14 Essential Gerbil Supplies to Get You Started: 2023 Guide
Gerbils are popular and exciting pets to bring into your home. These little animals are sociable, chipper, and very active. If you haven’t ever had a gerbil before, you will certainly want to know how to take care of it and what supplies you need.
Below, we have listed some of the most necessary supplies you can have. We suggested our favorite product for each one, but you can choose whatever you like in the category that fits your needs and budget.
The 14 Essential Gerbil Supplies
Food and Feeding Supplies
1. Gerbil Food
You are the only one who can provide your gerbil with the right amount of nutrients on a regular basis. Diet is so important because they cannot forage in the wild to get what they need.
Many diets on the market are tailored to match the needs of gerbils, but it doesn’t mean that every food is created equal. Some foods are quality and highly sufficient, while others are not the most nutritious.
We think that the Oxbow Essentials Healthy Handfuls Gerbil Food is a terrific choice because it provides your gerbil with the right amount of nutrients. Some other selections might be fun to eat because they offer a variety of goodies. But gerbils are cherry Choiceers that will remove all of these sweet, savory snacks and leave what they don’t want. This particular recipe combines all ingredients into small, bite-sized pieces so your gerbil can get all important nutrients in every bite.
This recipe contains a helpful dose of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and high-fiber Timothy hay. It was created to support gastrointestinal health to keep your gerbils safe and healthy. You can get this food in a 1- or 15-pound bag, depending on how long you want it to last.
2. Food/Water Bowls
Your gerbil will need a place to drink and eat. You must make sure you have sufficient resources for them to do so comfortably. After all, you need a place to put all of that food they will try to stash away.
The Kaytee Paw Print Hamster Food Bowl is an ideal choice for food and water—so get two! There is a little discrepancy on whether water bottles work better than dishes. Ultimately, this is up to your preference (and your gerbil’s).
However, we will say that a well-weighted bowl such as this selection will encourage your gerbil to drink naturally. The only downfall is that the water will need to be changed out more as it can openly get dirt and debris in the container.
In any case, this dish is perfect for all of your gerbils food needs. It is made of a chew-proof weighted ceramic that prevents breakdown and destruction. It is also very easy to clean and will not harbor bacteria. Did we mention it’s super cute? We think you’ll agree.
Environment and Entertainment Supplies
There is nothing more important than providing an adequate space to live for your gerbil. You might see lots of different homes advertised for small rodents, like gerbils, but that does not necessarily make them efficient.
Like mice and other small rodents, gerbils are incredibly efficient at escaping small spaces—and they can chew through almost anything. So, if you choose to get a wire cage, for example, you must ensure the spacing is appropriate for their life stage.
The goal here is to create a well-ventilated space. Gerbils are susceptible to upper respiratory infections. Having a glass cage that is not ventilated correctly can cause moisture to get trapped in the environment. Because of this, we chose the Ferplast Duna Space Hamster Cage. It has a very deep 11.5-inch base where your gerbil can burrow to appease their wild nature.
But it also has a very well-ventilated wire top that will allow them proper airflow. We love the multi-level concept; it also provides lots of tunnels and places to explore for your little guy or gal.
4. A Friend
Don’t let anyone fool you; a gerbil always needs a friend. Unlike hamsters, who prefer to be solo pets, gerbils are extremely social and love to interact with others of their kind. To prevent loneliness, it’s best to get another furry friend.
You might think that you’re spending enough time with your gerbil, but human-to-animal interaction is simply not sufficient for this pet. They will get lonely, depressed, and unhappy without another gerbil to share their excellent setup with.
Getting a pair of siblings from a breeder or cage mates from an existing pet store is an even cuter idea. That way, they are already well-acclimated and can continue their friendship while they bond with you.
You can buy a gerbil from a local breeder or at a licensed pet shop. If you choose to get them from a pet shop, thoroughly inspect them to make sure they show no signs of illness. Sometimes, if a gerbil has been handled too frequently or has been kept in improper conditions, it can come home sick, and that’s certainly not something you want.
Getting the appropriate bedding for any small rodent is essential. They pee and poop a lot! They need routine spot cleaning and absorbent bedding so that no moisture is stuck in the cage.
Often, wood chips, like cedar and pine, are advertised for small rodents. However, they should have these wood chips under no circumstances. These chips are toxic to pets and can impact their overall quality of life.
Instead, we recommend the Carefresh Small Animal Bedding. It is made of paper fiber that is biodegradable and compostable. It does an immaculate job of controlling odor, and it also encourages burrowing behavior.
This particular product is said to be twice as absorbent as wood chip varieties. It is also safer and dust-free so it won’t irritate your little gerbil’s lungs.
Gerbils are explorers at heart. They are going to love wandering around, but they must be safe while they do so. Since they are tiny and can easily escape, it’s best to have well-secured play spaces to have safe fun without risks. Here are some examples of different exercise options.
What little rodents don’t love their exercise wheel? Exercise wheels provide a way for your gerbil to run their little heart out without needing to leave their cage. Since gerbils are most active at night, getting a silent exercise wheel is very important if you want to rest peacefully.
The Ware Flying Saucer Small Animal Exercise Wheel is a perfect option for many reasons. It provides an open concept, solid running surface that is completely silent. With this squeak-free design, you don’t have to worry about being up all night!
Gerbils love squeezing in small spaces. So they will absolutely love it if you get them a few exercise tunnels to explore. Most of these tunnels are made of hard plastic, so getting a durable selection is important. Gerbils are real chewers, after all!
You can get tons of interesting, colorful tunnels like this Kaytee Critter Trail Fun-Nel. It provides additional space and entertainment out of the cage. It Is designed to pull apart as needed to fit your desired shape. It has both an inner grip for traction and great ventilation.
You see the classic exercise ball for small rodents. However, some of these balls can be dangerous if you purchase them incorrectly. First, your gerbil should have enough room in the ball to move efficiently. Next, the ball should be properly ventilated to avoid suffocation.
This Sumind 2-Piece Hamster Exercise Ball will undoubtedly come in handy. You can buy two balls for the price of one, and both your gerbils can enjoy time out of their enclosure. You can easily fit your gerbil inside and secure them with this easy-to-lock lid.
Instinctually, your gerbil likes to stay tucked out of sight. These little tiny critters are prey animals that have many threats in the wild. Even though they are domesticated, these behaviors stay ingrained in their DNA.
So, it is important to have lots of nesting material and hide outs for them to feel safe and secure. You can get anything from expensive hides to DIY gerbil houses you make from scraps at home.
There’s really no one-size-fits-all when it comes to gerbil hideouts. So, take a look online and see what works best for you. If you do choose to buy an online or in-store purchase, we recommend the Ware Berry Small Animal Hideout.
Isn’t it adorable? It looks like a strawberry, so it’s automatically cute. But it also serves a wonderful purpose. This particular design is completely chewproof and made out of a ceramic material.
This will help you keep the product longer so your gerbil can enjoy it. Plus, this particular hideout is much easier to clean than wood or plastic surfaces.
10. Sand Bath
A sand bath, you say? What is that? It is exactly what it sounds like. You can give your gerbil a small bowl of sand, and they will roll around in it at their leisure.
This provides an excellent way for your gerbil to get rid of any debris, dirt, dander, poop, or urine in their coats. Gerbils are the only pets that take dirt or sand baths, and it’s a very effective way to get the job done.
We recommend Tiny Friends Farm Small Animal Bathing Sand. It is made of entirely safe material and is 100% dust-free so it won’t irritate your gerbil’s lungs. We love the soft, gentle granules, and your gerbil will have much fun rolling around in it.
11. Chewable Materials
Gerbils have incisors for front teeth. Like many other rodents and animals, these teeth grow throughout their lifetime. They need a constant source of hard matter to chew on, filing these teeth down naturally.
Adding in delicious chew toys like this Oxbow Enriched Life Timothy Carrot Lollipop Pet Chew will help keep their teeth at a reasonable length. Plus, it directs chewing behavior to something else so they aren’t destroying other items in the cage. You can attach this piece to the cage for easy accessibility.
Getting your gerbil out to free range is not a great idea. No matter how tame they are, they have a very instinctual desire to run around, and they can squeeze into the smallest of spaces.
One way to let them get a lot of floor time without the worry of them making a clean escape is to get a species-specific playpen. These playpens allow your gerbil to run around at their leisure with supervision to ensure they don’t break free.
We loved the Frisco Wire Small Pet Playpen. It measures 15 inches in height, and the vertical metal wire makes it almost impossible for your gerbil to escape. We still recommend supervision, though!
It comes in two different colors: black and white. You can choose whichever one you like best in your home. This particular product is for indoor use only.
This playpen is easy to put up and collapse when you’re all done for the day.
Like hamsters and rats, gerbils can adore snuggling up in hammocks with one another. It’s a great way for everybody to calm down and snooze together while staying warm.
The ISMARTEN Banana Hamster Bed Hammock is an adorable addition to any cage. It allows your gerbil to safely tuck inside for a nice nap—providing softness and warmth for your little guys. It easily attaches to any cage.
14. Enzyme Spray
Gerbils do a pretty good job of keeping themselves clean, but that doesn’t mean that their environment can’t get a little messy. Their cage should be spot-cleaned daily and cleaned thoroughly every 2 to 3 weeks. Plus, they can have accidents in their playpen when out of their cage as well.
When it comes time to clean up after your gerbil, the Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain and Odor Eliminator Spray is a great product to have on hand. This product works on fabrics and hard surfaces to clean up urine, feces, and other messes. One bottle will last a long time for cleaning up the tiny messes that gerbils can make.
At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
All About Gerbils
It’s a big responsibility when you bring home a pet gerbil, even though they’re quite small creatures. Now that you know a little bit about the essential supplies for gerbils, we’re going to go over exactly what you can expect when you own one.
If you’ve already owned a gerbil in the past, some of this may come as no surprise to you. However, if you are new to this type of pet, you likely want to learn all you can before committing.
Gerbils are omnivorous creatures. That means they eat both plants and animals to survive. In addition to their standard diet, you can fill their dishes with delicious fruits, vegetables, lean meats, insects, and grains. They are very versatile!
Gerbils require frequent handling when they are young. The more you socialize your gerbil, the friendlier they will be, and the more they will enjoy spending time with you. Overall, these little critters are curious explorers that live a life on the go.
As we mentioned earlier in the article, it is very important for your gerbil to have other gerbils to socialize with. However, only of the same sex. Gerbils have a very fast reproduction rate and can become pregnant very quickly.
It might seem adorable to have a husband and wife in your cage, but you might change your mind when they keep producing litter after litter at alarming rates.
Gerbils pee and poop very frequently! You will need to spot clean their cage every day to remove any soiled pieces along with any food they might have stashed away. Interestingly, your gerbil gravitates towards one corner of the cage to do their business.
If they start this behavior, you can always place a litter tray in the corner to make cleanup easier for you. On average, you should do a full betting change once every 7 days.
Gerbils are incredibly active little rodents that need plenty of exercise to stay healthy. In addition to providing them with cage exercise options, floor time is crucial. When you get them out to explore, make sure you have a bunch of fun and exciting things they can do.
You don’t have to spend high dollars on any fancy agility equipment either. You can put a few paper towel rolls, tissue boxes, and other items you have around the home in their playpen for them to explore.
It would be best if you tried to give your gerbils supervised playtime at least 3 days a week in 30-minute intervals. Never leave your gerbil unattended out of the enclosure, as they are escape artists and will certainly bolt if given the opportunity.
Gerbils are amusing little cage animals that love interacting with people. If you choose to buy a gerbil, always add an extra one to give them a friend. Gerbil supplies are pricey right up front, but many of these items last for several months.
You’re doing the right thing by doing all the research you can before committing to this animal. So, what do you think? Does the gerbil sound like a suitable pet for you?
Featured Image Credit: Jearu, Shutterstock
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