What Other Things Can Gerbils Eat Besides Gerbil Food?


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Gerbil owners often wonder what can gerbils eat besides gerbil food? Wild gerbils are omnivores, but they prefer a vegetarian diet and so does a pet gerbil. The safest is to feed your pet rodent commercial gerbil food like dried mixes and protein-rich pellets as they are specially formulated to provide your gerbil with all the nutrients it needs.

As an owner, do you want to give your pet gerbil a change of taste at times? Before feeding anything to the critter, find out what can gerbils eat besides gerbil food?

Which are the right fruits to offer your gerbil?

Gerbils can feed on a variety of plant-based things. A diverse range of food also helps a gerbil owner to provide variety to its furry friend.

Some fresh fruits that are safe for gerbils are

· Apples

· Kiwi

· Banana

· Pear

· Plum

· Melon

· Cherries without pits

· Melon

· Oranges

· Strawberry

· Raspberry

· Blueberry

Knowing what not to give your pet gerbil surely helps in avoiding unpleasant situations and health hazards. Some citrus fruits like lemons, rhubarbs, avocado, and grapes may lead to stomach upsets.

As most fruits contain a high to moderate level of sugar, they should be only given as treats to your gerbil. Feeding an excessive amount of fruits may lead to obesity and indigestion.

Which vegetables can a gerbil eat?

Gerbils can also be fed small portions of vegetables like

· Pumpkin

· Broccoli

· Cabbage

· Bell pepper

· Zucchini

· Cauliflower

· Carrot

· Corn

· Green beans

· Cucumber

· Peas

It is important to keep in mind that only a small portion of these are good treats for gerbils. Feeding them fresh fruits and vegetables should be avoided more than twice a week. Leafy vegetables like cabbage and lettuce can act as a laxative as they have high water content.

Along with knowing what vegetables can be given to gerbils, it is also important to keep in mind what you should not feed them. Avoid tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger, kidney beans, asparagus, and raw potatoes.

If you are planning to introduce any new fruit, vegetable, or nut into your gerbil’s diet, always do it gradually.

Like humans, different gerbils like to eat different things and may or may not have a strong digesting capacity. A sudden change or too much of anything can upset the digestive system. Introducing any new food one at a time is a good way to monitor any digestive disruptions. That tells you what to feed and what to omit from your gerbil’s diet.

The best way to give fruits and vegetables to your gerbil is to cut them into tiny palatable pieces which the critter can handle.

Can gerbils eat flowers and herbs?

It is safe to give your gerbil fresh herbs and some flowers like basil, fennel, coriander, parsley, chamomile, dandelions, clover, chickweed, wild violets, and yarrow. Remember to wash all herbs thoroughly before offering them to your pet.

Not all plants are safe for gerbils. Do not feed ivy, nightshades, yew, rhododendron, daffodils, hydrangea, buttercups, poinsettia, or the deadly hemlock to your furry pets.

What nuts and seeds are safe for gerbils?

Digging out answers about what seeds and nuts are safe to feed your gerbil helps you know what can gerbils eat besides gerbil food.

Gerbils love munching on nuts. It should be kept in mind, nuts offered to gerbils should not be salted, flavored, or processed. Often prepackaged nuts that are available in the supermarkets are not healthy for gerbils.

Nuts that can be fed to gerbils in small amounts are

· Pistachio

· Peanuts

· Walnuts

· Almonds

· Chestnuts

· Pecans

· Macadamia Nuts

· Monkey nuts

· Brazil Nuts

Which seeds are healthy options for gerbils?

Gerbils have sharp teeth and love to nibble through the soft shell of seeds. The ideal seeds to give gerbils are

· Pumpkin seeds

· Sesame seeds

· Sunflower seeds

Excessive amounts of seeds should not be given to your gerbil. Pumpkin seeds are a healthier option compared to extremely fatty sunflower seeds. Feeding excessive fatty seeds to gerbils can lead to obesity.

Do gerbils eat meat and insects?

Gerbils in their natural habitat or captivity are omnivorous. However, they mostly prefer eating plant-based food. So, mostly they are vegetarians! Answering what can gerbils eat besides gerbil food and what are good for them are two different things.

Meaty things can be given to gerbils but all kinds of meat are not healthy options for gerbils. Though meats contain loads of protein and fat and do not have carbohydrates, they are not ideal in the gerbil diet.

It will be wrong to say that gerbils do not eat meat. In the wild and even in their tank as pets, gerbils may eat insects like crickets and flies. However, like your other pets like cats and dogs, gerbils should not be fed raw meat like chicken, beef, lamb, or pork.

Unseasoned, unflavored cooked meat in small amounts can be offered to gerbils. Owners may have different experiences as some gerbils like to eat meat and some do not.

In case you are thinking of offering meat to your pet gerbil, chicken is the safest choice to go with. It is extremely important to ensure that the meat is cooked well. Raw chicken containing salmonella may not only cause diarrhea but could kill gerbils.

Is it okay to feed gerbils fish?

Trying to understand what can gerbils eat besides gerbil food gives you endless options to consider and that includes fish. As an owner, it is important to understand the difference between your pet can eat fish, and when it is good for its health. Fish do not pose the problem of obesity if given in less quantity as it is lean meat. But, everything depends on how is it cooked and where is it sourced from.

Fish cooked in oil may not be suitable for gerbils. Another worrying factor related to fish is the mercury content. Due to environmental pollution, fish like tuna are known to contain high levels of mercury. So, its best if avoided!

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Is it all right to feed gerbils cheese?

Cheese is not a natural food for gerbils. Cheese is a processed food and has salt which can be harmful to a gerbil’s health. So, cheese is not an appropriate food to give to your gerbil.

Does that mean your gerbil will reject a piece of cheese when you offer it? Not really! Like any other rodent, your gerbil will eat almost anything that you give it. Your gerbil may even enjoy nibbling on a piece of cheese because it’s soft and chewy.

Beware, these critters are lactose intolerant and may have a stomach upset when they have cheese. If you are too keen on feeding a teeny-tiny bit of cheese to your pet, go for a cheese that is low on lactose content. Go for cheddar, parmesan, cottage cheese, Swiss cheese, and ricotta.

Is it okay to include eggs in a gerbil’s diet?

Gerbils living in the wild do not eat eggs so it is quite possible that your gerbil may not like it as food. Boiled or scrambled eggs in moderation can be given to gerbils but the high protein and fat content may not be good for their health. Raw eggs are unsuitable for gerbils.

Is popcorn a good snack for Gerbils?

Popcorn can be considered a healthy snack for gerbils without any oil, butter, or any seasoning. It should not be given as a regular food but for occasional snacking, popcorn is a better option as compared to other things. If you are not comfortable making popcorn for your gerbil you can give them uncooked corn kernels. Your gerbil may also like chewing on corn straight from the cob. The whole grain is rich in fiber and antioxidants. It also contains some micro-nutrients like potassium, zinc, iron, vitamin B, and magnesium. Avoid making prepacked, microwave popcorn for your furry pet as they often contain salt, butter or oil, and spices.

Can gerbils eat bird food and hamster food?

If you also have birds at home, you would be happy to know, gerbils can eat some bird food. A wide variety of grains, seeds, and nuts are included in the list. Dried seed mixes can be given to gerbils. However, if you are thinking of giving hamster food to gerbils, it is advisable to avoid it. The nutritional requirements of the two critters are different and hamster mixes may not fulfill all the dietary requirements for your gerbil.

Twigs are good gerbil food

Like all other rodents, gerbils like to gnaw on things all the time. Twigs make good food as well as help them clean, sharpen and shorten their teeth. Fresh twigs broken from apple, pear, or raspberry plants make excellent gerbil food.

Knowing what can gerbils eat besides gerbil food does not mean it’s healthy to feed them those. It is important to give your gerbil a nutrition-rich, balanced diet. Any food other than the regular gerbil mix can be given as a treat occasionally to keep your pet amused.

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