Are gerbils good pets?

Are Gerbils Good Pets? Pros and Cons to Consider

Gerbils are small, furry creatures that are a popular choice for pets. They are known for their playful nature, intelligence, and social behavior. However, before you decide to bring a gerbil home, you need to consider if they are the right pet for you. In this article, we will explore the question “Are gerbils good pets?” and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

A gerbil sits in a spacious, well-furnished cage, with toys and a running wheel. It nibbles on a piece of fresh fruit, looking content and playful

Gerbil Characteristics: We will start by discussing the characteristics of gerbils, including their behavior, lifespan, and health concerns. We will also look at the different types of gerbils available and their unique traits.

Gerbil Care Essentials: Next, we will delve into the essential care requirements for gerbils. We will cover topics such as housing, feeding, grooming, and exercise. We will also provide tips on how to keep your gerbil healthy and happy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Gerbils are social and playful creatures that make great pets for the right person.
  • Proper care is essential to keep gerbils healthy and happy.
  • Before getting a gerbil, it’s important to consider their unique characteristics and whether they are the right pet for you.

Gerbil Characteristics

A gerbil sitting in a cage, with a wheel for exercise and a water bottle attached to the side

If you’re considering getting a gerbil as a pet, there are a few things you should know about their characteristics. In this section, we’ll cover the lifespan and health, behavior and temperament, and physical features of gerbils.

Lifespan and Health

Gerbils typically live for around 2-4 years, although some have been known to live up to 7 years with proper care. It’s important to keep your gerbil healthy by providing a balanced diet, fresh water, and a clean living environment. Gerbils are prone to respiratory infections, so make sure to keep their bedding clean and avoid exposing them to drafts or cigarette smoke.

Behavior and Temperament

Gerbils are social animals and should be kept in pairs or groups of the same sex. They are active and curious creatures that love to burrow, dig, and explore their surroundings. Gerbils are generally friendly and rarely bite, but they can be skittish and may take some time to get used to handling. With patience and gentle handling, however, you can build a strong bond with your gerbil.

Physical Features

Gerbils are small rodents that typically weigh between 2-4 ounces and measure around 4 inches in length. They have soft, dense fur that comes in a variety of colors, including black, white, gray, and brown. Gerbils have long tails, large eyes, and big ears that they use to communicate with each other. They also have powerful hind legs that allow them to jump and run quickly. Gerbils are agile and can easily escape from cages that are not secure, so make sure to choose a cage with a tight-fitting lid.

In summary, gerbils are affectionate and social pets that make great companions for anyone who wants a small, low-maintenance pet. By providing them with a healthy diet, clean living environment, and plenty of social interaction, you can ensure that your gerbil lives a happy and healthy life.

Gerbil Care Essentials

A gerbil in a spacious cage with a wheel, water bottle, and food dish. Bedding and chew toys scattered around. Bright, natural lighting

If you’re thinking about getting a gerbil as a pet, there are a few things you need to know about their care. Here are some essential tips to help you keep your gerbil healthy and happy.

Habitat Requirements

Gerbils are active creatures that need plenty of space to run and play. A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 10 gallons of space per gerbil. A glass or plastic aquarium with a secure lid is a good choice for a gerbil habitat. Make sure the lid has ventilation holes and that the cage is kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Your gerbil’s habitat should include a solid floor, as wire mesh can hurt their feet. You can line the bottom of the cage with aspen shavings or paper-based bedding. Make sure to clean the cage regularly to prevent odors and bacteria buildup.

Diet and Nutrition

A balanced diet is essential for your gerbil’s health. You can feed them a commercial gerbil food mix, which includes a variety of seeds, grains, and pellets. You can also supplement their diet with fresh vegetables and fruits, but make sure to introduce new foods gradually to avoid digestive upset.

Your gerbil should always have access to fresh water. You can use a water bottle with a sipper tube or a shallow dish. Make sure to clean the water container daily.

Daily Care and Maintenance

Gerbils are clean animals that groom themselves regularly. However, you still need to provide them with a clean environment. Spot clean the cage daily, removing any soiled bedding and food debris. Once a week, do a deep clean of the entire cage, including the accessories.

Gerbils also need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Provide them with toys, such as tunnels, wheels, and chew toys. You can also scatter food around the cage to encourage foraging behavior.

Social Needs and Interaction

Gerbils are social animals that thrive in pairs or small groups. If you plan to keep more than one gerbil, make sure to introduce them gradually and monitor their behavior. Same-sex pairs or groups are best, as opposite-sex pairs can quickly lead to breeding.

Interacting with your gerbil can help strengthen your bond and provide mental stimulation. You can handle your gerbil gently, but make sure to support their body and avoid grabbing their tail. Gerbils also enjoy playtime outside of their cage in a secure, supervised area.

By following these care essentials, you can provide a happy and healthy life for your gerbil.


A gerbil running on a wheel inside a cage with bedding and food

If you’re considering getting a gerbil as a pet, there are a variety of resources available to help you make an informed decision. Here are some helpful resources to get you started:

  • The Humane Society of the United States – This resource provides a helpful list of questions to consider before getting gerbils as pets. It also offers tips on how to go about it and what to expect from these furry creatures.
  • Pet Blog – This website offers a balanced view of the pros and cons of owning gerbils as pets. It provides useful information on gerbil behavior, diet, and care, as well as tips on how to choose the right gerbil for your family.
  • Pet Keen – This website offers a comprehensive guide on gerbil care, including facts and care tips. It also provides insights into the gerbil’s behavior, diet, and habitat requirements.
  • Animal Humane Society – This resource offers a detailed guide on gerbil care, including information on their social nature, diet, and habitat requirements. It also provides tips on how to create a suitable environment for gerbils and how to keep them healthy and happy.
  • Nature FAQ – This website provides an in-depth look at the pros and cons of owning gerbils as pets. It offers insights into their behavior, social nature, and habitat requirements, as well as tips on how to choose the right gerbil for your family.

By using these resources, you can learn more about gerbils and determine if they are the right pet for you. Remember, owning a pet is a big responsibility, so it’s important to do your research and make an informed decision.


A gerbil sitting in a cozy, well-equipped cage with a wheel, toys, and fresh bedding, surrounded by a loving family

Gerbils are a great pet choice for those looking for a low-maintenance, sociable, and affectionate animal. They are easy to take care of, inexpensive to buy, and can provide educational benefits for children. However, it is important to keep in mind that gerbils are not suitable for small children as they can be easily injured and require gentle handling.

If you are considering getting a gerbil as a pet, it is recommended that you get two gerbils of the same sex as they are highly social animals and thrive in pairs. Gerbils are also sensitive to temperature changes and require a clean and comfortable living environment with plenty of toys and hiding places.

While gerbils have a relatively short lifespan, they can make great classroom pets and provide hours of entertainment for their owners. Overall, if you are looking for a small, friendly, and easy-to-care-for pet, a gerbil may be the perfect choice for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

A gerbil sits in a cozy cage, surrounded by toys and a wheel. A sign reads "Frequently Asked Questions: Are gerbils good pets?"

What are the pros and cons of owning a gerbil?

Gerbils are low-maintenance pets that can provide companionship and entertainment. They are social creatures that enjoy the company of humans and other gerbils. Gerbils have a lifespan of about 3-4 years and are generally healthy animals that require little veterinary care. However, gerbils can be prone to certain health issues such as dental problems and respiratory infections. Additionally, gerbils have a tendency to chew on anything they can find, including wires and plastic, which can be a safety hazard in the home.

Can gerbils be suitable pets for children?

Gerbils can make great pets for children, especially those who are responsible and mature enough to handle the care and attention that gerbils require. Gerbils are generally friendly and rarely bite, making them a good choice for children who are new to pet ownership. However, it is important to supervise young children when handling gerbils to ensure that they are gentle and do not accidentally harm the animal.

What should beginners know before getting a gerbil as a pet?

Before getting a gerbil as a pet, beginners should be aware of the specific care requirements that gerbils have. Gerbils require a clean and spacious cage with plenty of bedding and toys to keep them entertained. They also require a specific diet that includes a mix of seeds, grains, and fresh vegetables. Additionally, beginners should be aware of the social nature of gerbils and the fact that they should not be kept alone.

Do gerbils require a lot of maintenance?

Gerbils are relatively low-maintenance pets that require daily feeding and watering, as well as regular cage cleaning. They do not require bathing, as they are able to groom themselves. However, it is important to monitor their health and behavior regularly to ensure that they are healthy and happy.

How do gerbils and hamsters differ as pets?

Gerbils and hamsters are both small rodents that are commonly kept as pets. However, there are several key differences between the two. Gerbils are more social and enjoy the company of other gerbils, while hamsters are solitary animals that prefer to live alone. Additionally, gerbils are generally more active and playful than hamsters, and they are less likely to bite.

Are gerbils known to be friendly and enjoy human interaction?

Gerbils are generally friendly animals that enjoy human interaction, especially when they are handled gently and regularly. They are curious and playful creatures that enjoy exploring their environment and interacting with their owners. However, it is important to remember that gerbils are prey animals and may become frightened if they feel threatened or unsafe.

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