Read About Which Gerbil to Buy

Deciding which gerbil to buy starts with making sure that gerbils are the right pet for you. Be sure you have the time to devote to the animals, as well as the proper habitat for them. Once you have established that they are a good match for your situation, consider the gender of pets you want and be sure to select healthy animals when considering which gerbil to buy.

Gerbils are curious rodents who like to explore their surroundings. Social animals, gerbils do not like to live alone; in the wild the usually live in colonies. This is important to keep in mind when deciding which gerbil to buy. It is often best to keep a pair of same-sex gerbils together. Keep in mind that you should not mix genders unless you want a lot of gerbils on your hands. Littermates make ideal pairs to keep in a single environment.

Gerbils should be kept in a tank or aquarium with a wire lid. This is preferable to a cage, since gerbils like to dig and will often kick all of their substrate out of the cage while digging. The tank should have high sides and a secure top, since gerbils are accomplished jumpers. Gerbils are very active animals, so it is important to have enough space for them to move about. At a minimum, you will need a tank that is 12 inches wide and 24 inches long, by 12 inches high, for a pair of gerbils. If possible, a bigger enclosure is always better. Gerbils are notorious for chewing. They will chew anything and everything, so it is important to make sure their homes and all the furnishings are safe for them. Thick tubing, such as PVC plumbing fittings, and heavy clay pots with holes make good nesting and play areas for gerbils.

The most common type of gerbil kept as a pet is the Mongolian gerbil. Since these are the type of gerbil most often found at pet stores and from dealers, appearance is not often a big issue when deciding which gerbil to buy. You will likely find that most of the animals look pretty much alike, with bodies and tails each around 4 inches long. Almost all will have agouti coats (each hair has bands of darker and lighter colors, giving an overall blended appearance), although some dealers may offer color choices developed through selective breeding.

When deciding which gerbil to buy, look for a healthy animal that is neither fat nor skinny, but appears to be a healthy weight. Gerbils should have clean, clear eyes that have no cloudiness or discharge. Observe the gerbils moving around and make sure there are no signs of lameness or unusual movements that could indicate muscular or skeletal problems. Pick up any potential pets to test how they respond to being handled, and use their friendliness and curiosity as an indication of which gerbil to buy.