Gerbil

How to take care of your pet gerbil

These furry friends have adapted to desert environments-meaning their droppings are dry and odourless and produce small amounts of concentrated urine. During hot months they are nocturnal, cold months they are active in the day, temperate climates make them active at dawn and dusk. Very social animals, so single sex groups introduced before puberty are best (fighting will occur if introduced after ten weeks of age) or as a breeding pair. These agile creatures love to burrow into and climb things, making them expert escape artists!! They are very territorial and like to outline their home with a waxy yellow secretion from a scent gland from their ventral abdomen, occurring as early as 19 days of age in both sexes (males moreso). They live naturally in a breeding pair with their children-older children help to rear the younger ones. Usually only the dominant pair will mate, the others being suppressed by the older couples presence. They have poor long distance vision but localise sounds well with hearing similar to us. Females are more aggressive, and are especially fertile 8 hours after giving birth!! They can jump as high as 30 cm. they ‘foot-thump’, this is a behavioural trait that is thought to be an alarm response. If they stand for ages and wave their tails, it means they are alert and something is frightening them-please have a look and try and identify what this stressor could be.

Fact sheet

Life expectancy           2-4 years

Weight                         70gms to 130 gms (females are smaller end of scale)

Gestation                     24-26 days

Size of litter                 3-6

Weaning                      3-4 weeks old

Puberty                        10-12-weeks old

Housing

Glass or plastic tank with wire mesh lid that is at least 15cm high (they like to rest on their hindlegs!) half filled with mixture of peat and sawdust OR shavings is preferred-substrate must be at least 3cm deep to allow for burrowing. Nesting material and wood (great for gnawing) is destroyed quickly, with the entire tank needing cleaning and replacement of materials only every month or two-best to do this in small stages as total environmental change can be stressful to them.  Can add paper/hay/plastic tubing/flower pots/glass jars for stimulation. Keep tank out of direct sunlight / away from radiators. Humidity must not be above 50% as respiratory infections can occur.

A sand or dust bath (as for chinchillas) is important for coat quality and to keep themselves at the right temperature, and should be readily available at all times. It also serves as social enrichment-serves some type of smell communication function.

Diet

Commercial rodent mix PLUS fruits/vegetables (ie broccoli/kale) should be given. For younger animals soaking pellets in water may help digestibility (esp at weaning), and hiding food in tubes helps stimulate foraging behaviour. For an adult gerbil, about 4-10g per day should be fed, females needing the lower quantities. For treats, they love dried pumpkin seeds and also sunflower seeds – HOWEVER, the latter are high in fat and low in calcium. Gerbils are very prone to obesity (and as a follow on, diabetes) so do not overfeed these. Water should be available ad-lib and changed daily. They store food in the ‘tunnels’ they burrow-removing spoiled food weekly is advised.

Things to watch out for

DO NOT GRAB BY THE TAIL: this may cause the gerbil to ‘deglove’ the skin over the tail and expose the bone. No cure except to remove tail surgically. When handling, never do anything abruptly, use slow and gentle movements, with practise and training they may eventually walk into your hand!

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  • Introducing the amazing Blue Skye (and Paula aka @thepurrfectnurse ) 😻 How amazing is this little guy 🐾 He was with us last week for surgery and is just about the snuggliest, softest cat we have ever met 💜 #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients #cats #catsofinstagram #cats_of_instagram #catsofdublin #catsofpalmerstown

    pvhvets: "Introducing the amazing Blue Skye (and Paula aka @thepurrfectnurse ) 😻
How amazing is this little guy 🐾 He was with us last week for surgery and is just about the snuggliest, softest cat we have ever met 💜 #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients #cats #catsofinstagram #cats_of_instagram #catsofdublin #catsofpalmerstown"
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    pvhvets: "We like to take a moment on Sunday evenings to remember your pets who have gone to Rainbow Bridge 🌈

We especially remember Benson, Wendy, Winkie, Sam, Roxie and Stevey who all gained their angel wings this week 🐾 Our thoughts are with their families at this difficult time 💜 #RainbowBridge #SundayThought #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients"
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    pvhvets: "Happy Caturday 😻
Caitriona's kitten Enzo was neutered last week and enjoyed lots of cuddles and TLC afterwards 😻 He is back to his normal bouncy self now 🐈 #caturday  #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients #cats #catsofinstagram #cats_of_instagram #catsofdublin #catsofpalmerstown #happycaturday"
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  • Throwback Thursday to this supercute trio 😻 #TBT Taco (Paula's kitty), Lily (Caitriona's kitty) and Peter (our lovely client Liz's kitty) were all about 3 months old in the pic 💜 #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients #cats #catsofinstagram #cats_of_instagram #catsofdublin #catsofpalmerstown

    pvhvets: "Throwback Thursday to this supercute trio 😻 #TBT
Taco (Paula's kitty), Lily (Caitriona's kitty) and Peter (our lovely client Liz's kitty) were all about 3 months old in the pic 💜 #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients #cats #catsofinstagram #cats_of_instagram #catsofdublin #catsofpalmerstown"
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    pvhvets: "Make sure you add your message when you visit us 💜 #valentines #valentinesday2020 #loveisintheair #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients"
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  • When a patient is under general anaesthetic at PVH, there is always a qualified nurse closely monitoring your pet 🐾 When your pet has a general anaesthetic they have an E.T. tube (endotracheal tube) placed, in order to provide the anaesthetic agent safely 💜 We thought this video was pretty cool......can you see the dogs breath moving through their E.T (endotracheal) tube #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #dogsofinstagram #dogs #weloveourpatients #generalanaesthesia #generalanaesthetic #endotrachealtube

    pvhvets: "When a patient is under general anaesthetic at PVH, there is always a qualified nurse closely monitoring your pet 🐾 When your pet has a general anaesthetic they have an E.T. tube (endotracheal tube) placed, in order to provide the anaesthetic agent safely 💜 We thought this video was pretty cool......can you see the dogs breath moving through their E.T (endotracheal) tube #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #dogsofinstagram #dogs #weloveourpatients #generalanaesthesia #generalanaesthetic #endotrachealtube"
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  • Calcifer is a Russian tortoise 😍 he is so small but moves quite fast for a little guy ☺️ #tortoise #russiantortoise #exoticpets #exoticpet #exoticpetsofinstagram #exoticsvet #exoticsveterinarian #exoticsvetdublin #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients

    pvhvets: "Calcifer is a Russian tortoise 😍 he is so small but moves quite fast for a little guy ☺️ #tortoise #russiantortoise #exoticpets #exoticpet #exoticpetsofinstagram #exoticsvet #exoticsveterinarian #exoticsvetdublin #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients"
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  • We are delighted to announce that Julian has gained a new qualification 💜 He now has a Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in Zoological Medicine (ZooMed) 🐾 Wow...he is super talented and an expert with all exotic species 🐍🐢🦔🦜🐁🐠🐀🦎Join us in congratulating him on this amazing achievement 👏🏻 #exoticpets #exoticpet #exoticpetsofinstagram #exoticsvet #exoticsveterinarian #exoticsvetdublin #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients

    pvhvets: "We are delighted to announce that Julian has gained a new qualification 💜 He now has a Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in Zoological Medicine (ZooMed) 🐾 Wow...he is super talented and an expert with all exotic species 🐍🐢🦔🦜🐁🐠🐀🦎Join us in congratulating him on this amazing achievement 👏🏻 #exoticpets #exoticpet #exoticpetsofinstagram #exoticsvet #exoticsveterinarian #exoticsvetdublin #pets #petsofinstagram #dublinveterinaryclinic #dublinveterinaryhospital #dublinvet #dublinvets #palmerstown #dublin #weloveourjob #weloveourpatients"
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