Your new gerbils Giles and Georgia will think they’ve landed in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. You’ve consulted with your West Greenwich veterinarian, who has given you insider knowledge about gerbils’ habitat preferences. Most importantly, he emphasized that a habitat that suits Giles’ and Georgia’s behaviors promotes their good health. Since you’ll soon pick up your two new family members, you’ll take them to your vet for physical exams before they meet your family.
Location Is Everything
Giles and Georgia will enjoy some indirect sunlight as much as you do, but don’t expose them to potentially harmful direct sun. Keep them away from heating vents, wood stoves, and other heat sources; otherwise, you might have two baked gerbils on your hands. But you also don’t want these delicate little critters to be affected by window drafts or ceiling fan backwash. It’s a delicate balancing act, but Giles and Georgia will be happiest if the room temperature is between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Containing Your Champion Chewers
Gerbils who live in the wild chew and dig almost constantly. Wild gerbils create lots of food storage and predator protection tunnels; and they hollow out cozy little dens where they raise their babies. Since you won’t allow Giles and Georgia to burrow through your walls, they’ll get the next best thing: a roomy glass aquarium with tons of bedding material. Giles and Georgia can pile up the bedding into a little nest, and they can’t tunnel through the glass walls.
Giles and Georgia will be quite happy in a 10-gallon rectangular aquarium, but you’d want a bigger one if their cousins moved in. Of course, Giles and Georgia will probably try to escape, so install a strong wire mesh cover they can’t chew through. Clean the cage at least once a week so Giles and Georgia don’t get gassed by their own waste product ammonia fumes. A cleaner cage also means their respiratory systems stay healthier.
Luxurious Bedding Material
Giles and Georgia are very particular gerbils, so give them bedding made from plain shredded paper, corn cobs, or aspen shavings. Avoid pine or cedar shavings, and also nix shredded paper that includes newsprint.
Hotel Security Protocol
Your secure, elevated glass aquarium keeps Giles and Georgia safe from curious visitors who might poke and prod your little pets. The glass aquarium also keeps your hungry dog and cat from grabbing your gerbils for dinner.
Give Giles and Georgia a nice heavy ceramic food bowl, a sturdy water bottle, and a regular supply of toilet paper rolls for playtime.
Our Advice on Five-Star Gerbil Habitat in 2024
Why is choosing a habitat that suits a gerbil’s natural behaviors important?
Selecting a habitat that aligns with a gerbil’s natural behaviors is crucial for their physical and mental well-being. Gerbils are instinctively active creatures known for their love of digging and tunneling. Providing an environment that allows these activities help maintain their instincts, critical for mental stimulation and stress reduction. A habitat miming their natural environment also encourages physical exercise, preventing obesity and promoting overall health. Additionally, a suitable habitat reduces the likelihood of abnormal behaviors, such as excessive chewing or aggression, ensuring a happier and healthier life for these small, energetic pets.
How can you prevent gerbils from escaping their habitat?
It’s essential to use an escape-proof enclosure to prevent gerbils from escaping their habitat. Gerbils are skilled chewers and climbers, so a solid glass aquarium is a great choice. Ensure the aquarium is spacious enough to discourage attempts to escape due to confinement stress. The top should be secured with a tight-fitting wire mesh lid, which allows ventilation while preventing escape. Regularly inspect the enclosure for any signs of wear or potential escape routes. Also, keeping the habitat engaging with tunnels, toys, and appropriate bedding material can reduce their desire to escape by keeping them stimulated and content.
Why is regular cleaning of the gerbil’s cage crucial for their health?
Regular cleaning of a gerbil’s cage is crucial for maintaining their health. Like many small rodents, gerbils are sensitive to ammonia, which can build up quickly from urine in an unclean habitat. High ammonia levels can lead to respiratory problems and stress, compromising their immune system. Additionally, a dirty cage can harbor harmful bacteria and parasites, increasing the risk of infections. Regular cleaning also prevents unpleasant odors and ensures a hygienic, comfortable environment for the gerbils. A clean habitat contributes to these small pets’ physical and psychological well-being.
How does the design of the habitat protect gerbils from external threats?
The design of a gerbil’s habitat plays a vital role in protecting them from external threats. A well-constructed enclosure, typically a glass aquarium, provides a secure barrier against potential predators, including household pets like cats and dogs. The transparent walls allow for easy monitoring while preventing unwanted contact. A secure mesh top prevents escape and keeps out larger animals or curious children who might inadvertently harm the gerbils. A well-designed habitat shields gerbils from environmental stressors such as drafts, extreme temperatures, and loud noises, creating a safe and stable environment essential for their well-being.
What essential items are needed in a gerbil’s habitat for feeding and play?
In a gerbil’s habitat, essential items for feeding include a sturdy, chew-resistant ceramic food bowl and a water bottle with a metal spout to prevent chewing. For play and enrichment, provide various items like toilet paper rolls, cardboard boxes, and wooden chew toys, which cater to their instinct to gnaw and tunnel. Adding a running wheel designed for small rodents offers excellent exercise. Additionally, safe bedding material, like aspen shavings, enables digging and burrowing behaviors. These items fulfill basic needs and promote mental stimulation and physical health, critical to a gerbil’s overall well-being.
Ask your West Greenwich vet for suggestions on other safe play accessories. Remember that keeping your pets pampered and active helps them to stay healthy.