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Small pet advice: caring for your gerbil

Gerbils make popular pets and are particularly suitable for children

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So easy to love

Their cute looks and gentle behaviour make gerbils a perennially popular household pet. Remember though that they are nocturnal by nature, so they spend much of the daytime fast asleep. If you keep gerbils in a child’s bedroom, there’s likely to be lots of scuffling after lights out! Remember too that gerbils are social, so you should have at least two.

Where to keep a pet gerbil





Being so small, an escaped gerbil can be a problem to track down, so make sure your gerbil is kept in a secure cage. Plastic is a good choice as your pet shouldn’t be able to gnaw its way out. Provide your gerbil with plenty of absorbent bedding as it will love to burrow away out of sight.



Handling your pet





Gerbils can be nervous of humans until they get used to being handled, so always take care to be extra gentle with your rodent friend. The best way to pick up a gerbil is to let it walk into your cupped hands. You can then stroke it and watch its whiskers twitching, though try not to make sudden movements as it could jump free. 


Food and drink





In order to make sure your gerbil is getting a good diet, the best option is to buy special gerbil food – either as mixed seeds or pellets. Don’t over-feed, as your pet will often store food it doesn’t need immediately, and this can begin to rot if kept too long. Fresh, clean water should always be available too, preferably in a drinking bottle with sipper tube.