| Initially your gerbil may be nervous about being handled, but they can become tame in a short space of time if they are handled regularly and they will soon enjoy their time spent out of their cage.|
When you purchase a gerbil, make sure that the pet shop or breeder that you are purchasing it from handles it, and that they do not chase it into a box. Also if it is caught by someone wearing gloves, do not purchase the gerbil as it is unlikely it has ever been handled and you do not want to be the first person to touch it.
Upon arrival at home with your new gerbil, place him in his pre-prepared cage and leave him overnight to get used to his new home. Talk to him quietly and in a soothing tone so he will become accustomed to your voice.
Handling your Gerbil
Always gently approach your gerbil and do not make any sudden movements as he may become afraid. Never pick up your gerbil when he is asleep in his nest as this will startle him and he may bite.
Initially it may be easier to remove the top of the cage so you can pick up your gerbil with out having to chase him around. It is advisable that if you are going to do this, place the cage in a large box first so your gerbil can't run away.
It is a good idea to let him get used to your hand before you attempt to pick him up. Gently stroke your gerbil and offer him small pieces of food so he gets used to you. When he is happy with this, place your hand in the cage and let him investigate it at his own pace. Keep your hand still and let him walk over it so he becomes used to you and realize that he has nothing to fear.
To lift him, place one hand gently around his body, ensuring you have a firm but not tight grip. Lift him and immediately place him on the palm of your other hand. Alternately you can cup both of your hands together and gently lift your gerbil. Either method is an appropriate way to handle your gerbil, use which ever one you find most comfortable.
Speak in a soothing manner when handling your gerbil and softly stroke him as you hold him. This will give him confidence, he will feel safe and become accustomed to being handled.
Things to Remember
NEVER lift your gerbil by the tail. The skin on their tail is very delicate and it can tear easily.
Initially, just lift him a small distance above the floor of the cage, so if he struggles or jumps free he will not fall and hurt himself.
If he does struggle, do not tighten your grip as this may hurt and panic your gerbil and he may bite. Just leave him for a few minutes and try again.
Handle your gerbil regularly to keep him well socialized.
As a matter of hygiene, always wash your hands when you have finished handling your gerbil.