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MAIN Arrow to Home LifeHome Life Arrow to PetsPets Arrow to GerbilsGerbils

gerbil eating a snackPerforming their many antics, whether alone or in groups, gerbils are fun to watch and relatively easy to raise.

Inexpensive, too, since the main cost of raising gerbils will be the large cage or glass aquarium in which they will spend most of their time.

Gregarious and social animals, gerbils like to live in pairs or groups. However, make sure that the gerbil you purchase has been raised in a group. Otherwise, introducing them to "the family" may get a bit raucous, as lone gerbils tend to resort to sudden power plays to establish dominance.

Like hamsters or guinea pigs, in their natural habitat gerbils are always active in the wild as they forage for food. For this reason, an exercise wheel is always welcome to help them burn-off the extra pent-up energy.

For their size, gerbils are voracious eaters and enjoy feasting on hefty amounts of commercially prepared feed — as well as tasty junk food generously supplied by their human handlers!

female gerbilHowever, since they live relatively sedentary lives, it's best to give them special treats only on occasion to help ward off obesity and keep them at optimum health.

As natural foragers, gerbils' front teeth are constantly growing. Keep them trim by providing a wood chew stick (also easily available in pet stores) or from your backyard. Just make sure that twigs or small branches come from non-poisonous trees.

Plenty of fresh water should also be available to your gerbil at all times. To keep water fresh and uncontaminated, a sipper bottle is the best way to supply water to your pet daily.

Keep them safe and warm with a soft bed placed at the bottom of the cage. In addition to wood shavings (also cheaply purchased in pet stores), strips of soft paper towels or tissue adds extra comfort for snoozing after a hard day at play.

Gerbil fun facts - DID YOU KNOW?

• The average life span of a gerbil is about 2-3 years. A well-cared for gerbil may live longer.

• Both mother and father gerbils taken an active part in raising their young.

• Gerbils have the peculiar habit of thumping their back legs, whether alone or in unison, with other gerbils. Some observers believe it's to keep their back legs in top shape to jump away from predators in the wild.

More about gerbil care & feeding around the Web:

Elsewhere on the Web, find out more about the care and feeding of these cute, lovable critters with additional how to's on breeding and raising pet gerbils, related FAQ's and photo galleries ...

The American Gerbil Society - Get expert tips from the organization providing a virtual online encyclopedia of gerbil facts and information on caging, health, breeding and related topics.

How to Care for Gerbils - Get questions answered about general gerbil care as well as specifics on Mongolian gerbils, gerbil feeding & housing, exercise wheels, pregnancy, raising gerbil pups, genetics & medical care.

ASPCA Gerbil Care - Great advice with do's and don'ts on their care & feeding, proper setup of their new home in a cage or aquarium tank, with general tips on veterinary care.

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