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Old 08-02-2013, 08:21 PM   #1
Stockannette
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Default Gerbil. What do I need to know?

So, as some of you know, I'm volunteering at an "exotics" rescue. A group of four gerbils were rescued, one died, and eventually they "de-clanned" - one had to be separated from two that were attacking it (I say "it" because I really have no idea if they are males or females - of course I'll ask the Rescue Pres. about that).

Anyway, I'm slowly convincing my husband that maybe we could foster the lone one. If it can't be with the group, at least it can be "with" a group of people. Does that make sense?

As you may also know, two hamsters (Carmelita and previously my dear Flower) are the only rodents I've ever had. So, tell me about gerbils... specifically:

Are they a look-at-but-don't-handle type of animal?
Or a too-fast-but-give-it-a-shot type? Or ...?
Would it be "good for it" to come stay with people (not that we are a good substitute for gerbil-y company, but... maybe watching us would entertain it?)
Or would it be best to try to "re-clan" them later?
Or would it be best to try and pair it with another single?
Do they get out-of-tank time / ball time / etc.?
What else do I need to know?
What are good web sites for me to peruse before making a commitment such as this?

Thanks in advance; I hope you don't think I'm a dingbat with such questions. "Let me ask on HC" was my first thought.
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:24 PM   #2
Bailey
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Default Re: Gerbil. What do I need to know?

I've owned many gerbils up until very recently and they are wonderful. Check out egerbil for lots of helpful info. While not as cuddly as a Syrian hamster, they can be easily handled. I usually scoop mine up in a box before putting them in my lap. He or she will needs lots to chew so save small boxes, toilet rolls, etc; they love that! Their diet is rather similar to a hamster so you should be fine there. They have practically no odor and drink little, but using the same water bottles for hamsters is fine. They do enjoy out of cage time for sure.

Once a group has declanned, it's hard to reintroduce them, in my experience. If he is male, you can introduce a baby male, 8 weeks or younger, and they will probably do well, but be careful. You may have to do a split cage, but often with a small baby, the male just accepts him. Females are tougher. Adult females do not just take to baby gerbils, much less an adult female. You'd have to set up a split cage and it may take weeks and still not work. There's lots of info on egerbil and other gerbil sites about split cages. A 15 gallon tank or more is best for one or two gerbils, at least. 20 or more, way better and many people prefer 30 gallon tanks for a pair. Wire cages are usually not suitable for gerbils.

If you cannot find her or him a partner, they can do well on their own with daily attention from you and your family. They are very gregarious and outgoing, are often awake during the day, love attention and are just amazing pets.

Post a photo if you get her/him home showing the underside and I can quickly tell you the sex. Best of luck!
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: Gerbil. What do I need to know?

Bailey is right, gerbils are wonderful little characters and really do warm to human company. I`ve kept gerbils in the past and miss keeping them. De-clans can happen at any time with gerbils so it`s their way of saying they are not happy in that grouping anymore.

A male gerbil will have obvious dark bags under his tail, while a female won`t. I used to keep males because I just preferred males at the time, but either gender is lovely.

A tank style cage is best as gerbils love their digging! Toilet roll tubes and other cardboard things for them to chew up are always enjoyed. Visit a good gerbil forum like egerbil and this one:

Home | The Gerbil Forum

Think mini meerkat and you have gerbils! Hope this helps. x
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Old 08-03-2013, 04:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: Gerbil. What do I need to know?

Wonderful info! Thank you so much! I'm off to do more reading on the sites you've suggested.
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Old 08-03-2013, 05:00 AM   #5
POLAR WHITES
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Default Re: Gerbil. What do I need to know?

Just a word of warning I had 3 girls new nothing about them, started to build our new house and they were put in smaller cage, the ate each other, From what I have read it was because they felt cramped and it was my fault but it was a horrible experience.
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Old 08-03-2013, 06:10 AM   #6
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Default Re: Gerbil. What do I need to know?

I had gerbils for many years and they are wonderful, clean pets and fun to watch! They love extra deep bedding and sand for digging. Only thing I would add is that anything plastic should be avoided as it can be dangerous for them.
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:03 AM   #7
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Default Re: Gerbil. What do I need to know?

I have had my gerbils for 3months and they are quite tame. Gerbils can live alone happily but then they can get very depressed, they have bad memory so it could be reintroduced after a couple of days as they would have forgotten what the fight was about but would still need a split cage intro. Alternately you could introduce a youngster, this is more likely to work.
They will need out of tank time but mine aren't fans of the ball. Plus they will need a good 9/10 inches of bedding =) they are lovely pets
As mousandstrawberry asked you can't reclaim once blood I'd shed, just seconding it =)

Last edited by $parkle; 08-03-2013 at 11:37 AM. Reason: missed important bit :/
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: Gerbil. What do I need to know?

Gerbils don`t need a ball as they tend to have longer back legs and don`t run in the same manner as a hamster would, so it`s better to allow gerbils free time on the floor in a safe, enclosed area where you can sit on the floor with him/her and watch their antics!

They are quite cheeky and funny.
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Old 08-03-2013, 11:31 AM   #9
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Default Re: Gerbil. What do I need to know?

Are they a look-at-but-don't-handle type of animal?
You can handle them but its best to let them come to you. They are naturally inquisitive and enjoy company

Would it be "good for it" to come stay with people (not that we are a good substitute for gerbil-y company, but... maybe watching us would entertain it?)

It would be best to get 'it' a friend, they really do hate being alone. Get someone to sex the little thing and pairing with a baby would be best or a young gerbil

Or would it be best to try to "re-clan" them later?
Never try to re-clan them, once blood is shed, its best to leave them apart

Do they get out-of-tank time / ball time / etc.?
They aren't fond of balls but secure playtime is good for them
What else do I need to know?

They need lots of bedding to make tunnels, offer them a varied diet, seeds, meat/egg/insects for protein, never give them plastic and have patience.
What are good web sites for me to peruse before making a commitment such as this?
Have a look through some youtube videos. I don't know of a website
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Old 08-03-2013, 05:17 PM   #10
Stockannette
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Default Re: Gerbil. What do I need to know?

I knew you all would be a wealth of knowledge!

It's a girl, and I'll be bringing her to our house after I volunteer Monday night. Will keep you posted.

Back to reading and preparing!
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