|When you buy a new gerbil, or if you own an adult gerbil there are certain items of equipment that you should have.|
There are a variety of cages on the market today in many different styles. Ensure you buy the largest cage you can as it will allow your gerbil plenty of space to move around in and explore.
Plastic and Wire Cages:
These are the most popular type of gerbil cage. They consist of a plastic base and a wire top, or a plastic base, wire sides and a plastic top. These cages are light weight, easy to clean, durable and reasonably priced. They often have two levels or the facility to add extra living space and toys to the cage.
The drawbacks to these cages are; if they only have a shallow base the floor covering can easily be knocked out of the cage and they can be draughty so you should purchase one with a deep base and carefully consider where to site your gerbil cage.
Aquariums can also be used to house your gerbil. Large glass aquariums can be heavy, but plastic ones are light weight, easy to clean, relatively cheap and draught proof. A wire lid will need to be fitted to the top to prevent your gerbil from escaping and also to provide ventilation. Water bottles can be attached to the side of the aquarium using velcro or hung from the top.
Metal cages are not readily available and they do not make an ideal home for a gerbil. They consist of a metal base and a wire top, they are usually cold and have a tendency to rust.
Exercise Areas & Equipment
In the wild gerbils are active, inquisitive creatures that enjoy foraging around. If possible you should provide your gerbil with an area to exercise outside of his cage, however, ensure that it is a confined area as a gerbil can quickly run off and be difficult to catch. A variety of free standing gerbil pens and exercise areas are available.
Another popular way to exercise your gerbil out of his cage is by using a small pet exercise ball. The gerbil is placed inside the ball and the door should be safely secured before you let your gerbil run around the house. Your gerbil should only be in the ball for a limited time and while in the ball they should be supervised at all times to avoid accidents. If your gerbil appears to be unhappy in the ball, remove him immediately.
There are several variations to the small pet exercise balls, such as a car incorporating a ball, and tracks are available for them to run on if you wish to keep them to a specific area of the house.
An exercise wheel will allow your gerbil to exercise while he is in his cage. Many cages come complete with a wheel already fitted, but you can also buy free standing wheels. The exercise wheel should have a solid back and running surface as runged wheels can cause an injury to your gerbil if he slips while running. Also the wheel should not have a bar that runs across the diameter of an open front or back of the wheel as this can cause your gerbil an injury if he pops his head outside the wheel while running.
Gerbils like to build themselves a nest and they will appreciate some material with which to do so. Cotton wool type bedding should be avoided as this can cause harm to your gerbil if it is ingested or it can injure them if they become caught in it.
The most appropriate type of bedding is soft, shredded paper bedding as it is easily broken if your gerbil becomes caught and it dissolves if eaten. You can easily make this bedding yourself by tearing up unscented, undyed toilet paper or paper towels.
You will need to provide a covering for the floor of your gerbil's cage so that your gerbil has a nice, comfortable surface to run around on and it will also soak up any urine.
Wood shavings are a popular type of floor covering as is litter made from wood pulp. You should avoid using sawdust, cedar wood shavings, scented shavings or corn cob bedding as these can all cause irritation in gerbils.
Providing your gerbil with a food dish is not vital as they are happy to eat their food from the floor and if food is scattered around it will provide your gerbil with extra stimulation. However, food bowls are a good way to measure the food you are providing your gerbil and ceramic or metal dishes are the most suitable as they cannot be chewed and eaten.
Gerbils need a constant supply of water and the best way to provide this is with a water bottle that can be attached to the side of their cage.
The best type of water bottles to buy are those with ball bearings in the end as they are less prone to leaks.
Generally gerbils do not need grooming as they
are self-groomers, however grooming can be an enjoyable way to bond with your pet. A variety of soft brushes designed for small pets are available on the market.
Your gerbil's nails may need occasional trimming and this should be done with a pet nail clipper. These as well as a variety of grooming equipment can be purchased from our online store or a pet shop.
Toys & Accessories
There are a vast amount of toys and accessories that you can purchase for your gerbil's cage to keep him occupied. These include exercise wheels, houses, climbing frames, tubes, see-saws, wood gnaws, mineral blocks and sand baths.
All these and more will be available in your local pet shop or they can be found in our online store.