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Old 09-08-2018, 05:17 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2018
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Default Another Gerbil Cage Question

Hello everyone,

I have a 3 year old daughter that I would like to gently introduce to the world of pets along with the responsibility it brings (she absolutely loves animals...anything from slugs to elephants).

I am already resigned to the fact that I will be fully responsible for the care of whatwe get and honestly I think I am more excited by my daughter!

I have done a lot of research online about the most suitable animals to start with and have settled on a pair of gerbils. Basically all guides agree on everything but I see a lot of different opinions about the best type of cage.

I didn't want to ask in pets at home (I am in the UK) as I thought they would just sell me whatever they needed to shift that month without much thought.

So... is the large gerbilarium from pets at home suitable?
Approximate Dimensions: 56 x 70 x 37cm.
It has a plastic tank with a wire topper. I can't seem to link the product (probably due to forum advertising issues).

Please could you give me some pointers? I understand the wire bars may not be great for gerbil's teeth/feet.
What do you all recommend?

Thank you in advance,
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Old 01-04-2019, 10:25 AM   #2
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Location: Central Scotland
Posts: 13,417
Default Re: Another Gerbil Cage Question

Hi Ed. To be honest, gerbils are great, but at 3 years of age, your daughter is still very young and gerbils can be (a) fast and jumpy and (b) don`t like being held and can (and will!) bite.

It`s tricky with rodents for children this young because although the adult in the house will be doing the cleaning/feeding etc....the gerbils ( moreso females) can be known to fall out and de-clan, although males can also de-clan even after living together for a few years. I`ve had this happen a few times in the past. This means having another tank set up for the one that ends up ousted by it`s cagemate.

Do you have any other pets at the moment or were you just looking at something to have that your daughter could enjoy watching? I wouldn`t go down the barred cage route for gerbils in any shape or form because they chew the bars and can injure their teeth. Far better with a large enough glass tank that`s at least 3 feet in length with a secured meshed heavy lid. Gerbils are diggers, not climbers.

You mentioned Snails? These actually DO make good interesting pets that don`t bite and are very easy to care for and keep. Plenty of info on the internet about them too. Garden snails (the ones with the shells) can even be re-released again into the garden in early summer if your daughter got bored, but you can`t do this with African land snails or foreign species, for obvious reasons!
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:56 AM   #3
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Location: North of England
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Default Re: Another Gerbil Cage Question

You would need something bigger and deeper than that. Popular housing for gerbils are the Skyline falco 100cm and the Living World Eco Habitat - 100cm and 120cm. Both have the scope for very deep bedding (which gerbils need) and climbing. They are extremely active and jump high!

The 100cm Falco doesn't seem to be sold on Zooplus any more (and it is very expensive - it's a 100cm glass tank with a barred top). The Eco Habitat is but it's out of stock - I think you can get the medium or large size (100cm or 120cm) on Amazon. Have a look at the owner photos and reviews on Zooplus - there are some for gerbils.

Other than housing I don't know much about gerbils - my sister had one as a child and we spent our week-ends throwing garden netting all over the room trying to catch it! So I guess you'd need a high sided playpen area for out of cage time. It got in the cupboards, flipped the lid off the biscuit tin and was in there eating all the biscuits, before it disappeared behind the boiler. When my sister reached in she got hold of it's tail and the tail came off in her hand! She was horrified. Apparently they can shed their tails to avoid being caught I assume, but it's not that good for them.

Anyway anecdotes aside - if you want gerbils, and they have a lot of fans, then something that can hold 30 to 40cm deep bedding with plenty of space, a branch in it maybe and some underground tunnels set in the bedding, is the way to go.

There are a couple of videos of some gerbils in Eco Habitats here

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Old 01-04-2019, 12:13 PM   #4
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Location: North of England
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Default Re: Another Gerbil Cage Question

It seems that Eco Habitat is now hard to find too! Another option is a bit of diy and an ikea detolf hack. You tip the glass cabinet on it's back and leave the door off and then need to build a raised lid out of wood and mesh.

If she is interested in a hamster possibly, then a Syrian hamster can be good to tame and a cage would be less difficult possible as there are quite a few good 100cm x 50cm cages for a hamster. But they do sleep more - maybe that's what you're thinking of.
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Old 01-04-2019, 07:57 PM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Missouri, USA
Posts: 96
Default Re: Another Gerbil Cage Question

I have some experience with gerbils, and in my opinion they do marvelously in glass aquariums. They really don't need a ton of space, but too little space is bad as well. A good rule of thumb for the minimum is 10 gallons per pair of gerbils, but I keep my two boys in a 20 gal. Gerbils are very high energy and jumpy, and honestly could be too much for a young girl. My 6 yr old brother gets overwhelmed by my gerbils quite often. Also, they are a bit difficult to tame. I'm going to echo what Serendipity said- a Syrian hamster would be a lovely option. They do sleep more, but are very easy to tame, don't move too quickly, and kids love them. I had one when I was a little girl and I have one now. I think that she would be old enough to understand the concept of a pet and to be able to hold a hamster in her hands, or pet it from your hands, once it was tamed of course. The decision is yours, but that is my recommendation.
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