The Gerbil Care Guide Jovial Gerbils Maryland-PDF Free Download

The Gerbil Care Guide Jovial Gerbils Maryland

2020 | 8 views | 15 Pages | 440.86 KB

Introduction What is a gerbil? A Gerbil is a small rodent that originates from the desert. Gerbils are about 2-4 ounces in weight. The body of a gerbil is about 5 ...

What is a gerbil
A Gerbil is a small rodent that originates from the desert Gerbils are about 2 4
ounces in weight The body of a gerbil is about 5 inches in length the tail being
about 4 inches in length The whole gerbil is covered in hair including the tail
How long will my gerbil live
Gerbils live about 3 years sometimes making it into their 5th year of life
How does a gerbil act
Most healthy gerbils have a curious and energetic demeanor often spending large
amounts of time chewing on cardboard running around the tank like a manic and
intermittently eating a snack or two Gerbils unlike their hamster counterparts are
not strictly nocturnal They have an active period followed by a sleeping period
continuously throughout the day and night
Are gerbils noisy
The gerbil itself is not noisy The only sound a gerbil can make is a plaintive
squeaking noise exclusively made when the gerbil is under some sort of stress
However a gerbil is capable of making large amounts of noise when it chews
scratches and digs Also gerbils thump their hind legs as a danger signal to all
other gerbils This thump is made to be heard by all in the clan so it can be a bit
startling to the human ear
How much time will I spend caring for my gerbil daily
Compared to other pocket pets gerbils require a small amount of your daily time
Can gerbils live alone
Gerbils are very social creatures that need the constant companionship only
another gerbil can provide Single gerbils live a shorter less satisfying life compared
to a pair of gerbils
Gerbbils are craft
fty little cre
eatures cap
pable of ge etting out of
o most anyy habitat One
of the only
o gerbil proof hom mes is a bassic glass tank Tanks are
a used because the ere
are no edges
c the walls
w are sm mooth and d the bedd ding can t be
b kicked out
of the cage
c Also you can fiit your tankk with a me esh lid thatt can be weighed
to preveent escape e by jumping they caan jump prretty high
Personally I prefer to
t house mym gerbils ini 20 gallon long tankks
these taanks are 300 inches lonng 12 inchhes wide and
a 12 inchhes tall The ample flo oor
space inn the 20 gaallon long makes it ann attractive
e option simply becaause the
gerbils have
h moree room to run
r and yo ou have mo ore room to o decorate e the space
Howeve er many gerbil owne ers use a 10 gallon taank to housse their crittters To myy
eye thee 10 gallonn looks cram
mped whe en filled wiith boxes for
f chewing a wheel
and thee gerbils theemselves
deal gerbil enclosu
You cann purchase e the tanks and lids fro om any pe
et store I have
d that Petsmmart
and Petco have thhe best pric ces I buy my 20 gallon long tanks for 30
0 at Petsmaart
the lids are usuallyy 10 Call ahead to make
m sure the size yoou need is in stock
y get the e tank home e it is a goo o wash it out you havve no clue
od idea to e
where itt s been I use a splash of bleac ch to cleann it out ho
owever soaap and water
would work
w just fiine But whhatever youu use it s a good idea to scrub the sides with
a rag Also
A make sure
s that you rinse it out REALLYY well and d if you use
e bleach make
sure youu give the tank at leasst 24 hourss to comp pletely dry
Many new gerbil owners do not
realize that their pet is a master escape artist and make the mistake of buying those
awesome looking Crittertrail cages with the colorful tubes and hiding places A
gerbil could probably chew through one of those plastic tubes in 5 minutes
which is something I didn t realize when I got my first gerbils Seven year old me
was mesmerized by the maze of tubes and I figured that my new pets would have
a blast navigating the twisty passages little did I know that the enclosure was
unsafe As soon as I got home I took my gerbils out of the tank and into the new
cage watched them for a bit then left the room When I came back a few hours
later the floor of my bedroom was littered with gerbil gifts Luckily I had closed the
door when I left After a peek under the bed I located my little Houdinis and put
them back in their tank Upon careful examination I figured out that the gerbils had
chewed through one of the tubes using one of the air holes as leverage for their
teeth If I had left the door open my gerbils would have run out of the room and
probably never be found again Morale of the story NO PLASTIC CAGES
Bedding and Nesting Material
There are literally hundreds of types of bedding on the market
advertised for small animals I recommend using only 2 types My personal favorite
is aspen chips Aspen in the ONLY repeat ONLY type of wood shaving that can
be safely used for small animals of any species Aspen bedding does not contain
the harmful phenol oils that pine and cedar bedding contain These oils are inhaled
by your pet and can reek havoc in their body Certain types of cancer lung liver
and kidney are attributed to the use of pine and cedar bedding Also kidney liver
and lung failure can occur
Another one of my favorites is Carefresh Carefresh is made from reclaimed wood
pulp or in other words old paper products mushed together and dried Carefresh
pet bedding is soft and absorbent and ideal if you have a baby or seinor citizen
Carefresh also comes in fun colors One downside
price a small sack of the stuff can run you 8
Most gerbils will make nests to sleep in Pet stores sell special nesting fluff just for
this purpose Unfortunately this stuff is deadly Often it contains strands of wool
these long strands can get tied around and part of your gerbil resulting in the loss
of limbs tails and lives To prevent these problems just look around you house
Plain clean unscented un lotioned tissues napkins or paper towels make terrific
bedding material I usually rip them into smaller sections to make it easier for the
gerbils to handle It is great fun to watch them shred it into little bits and form it into
a nest The colder it is the puffier the nest
Gerbils are omnivores meaning they eat both plant matter and animals
products much like dogs and cats Because of their unique nutritional needs
gerbils usually need more than just the seed mixes in pet stores Personally I
believe that gerbils need to eat a formulated pelleted diet combined with a seed
mix Gerbils are foragers so it is natural for them to have variety in their diet Don t
worry about them picking out the yummies they eat it all eventually I recommend
oxbow healthy handfuls as the pellets and either eco nutrition or Gerri Gerbil food
as the seed mix you use You can supplement their diet with the occasional bit of
romaine lettuce carrot or apple Gerbils also enjoy Cherrios dog or cat kibbles
un cooked whole grain pasta pumpkin seeds unsalted and baked if home made
peanuts unsalted sunflower seeds unsalted scrambled eggs NO BUTTER
spray millet and some gerbils even eat crickets and mealworms Fruits and
vegetables should be fed sparingly because of the high water contents however
everything else on the list is okay to feed every day with the exception of dog
and cat kibbles once a week at most
Tank Accessories
As you might have guessed you will need more in the tank
than just bedding and food This section will guide on what else you will need to
furnish the tank
Water Bottles
Because gerbils originate from the desert their water needs are relatively low A 4
ounce water bottle is perfect for a pair of gerbils they will not drink more than 4
10 mL of water a day A special water bottle holder will be
needed to securely hang it in the tank
Example of water bottle holder
A wheel is a staple in any gerbil tank Most gerbils will run on their wheels with
reckless abandon Any 6 8 inch wheel is the perfect size to comfortably allow a
gerbil to run It is important that the wheel is either made of solid material or metal
mesh Wheels that have rungs are dangerous for gerbils because of their tail the tail
could easily get caught in a rung and become broken Below are examples of
acceptable wheels
Gerbils have a strong urge to chew throughout their life time To help with
this urge I supply my gerbils with cardboard boxes to chew on Any sort of clean
cardboard will do Examples include Kool aid or Capri sun boxes tissue
boxes take out ALL plastic toilet paper tubes paper towel tubes drink
holders from any fast food place cardboard egg cartons popcorn boxes
cracker boxes chicken nugget boxes fry containers the list goes on and on Be
Gerbil enjoying a toilet
paper tube
To help you shop for your gerbil I have formulated a list to take with you
when you go shopping
20 gallon long tank
4 ounce water bottle
Water bottle holder
Healthy handfuls and Econutrition Gerri Gerbil
Timothy hay for nest building chewing and eating
Small wooden house for chewing sleeping in
Treat sticks
Rope perch for climbing
PVC pipes for chewing and burrowing
Daily Check List
There are several tasks that need to be done EVERY
DAY to keep a gerbil happy I have made a list of the most basic
Check bedding for water bottle leakage
Freshen water in water bottle
Give fresh food
Offer treats
Handle the gerbils look for weight loss watery eyes nose anus
Give new cardboard
Every 2 weeks
Scrub out tank with soap and water rinse dry thoroughly
Fresh bedding
Handling and Taming
Gerbils are the easiest to tame of all the pocket pets Before in
the food section I mentioned all the healthy treats you can give your gerbils these
treats will be essential in helping to tame your gerbils Baby gerbils from a
reputable breeder should already be well on their way to being tame
The taming process should take about 2 or 3 weeks the
definition of tame being unafraid of human hands or being picked up To start out
place a variety treats in the palm of your hand Carefully place your hand on the
floor of the tank and wait for them to come and investigate Most gerbils will come
within one or two minutes Be careful to make no sudden movements as they
most likely get frightened Eventually they will begin to take the tasties from your
hand and run to a corner to eat them Later on they will start eating around your
hand or sitting on your hand Once the gerbils have started to eat or stay close to
your hand you can begin to pick them up It is easier and safer to pick up a gerbil
by the base of the tail the part closest to the body rather than to try to grab the
body Let your gerbil run on your hands move them like a treadmill for couple
minutes everyday After this you can start to gently restrain the gerbil while stroking
their head with your finger You can tell when your gerbil is comfortable in your
hand when they don t struggle and or relax their head Some gerbils purr this
can t be heard but felt it feels like the gerbil is vibrating After months of
socialization most gerbils will begin to purr as they feel extremely at ease in human
hands Some of my gerbils will even eat treats while in my hands It is truly
rewarding when your gerbil gives you that level of trust
The main things to remember while taming your gerbil are
your gerbil is not likely to bite unless extremely frightened or in pain
At first your gerbil WILL be afraid
take it slow
With my first pair of gerbils I was always asking myself what the
heck are they doing I hope to help you avoid that with this little section
Chewing a natural gerbil behavior done about 92383727649 times a day
Originates from the need to find nesting material in the cold Mongolian highlands
Digging in corners Gerbils are burrowing animals so it is only natural for them to
burrow However most tanks don t have a burrowing system within and for this
reason gerbils make due by digging in the corners
Curled in Ball Gerbils sleep curled in a ball unless he she is not breathing I can
assure that he she is alive If you wake them GENTLY you sometimes get to see the
cute spectacle of gerbil stretching and yawning Curling into a ball is different that
ROLLING into ball rolling into a ball is the sudden death round in a gerbil show
Nose Touch Gerbils greet each other with a nose touch It looks a bit like a kiss to
the untrained eye Some gerbil fanatics like myself believe that when a gerbil
touches its nose to yours it is greeting you in a sense
Licking Tank Walls Gerbils only do this when in need of water Please make sure
the water bottle is never blocked and always full with fresh water
Back Foot Stomping Gerbils will stomp their back feet to alert the other gerbs of
danger Most often made when your gerbs are surprised by something Gerbils
also thump back feet when ready to mate The mating thump is almost inaudible
Winking Gerbils wink for 3 reasons to show submission gratitude and pleasure
only context to decipher the true meaning of a wink
The Army Crawl gerbils will rub their bellies it looks like an army crawl to scent
mark things Much like a dog lifting its leg Most often done in a new place or in a
clean tank
Squeaking The only vocalization a gerbil makes is a squeak Squeaking can mean
several things discomfort frustration stress or excitement If your gerbil squeaks
while in your hand loosen your grip or put him back
Grooming Gerbils are very clean animals They almost compulsively groom each
other and themselves If another gerbil has pinned its friend down and appears to
be biting him all over his body don t interrupt It grooming time
Health Problems
Unfortunately gerbils aren t invincible and can get sick Here
are the signs to watch our for
puffed up fur
runny eyes
runny nose gerbil mucus is red 9 10 times its not a bloody nose it s a runny
Lack of appetite
Constantly laying down doesn t move often
Doesn t drink a least once a day
Will not care if picked up and held Is limp and doesn t start getting
excited move a lot when held
Lack of appetite
Loss of weight
Loss of fur
If you see one or more of these symptoms in excess please contact a vet and
check out The American Gerbil Society s health page

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