Learn About the Various Gerbil Breeds


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Pet owners love gerbils. The very energetic and active creature has caught the imagination of people. On account of this, many decide to have a gerbil as their pet.

This prompts them to learn more about gerbil breeds. There are some interesting facts about gerbils.

For instance, as of now, there are:

  • 87 known species.
  • 14 genera of gerbil at present.
  • They belong to the mammal subfamily Gerbillinae that was earlier called the desert rats.
  • These tiny little creatures are found in abundance in Africa, Asia, and India.

The 5 types of the breeds that are found include:

  • Fat-tailed Gerbils.
  • Mongolian Gerbils.
  • Great Gerbils.
  • Shaw’s Jirds.
  • Pallid Gerbils.

The Mongolian gerbil of gerbil breeds has their origins in China, Mongolia. Their sizes vary between 6 and 12 inches and are found in different colors.

These gerbils have some interesting facts about them:

  • Habitation

It is worth noting, the Mongolian gerbil inhabits places like:

  1. Shrubland.
  2. Desert, and
  3. Grassland habitats.

At the same time, they have some unique preferences about places where they wish to live. This includes:

  1. Semi-desert regions and
  2. In the steppes.
  • Their living lifestyle

Among all types of gerbil breeds, the Mongolian gerbil exhibits a unique living lifestyle. Several aspects make the way they live and survive so interesting:

This breed of gerbils prefer living in a patriarchal group. This group in turn consists of:

a) A single parental pair.

b)The most recent litter, and

c) A few of the older pups.

The sexual mating process has certain salient features, such as:

Mating undertakes under the prevalence of certain specific parameters. The dominance of the gerbil plays an instrumental role to determine who mates with whom!

For example, sexually mature females normally mate with dominant males.

Of course, this takes place when the surroundings have a significant amount of humidity all around.

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The Mongolian gerbils are available in varied colors

The Mongolian gerbils are widely popular for their coat colors. They are available in various colors adding to the delight of pet owners. These individuals can choose one color that suits their needs.

Coming to colors of these gerbils, they are currently found in two distinct categories:

  • The wild gerbils, and
  • Captive-bred gerbils.

The wild gerbils are found in different shades of light:

  • Brown.
  • Grey, or
  • Yellow.

The captive-bred gerbils on the other hand give you a rare opportunity to have a wide number of colors via the selective breeding mechanism.

The fat-tailed gerbil is appreciated by people for its long tail

It is the long tail that makes a fat-tailed gerbil so unique and spectacular among all types of gerbil breeds.

It typically contains features of:

  • It usually carries a size of 6 to 12 inches.
  • Grey and yellow are the popular choices.
  • When it comes to their origin, it involves places like Algeria, Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia.
  • Pachyuromys Duprasi is their scientific name.
  • The long tail exhibited by it is something that fascinates scores of proud gerbil owners. This tail in question can go to measure to an extent of 4 ½ inches.

Know the spectacular characteristics and features of the fat-tailed gerbils

The fat-tailed gerbils portray some noteworthy characteristics and features, including:

  • This is entirely different from the fat-tailed gerbils. The latter usually has a tail that measures up to 2 inches in length. However, the tail in question is much wider. The body length comes to around 4 inches making the fat-tailed gerbils appear a little smaller.
  • Widely believed to be insectivorous in the wild, their diet habits are almost similar to a Mongolian gerbil.
  • They are popularly called fat-tailed gerbil due to an interesting reason. Such gerbils have the capability of storing fat. The fat is normally stored in the tail so that they can use it during their lean times. Owing to this storing habit, the tails end up looking fat and bulgy!
  • One of the very noteworthy features is their fondness to burrow. In case you are planning to have one such gerbil at your home, make sure you have made certain arrangements beforehand, like:
  1. Opt for a soft-bedding mechanism. It will permit your gerbil to accommodate its tail perfectly.
  2. Coming to soft bedding alternatives they love, it will include wood shavings. Make sure to avoid cedar and pine.
  • They are extremely social. Fortunately, these social species can be kept in:
  1. Solitude, and
  2. Colonies.

Not all gerbils end up being a pain in the throat! Instead, some breeds like these become a delight for proud gerbil owners who already have a Mongolian gerbil. Being highly social, the Mongolian gerbil loves to socialize with it. Having another gerbil friend in their company, staying together inside the cage together makes them extremely happy.

Keep certain factors in mind while choosing a gerbil breed

It is very wonderful news that you have decided to bring your bundle of joy to your home. Nevertheless, you ought to consider certain factors while choosing a gerbil from all available options of gerbil breeds:

  • Take into account the species involved : Gerbils are found in several species. However, out of them, only two breeds suffice the parameters of a good pet, namely:
  1. The Mongolian gerbil, and
  2. The fat-tailed gerbil.

These can easily be traced to :

  • Pet shops or
  • Local gerbil breeders.

Nonetheless, Mongolian gerbils are the most common and popular variety.

There are certain distinctions between them. Keep these in mind before you make the final selection:

  1. When it comes to the size, the Mongolian gerbils are usually large.
  2. Talking about the lifespan, it is the fat-tailed gerbils who score the brownie points! After all, they boast of a longer lifespan compared to a Mongolian gerbil.
  • Decide which size suits your parameters and yardsticks: The Mongolian and a fat-tailed gerbil also differ in terms of their size. For instance, Mongolian gerbils grow around 12 cm to 14 cm. However, a fat-tailed gerbil is far smaller than this measuring around 10 cm.
  • Food consumption quantity and their tanker: The size differences influence aspects surrounding their food consumption quantity and their tanker size requirement.
  1. This information will help you to gauge their consumption limits of foods. For example, a fat-tailed gerbil will consume a far lesser amount of food compared with a Mongolian gerbil.
  2. Similarly, if you’re thinking of bringing a Mongolian gerbil, you will need to have a slightly larger tank in place. Likewise, you will require larger wheels/ tubes/tunnels so that they can have a wonderful playing experience.

Get benefited from a wide variety of coat colors and textures

Out of all the breeds, the Mongolian gerbils have become the most favored by pet owners. The reason is well-understood. It gives you a lot of coat colors and textures choices.

There is some great news for pet owners surrounding the Mongolian gerbils. This has a lot to do with the breeding process. For instance, they are :

  • Bred in various subgroups.
  • In several coat textures and colors.

In other words, in case you wish to have a Mongolian gerbil with your color preference, opt for this breed.

The fat-tailed gerbils on the other hand do not allow you to derive such outcomes. They are normally found with a recolored coat.

There is a reason to smile in case you are opting for this variety according to your color choice. You can find them in coat variations of:

  • Black.
  • Sapphire.
  • Ivory cream.
  • Nutmeg.
  • Golden.
  • Lilac.
  • Slate.
  • Grey, and
  • Saffron.

Are you wondering what is the best breed?

This answer deserves a proper justification from your end. It will also depend on what you’re looking for.

For example, you can go for a fat-tailed gerbil in case your preferences include:

  • Longer lifespans.
  • They can be kept alone.
  • Are more docile, and
  • Do not require much space.

Similarly, if you’re yearning to have a gerbil that is very rare to find in the pet trade, go for a fat-tailed gerbil.

Know interesting facts about black and white gerbils

All black gerbils belong to the Meriones unguiculatus family or the Mongolian gerbil species. They are also popularly called a ‘little clawed warrior’.

The white gerbils are adored by the people because of their red or pink eyes that resemble albinos. When you see them, don’t be surprised to find them looking like lab mice having the shape of a gerbil.

In case you are fortunate, you may also find them having shades between a regular:

  • White, and
  • Agouti.

They are found in

  • Cream or
  • Nutmeg.

Steps to be taken before you find any breed to your home

Well, your gerbil is precious to you. Give him the best health and ensure proper safety by taking rightful measures before you bring a gerbil of any breed of your choice to your home.

You will need to take appropriate steps like:

  • Ensure you possess enough time at your disposal to care for them before you make the final selection, and
  • You may be living in a specific area. Make sure this area does come within the purview of all legal validity to own a gerbil. Check with applicable animal regulatory bodies of your area.
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