How to Establish a Perfect Home for Your Gerbil

 Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Photo by: Bigstockphoto

A gerbil is a small rodent that belongs to the family Muridae. Also known as a dessert rat, gerbils make an excellent house pet because they are very cute and curious. It was in the 1960s when gerbils were first introduced as house pets. These days, gerbils can be found in pet shops all over the world.

Caring for any animal is a huge responsibility. As a pet owner, you have to establish the right habitat for your gerbils. In today’s post, we are listing down some of the most important things you need to consider when building a home for your pet gerbils:


Although gerbils look a lot like hamsters, they should not be kept in a hamster cage, Rotastak or Habitrail. Unlike hamsters, gerbils can easily chew through plastic and thin wires. Plastic enclosures like Habitrail have poor air ventilation, which could affect the health of your pets.

Instead of a hamster cage, keep your gerbils in a glass aquarium or a very durable wire cage. Make sure the housing features multiple layers because gerbils love to run around, play, climb, and explore their enclosure.

Of course, most glass aquarium has no second level so it is up to you to make one for your pets. You can make a second level using a wooden platform. Just make sure the aquarium has a secure top so your pets won’t escape!

Do not put wood shavings on the gerbil containment because this can cause serious injuries, not to mention, health problems to the animal. Avoid pine or cedar shavings because they can cause skin problems, liver disease and respiratory problems in all mammals.

Chew Toys

Gerbils love to chew, chew, chew! As such, your pet’s home should feature several chewable items to keep your gerbils happy. Pieces of cardboard, toilet paper rolls, paper towels, shredded paper, and even hay work great as chew toys for your gerbils. You can also add oak, cherry or apple tree branches so your gerbils can chew happily all day! Gerbils also love wicker baskets because they work as an extra space to explore too. Make sure you use chew toys that are not treated with chemicals or glue.


Yes, gerbils are nesting creatures so make sure your pets have enough building materials for their nests. Shoeboxes, wooden boxes, empty tissue boxes, or oatmeal containers make an excellent nest for your gerbils. They will also chew these items for fun. To keep your pets from chewing through soft materials, we recommend adding a hollowed out coconut shells for nests.


Never put a hamster wheel in the gerbil aquarium. Unlike hamsters, gerbils are not fit for the wheel. Gerbils have long tails that could be caught in the exercise wheel, causing injuries. As far as entertainment goes, just provide a lot of chewing materials for the gerbils. These materials will pull double duty as bedding.

Food and Water

You want to make sure your gerbils have access to clean water and nutritious foods all the time. Gerbils love dried fruits and vegetables as well as grains. Strawberries, bananas, romaine lettuce, carrots, papaya, mango, pineapple, kiwifruit, and apples make excellent treats for gerbils. Corse cut oatmeal is also perfect to keep your gerbils’ digestive system healthy. You can either buy a commercial food for gerbils or make your own. Avoid grains and nuts that contain too much fat like sunflower seeds because they may cause skin diseases.