There are lots of different species of Gerbils out there roaming the wild, but the one species which is commonly throughout the UK is the Mongolian Gerbil. I’m sure you can guess where they came from too! That’s right, Mongolia!
Whether you are interested in owning a gerbil but want to find out more before making the final leap, or you are just fascinated with this cute species of rodent, we are here to help!
In This Blog
About The Mongolian Gerbil
The most common species of Gerbil you will see in a UK pet shop is the Mongolian Gerbil. These small but friendly rodents live in the desert areas of Russia, China, and of course Mongolia, and they are often found burrowed in soft soil.
It is understandable as to why the Gerbil is a popular breed due to them only growing between 5-6 inches in the body and 4 inches in their tail. They really can make cute pets.
Beside their cute appearance, they are also very friendly pets to own and show affection towards their owners who have treated them well – especially when being gently held and stroked.
Mongolian gerbils, as with all gerbils, have altered their kidneys to create the least amount of waste possible in order to conserve body fluids, which results in them being exceptionally clean and odourless – a perfect low maintenance pet.
They also prefer to live in pairs or groups rather than alone. When looking at buying a gerbil, you should consider getting two at the same time as they will form a much better bond with the other gerbil whilst they are still young rather than them being introduced later and risking territorial behaviour arising. This can result in serious injury or even death if they are left alone.
Always house your gerbil with the same sex from a young age for best results.
How To Safely Handle Them
When you are handling any small pet, you always want to take things slow and steady, never making any sudden movements which may startle them or make them anxious.
Whilst Mongolian gerbils are not known to bite or nip, if they feel seriously threatened and they have no way of escaping, they may resort to nipping their handler. But don’t worry, this is rare and often they won’t even break your skin in the process.
If you are starting to introduce your gerbil to the concept of being handled, start slowly by allowing them to get used to your scent and the touch of your hand.
Feed them treats in their cage and allow them to climb on to the palm of your hand once they themselves are ready.
Potential Health Conditions
You will be glad to know that there have been no health problems specific to this breed reported or identified. But as with all living creatures, they can still develop issues which affect their overall health.
Overgrown teeth can cause bigger problems later down the line if this is left to manifest. Similar to hamsters, they need something to chew on daily to help keep their teeth level and prevent this from happening. Wood chews can be a great way to keep your gerbil happy and healthy as well as keeping them entertained and out of mischief.
Strokes can affect older gerbils and unfortunately are nearly always fatal. If they seem lethargic, have a lack of appetite and are struggling to move any of their limbs, your gerbil may have had a stroke. If you notice these symptoms, you must take them to the vets immediately!
Tumours can be found in various areas of their body including their ears, feet, and most commonly their scent glands. You will more commonly see this in a male gerbil than a female as they use their scent gland more regularly. Due to the location of the gland, being on their belly, it can become easily irritated as it rubs on things. This can induce the formation of a tumour.
Things You Will Need for Your Gerbil
An ideal home for your pet gerbil would be 30cm high, 100cm long, and 30cm wide. Within their home, you want to avoid having any level made from mesh wire as this can seriously damage their delicate little feet.
A perfect type of home for your gerbil would be a glass aquarium with no other levels. This allows you to add a lot of bedding into the bottom of their tank so they can burrow deep down and hide away, as they would in the wild. However, if you are going to purchase a glass tank, you will need a secure lid with appropriate ventilation such as a mesh lid.
Within their home, your Mongolian gerbil will need food and water which is fresh for them every day. Provide them each day with a bowl of gerbil pellets in a ceramic bowl. Add a second bowl for their water as well as a bottle which can attach inside their tank. This must be changed daily, and the water should be clean and fresh with no bedding in it.
On top of the necessities, they love to have empty kitchen and toilet rolls to chew and use as their bedding, as well as playing in the tube.
They will also benefit from a place to hide, such as a box. This can be something as simple as a shoe box or more exclusive like a Burrow Tower. Offer them a wheel too, as they like to be active during the day and sleep at night. Which is so much better than hamsters!
Finally, add some meadow hay into their tank and watch them use it to make a cosy bed and take it down their burrow with them.
A Mongolian gerbil can be a great pet for anybody out there who is wanting something little which doesn’t require much exercise.
Whilst they may sound high maintenance, once you have understood their individual needs, they can be easy and even more so, fun, and entertaining!
What is better with gerbils is that they are diurnal pets! This means that not only will they provide you with entertainment during the day, but they are less likely to keep you up at night as they will also be sleeping.