt), etc. It is necessary to clarify that those balls where the rodent enters inside and it is released to him by the house, find them quite stressful in general and above all, it leaves them exhausted and it would be necessary to be careful with them.
If we take them out to play, they will enjoy a lot of snooping around and it is easy to clean up what they can dirty. Even if your accommodation is a cage, what you can do is take out the entire cage to your game site and simply open the door. They alone will enter it again to sleep when they want, because they usually recognize that as their home.
To capture them, if necessary, it is best to use a medium length tube because the gerbils are fascinated by them and will end up going inside. It is much better than walking chasing them everywhere and ending up holding them in a bad way.
It is convenient to provide our gerbils with an exercise wheel. Some do not seem to like them very much, but others really enjoy them. Yes, there are wheels and wheels. The plastic usually last as long as they find their weak point and gnaw it, so it is convenient that they are metallic.
The size of the wheel should allow them to be stretched on it and therefore they are not worth those that sell for dwarf hamsters. A wheel between 20 and 30 centimeters in diameter is adequate.
Be very careful with the tails and limbs because, if the wheel does not meet minimum safety requirements, there may be amputations. The ideal is that the floor of the wheel is solid (without grid) and that the wheel does not have spokes. If our toy does not comply, it is very easy to cover everything with cartons, packing tape, etc.
Wear of the Teeth
To wear the teeth, cartons are ideal and also come those mineral and calcium stones that are sold in stores. Anyway, do not be surprised to see them bite the bars of the cage, either for the need to chew or to ask us to take them back to play. Mineral stones are dangerous if they are consumed too quickly, in these cases it is better to remove them.
You can also provide tree branches free of pesticides or untreated pine woods.
Bringing gerbils together
Cage method / fish tank divided
The question of how to gather gerbils is important, since many times we have a gerbil only because its companions died, because it was necessary to separate them from them or we simply realized that we had only one gerbil and would be better in company. There is also the case that two colleagues have been separated for more than 24 hours. In this case, they consider that their group separated and they must also go through the process to live together again.
We must bear in mind that gerbils are very territorial and will attack any intruder that enters their territory without being properly presented. That presentation must be done with a laborious method, called the split fish tank that has no guarantee of success. There is only one exception in which the method can be ignored, but in no case is it necessary to do it. Implementing the method in cages is analogous, although it can be more difficult depending on the type of cage.
Before starting we must say that this method is only effective when we try to collect two solitary gerbils and it is not valid for groups. That is, if what we want is to join a gerbil with a group, it’s not worth it. In fact, there is no effective method to collect groups of gerbils, although we will talk about an exceptional case later.
As the name suggests, the split fish tank method consists of dividing a tank into two parts, using some type of separator that prevents the two halves from communicating, but at the same time allowing the gerbils to be placed on each side, they look and smell. For example, it is better to build a separator with a metal mesh, but you have to make sure that it is going to hold the gerbils so there are no problems.
Once separated the cabin in two, all toys are removed so they do not distract and put a gerbil on each side. The method consists in letting them know each other for at least two weeks, period in which we will have to change them sideways every several hours. In this way the gerbils will be in contact, but can not be attacked until we see that they are calm enough to be able to try to leave them together.
The idea is that they get used to the smell of the other and that they do not consider their territory invaded. At the time of removing the division, it is advisable to provide some gloves to be able to separate them if they fight (they make a ball and bite each other). If the fight is given, you must return to the method for at least another week, before trying again. In any case, you have to watch them very closely during the following hours and observe their behavior for several days.
Apart from seeing that they are calm and do not attack, the signal that all is well is that they go to sleep together.
There are things that can help, such as that the process takes place somewhere quiet and where there are no more gerbils. It can also be good that when we finally join them, we do it in a new place, that they do not know and can not claim as their own. Taking advantage of the fact that they always tend to mark the whole territory with their odoriferous gland, their urine and their feces, we can also take advantage of that if we rub the gerbils by the “smells” of the other so that they can accept it better.
In any case, the split cage method is more or less difficult depending on the sex of the gerbils and their ages . The older the gerbils are, the more difficult it is to collect them and it is also the case that the jerseys are much more problematic than the males.
In this way we can say that, in general, joining two adult females is a very complicated task, while putting together a male and a female is usually the easiest (with one of the two geldings).
Couple adults with gerbils less than 2 months old
Before we talked about that there was an exception to the application of the method and is that if gerbils are not adults, do not have their own smell and do not usually seem a threat to gerbils that are.
Thus, gerbils less than two months have a great facility to be joined with other individuals and is usually so simple that it is normal that not only can be dispensed with the method of split cage (although it is advised to do a couple of days or more) , but that they can get together groups of children under two months with another individual or group already formed.
It must be said that many experts prohibit not only joining a group of non-adults with one of adults, but even discourage the one that is done with a single adult female since many times the females tend to attack the babies of other litters.
In the case of males, the opposite occurs, since they tend to be very protective with the small ones.
What is clear is that in no case can be dispensed is a strict supervision over the entire process.
Gerbils are little known animals, and therefore enter the category of exotic. That often makes people talk about them from ignorance and say uncertain things. The longevity of gerbils is an example of that, since it is usually defended that a gerbil lasts between 3 and 5 years, without clarifying anything else.
The truth is that a gerbil that has iron health could actually reach 5 years, but it is highly unlikely and would be something like saying that a person reaches 100. In fact, if the animal reaches the 4 will be a great success.
It should be clarified that a gerbil is old at 3 years, although there are even people who defend that they are at 2 years and 9 months and the normal thing is that gerbils that reach old age, die between 3 and 4 years .
The gerbils that we know as pets, are the product of captive breeding for decades and have also forced crosses that have weakened their genetics, either to get new colors, or to obtain defects and diseases that can be studied in laboratories.
The result is that probably the original gerbils captured from nature, could well have joined some good genes to the food and security that gives them the captivity to project their longevity until 5 years, but 50 years later, for their descendants that is almost An utopia.
The first thing to say is that we must be responsible with our pets. If we accept an animal in our family, we acquire basic responsibilities with it, among which are feeding, housing properly and taking care of their health. Therefore, we must recommend that whatever the animal species of our pet, we do our best to have located a veterinarian who can take care of it in case of illness or injury.
If our gerbil has a health problem, it should be taken as soon as possible to a veterinarian specialized in exotic animals. To locate an exotic veterinarian near your place of residence, consult the list of exotic veterinarians
What we have to recommend is to find a clinic that is as close as possible to our homes, because when a gerbil is sick, anything that stresses it will make it worse quickly and the transfer to a distant place to be treated can be even dangerous.
Having said that, we must say that the most important thing to keep our gerbils healthy is prevention, because even if a gerbil is sick, many times we will not notice until it is too late and little can be done for it. Therefore, we must observe the behavior of our gerbils at least once a day and periodically perform a basic check of their health.
This basic check should ensure that the following signs of illness do not occur:
- Straight hair, dirty and disheveled . Sometimes a gerbil gets messed up, but if it is not cleaned, it takes care of the fur in a clear sign of illness.
- Excess porphyrins in eyes and nose. Porphyrins are normally generated by gerbils and are reddish substances that are often mistaken for blood. If the gerbil spends seasons secreting an excess of porphyrins (cromodiacorrea) it can be due to another associated disease.
- Lethargy . If a gerbil is very lethargic, it is also a sign that things are not going well. Of course, gerbils spend a lot of time sleeping and more when they get older, but what we mean is when a gerbil moves little and is weak.
- Temperature . You also have to see that its temperature is normal, since a sick gerbil loses heat quickly. Its usual temperature is 38 degrees Celsius, but it can reach 30 degrees or less if we neglect it.
- Very long teeth and nails . A gerbil with excessively long teeth can die of hunger when unable to eat and that is why you have to watch them well.
The nails can grow a lot, although it is not usual. We can watch that they are not prevented from walking correctly.
- Weight loss . Sudden weight loss is a clear indication of problems, either in the teeth or because of another type of disease. If a gerbil does not eat or eat very little, its reserves are depleted at high speed, because its metabolism is very fast.
- Very heavy and agitated breathing . Gerbils breathe quickly, but if we notice that it is difficult to breathe is a bad sign. It can happen to them during times of stress, but if it becomes habitual it is not normal. When you get old, it is normal for your breathing to become increasingly difficult.
- Noise when breathing . It is also a sign of cardio-respiratory disease if they make noise when breathing. Sometimes it’s like a “click”, but sometimes it’s stronger. If that happens and we do not treat it, our gerbil can die from the infection. We can bring the gerbil to your ear to check your breathing.
- Eat and drink little . We have to watch that our gerbils eat because if they do not, there are serious problems. We should try to give them their favorite treats and we should worry if they do not eat them. It is difficult to check whether they drink or not because they do so in small quantities, but if it is observed that the animal is dehydrated, it should be forced to drink water or give a porridge with a syringe.
- Wounds . If wounds are observed, they should be cured with iodine diluted in water (1/10). It is important that we observe their behavior in case the injuries are the result of fights. If necessary, gerbils should be separated to avoid greater evils. Fighting injuries are usually in the neck and tail.
- Lumps and warts . Gerbils have a tendency to tumors and warts, especially in the odoriferous gland of their belly, but they can also appear on the face, ears and other places. In the case of finding them you should monitor their growth and consult a veterinarian.
- Bad smell in the cage . We may simply need to wipe it off, but sometimes it is a sign that they have diarrhea and can become dehydrated.
- Balance problems . If you have problems with loss of balance it can be due to an infection in the inner ear, a brain tumor or cerebral infarcts.
In summary, we should observe the behavior of our gerbils at least once a day and check that they move well. From time to time we should also put them in your ear to check your breathing, check the smell of your cage or fish tank, examine your odoriferous gland, your nose, your ears, your teeth, your hair, your tail and your sexual organs.
Finally, we will list a list of diseases that we could find in our gerbils.
- Respiratory problems and cardiac insufficiencies: infections by viruses or bacteria (pneumonias, etc.), allergies, etc. and / or heart problems.
- Tails amputated totally or partially.
- Cerebral infarctions. They usually produce paralysis.
- Attacks or epilepsy. They can be caused by stress and the gerbil should be left in the dark, quiet and without noise until they are passed over
- Nose or ears with excess mucus (porphyrins). It is called cromodiacorrea and by itself it is not usually a problem, but a symptom of something more serious.
- External parasites If you have mites or other parasites, we will confirm this by passing a paper towel through your hair or wrapping them in it for a while. If we see parasites on the paper, we will clean the entire cage and put ourselves in the hands of the veterinarian.
- Diarrhea. It would be necessary to hydrate the gerbil and reduce its intake of vegetables. If it does not improve in 24 hours, it would be necessary to go to the veterinarian, since it can be for a more serious illness like the one of Tyzzer, that is mortal for the rodents.
- Too long teeth
- Heat hits.
- Problems in the inner ear. Tumors, infections and cerebral infarcts cause loss of balance.
- Bone fractures If the fracture is not serious, it will heal itself in a short time, but if not, an amputation may be necessary.
It is not going to be recommended in any case from these lines to raise gerbils or any other domestic animal. Unfortunately there are too many abandonments and precisely birth control is a necessity for the good of so many animals waiting to be rescued in kennels and animal associations and many others who die or simply spend their lives begging in the street. For all these reasons, the recommendation for the uninitiated is not to breed but to adopt. No matter how beautiful the experience of seeing them grow, it is as good or better to rescue other animals in need.
The clear option therefore is to keep these social animals in groups of the same sex, but we can also maintain male and female pairs if either of them is sterilized. It is clear that a castration is very expensive (more in females than in males), but its advantages are also clear, since the natural state of the gerbil is in pairs and we will avoid breeding without control. There are also benefits in the health of our animals, such as avoiding the recurring ovarian tumors in the pulses. However, it should be noted that not all veterinarians dare to sterilize gerbils and that there are many risks in operating such a small animal, since they can not be pre-tested to see their health status. In males, the sterilization operation seems a priori simpler.
That said, we must talk about the issue of pregnancy because many times we get pregnant females or there is a sexing error and they simply happen.
The pregnancy of a jerba lasts 24 days or so and from it can leave litters of between 2 and 10 gerbils perfectly, although they do not usually exceed 7. The litters of a few individuals run the risk of failing because they do not stimulate the mother enough to give milk, but if it is the case or if the mother dies, you can try to feed by hand every two or three hours using milk for kittens and a dropper or a syringe.
First-time mothers often have more problems getting their offspring ahead, and their chances are maximized if they have the help of other gerbils, but be careful, since one adult female could kill the offspring of another and an adult male would leave pregnant again to the mother in a matter of a few hours after delivery. A young female, for example, would be perfect.
We must bear in mind that, if they do not separate males and females, nothing more to give birth to a jerba can return to remain pregnant . If a jerboa becomes pregnant while feeding another litter, the implantation of the embryos will usually be delayed, so that delivery can be up to 40 days after mating, instead of the usual 24.
The young are born deaf, blind and hairless and almost double their size day by day, but should not be handled by us until 10 days, to avoid leaving a strange smell and are rejected or attacked by the mother. Little by little, they will grow hair, their eyes and ears will form and they will run around everywhere. Then they will open their eyes and after 3 weeks they will start to taste water and food, although they will continue to breastfeed until 4 weeks or so. Some say they are ready to separate from the mother as soon as they stop breastfeeding, but it is not good to do that, because although they can live alone, it is better to learn what is necessary from their parents until 6 weeks. That will help them in their adult life.
It is advisable to separate the litter in males and females before they reach 10 weeks. We will avoid an explosion of birth without control in the medium term, since the females will soon go into heat, although normally they will not procreate until a few months later. Even so, we can not allow the case to be repeated three or four years ago in the United Kingdom, where 550 totally unattended gerbils were found in a small bungalow of a few square meters.
Common Diseases For gerbil – Gerbils are strong by nature and do not usually fall ill. Anyway, if your gerbil is less active than usual or weak, consult the veterinarian to find out what is happening and, if necessary, know how to treat it.
Below is a list that lists the main conditions of gerbils.
Some gerbils may experience attacks. In most cases they are caused by the stress of being in a strange environment or suffering from excessive manipulation. They are more common in young people and as time passes they tend to go less. When they take place, gerbils begin to suffer spasms, move their ears backwards, and they may drool. If this happens, put the gerbil in a quieter area. In a matter of minutes, they will recompose and return to normal behavior. If your intention is to dedicate yourself to breeding, avoid reproducing the gerbils that suffer from this problem, since it can be passed on from generation to generation. It is an annoying problem, but if you follow the above, they will recover. There are few cases in which gerbils have died due to an attack, probably there were other secondary problems.
In many cases this problem is caused by allergies. Gerbils are easily irritated when they come into contact with the oils produced by the cedar shavings. Some are even allergic to pine. For this reason, you should use paper as bedding. Even staphylococcus may be responsible for the disease. Your veterinarian can easily treat and recommend an antibiotic-based treatment. Gerbils locked in cages often manifest this problem because the nibble bars do the hair fall around their nose. The only thing to do is move the gerbil into another large cage where you can dig at will.
Luckily this problem is not very common in gerbils. However, when sawdust comes into contact with the eyes of these animals it irritates them, and they begin to produce an abundant amount of mucus. In this case, seek the help of the veterinarian, he will prescribe a few drops of antibiotics.
They cause excessive cleaning or the presence of mites. Mites can be eradicated with products that you will find in pet stores, but more serious infestations need to be treated by the veterinarian. Sometimes, gerbils also have tumors, in the form of pink cauliflower, that grow rapidly. If they touch, for example when cleaning, they can bleed. But unless a tumor is blocking the ear canal it does not need to be removed, since they are usually benign.
Loss of the tail
The tail of a gerbil is very fragile and the abrupt handling of this one can make that tufts fall off. Frequently, the bone remains, dries and self-clears a few days later, and eventually heals itself naturally. There are cases in which the entire tail falls. When this happens, have your gerbil examined by a veterinarian to verify that no other type of damage has occurred. The gerbil will adapt to the loss and will hardly notice his injury.
The gerbil has a dull staring coat and the breathing is very obviously labored and may be accompanied by clicking sounds. Prompt veterinary treatment is vital in the form of antibiotics. If treated early, there is a good chance that the gerbil will recover.
The diarrhea is very serious and should be investigated immediately, as it can be a sign of Tyzzer’s disease. Any gerbil that manifests symptoms of diarrhea should be separated from the gerbils around it. And then you should visit the vet so you can treat all your gerbils with antibiotics. The infections that cause this problem spread very easily. Everything that has been in contact with gerbils, including your hands, should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Not all gerbils suffering from Tyzzer’s disease have diarrhea, this is just one of the many symptoms, including paralysis. Other causes of diarrhea in gerbils are Listeria and Salmonella. They should be treated in the same way as Tyzzer’s disease.
Mites and fleas
Fortunately this problem is not usual. If mites and fleas appear, it is due to an infection through bedding, food or even other animals. Today it is possible to buy non-prescription products against mites containing Ivermectin. They can be applied directly on the gerbil and it is completely safe. Ivermectin will also provide protection against new infestations for a few months, although it may be necessary to repeat the treatment and consult the veterinarian if there is a serious infestation.
Problems of the inner ear
They are more common in older gerbils and are recognized by the inclination of the gerbil’s head. It is mainly due to a cyst in the ear known as cholesteatoma. These cysts are common in gerbils and cannot be treated. However, the gerbil’s chronic condition of loss of balance, turning around and keeping the head at an unusual angle, is treated with antibiotics. This chronic condition is caused by an infection secondary to cholesteatoma. The best treatment is an anti-inflammatory injection administered by your veterinarian and antibiotics. In most cases, the inclination of the head is reduced but the turns can remain for a while. Your gerbil will adapt to this situation and can enjoy life as much as before. Note that this problem may reappear.
As in humans, these are more common in older gerbils. It is recognizable by paralysis or weakness on one side. The best treatment is to make the gerbil feel as comfortable as possible, keep it warm, and ask the veterinarian for help as soon as possible. In some cases the spill is followed by another and the gerbil may die. Recovery is possible and if caught in time the gerbil can recover partially or fully. The important thing is to feed and drink until you recover enough to do it on your own.
Tumors of the odoriferous gland
If you take a look at the belly of your gerbil, you will see a large area of dry-looking skin. This area is known as an odoriferous gland, and secretes a sebum-based odor that gerbils use to mark their territory. The most dominant gerbils will rub the belly for all the objects in your house. Sometimes this gland becomes inflamed and is usually due to the existence of a tumor. Normally it is not very aggressive and remains in the area of the odoriferous gland. It is best that the veterinarian removes it. The procedure is performed under anesthesia and is not free of risks, but it has a high percentage of success and the tumor does not usually return if the surgery is carried out as soon as the problem is identified.
The gerbil manifests respiratory difficulties and may have swelling in the abdominal area due to the accumulation of fluid. It is best to ask a veterinarian for help in extracting excess fluid and making the gerbil feel more comfortable. Unfortunately, the prognosis is not usually very good in these cases.
Only older females suffer. It seems that the female is pregnant because her abdomen will be swollen or it will look like she has a lump on one side. They can be very large, but they are usually benign and can be ignored. There may be problems if the cyst presses against a nerve or an organ and prevents it from functioning properly. If your gerbil is less active than usual, consult the veterinarian. It is possible to remove the affected ovary, but it is an important procedure. Your veterinarian better than anyone can advise you what is best, since it depends on the case.