What Is a Gerbil’s Natural Habitat


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Gerbils have become a favorite pet option for many. They are found in different species. Native to Africa and Asia, they prefer staying in a natural habitat.

In case you wish to know more about gerbil natural habitat, this article will be of great use to you. Here, you will get to learn things to know more about their natural habitat, give them large enclosures, maintain an accurate living environment around them, and more.

Know more about their natural habitat

When in wild, they love to live in their underground tunnels and burrow. Their habitats can be recognized due to their special features.

On most occasions, they decide to opt for sandy substrate covered in shrubs and grasses. This explains why certain habitats have become their favorite. This includes:

  • Desert,
  • Shrubland,
  • Grassland,
  • Steppe, and
  • Semi-desert.

As a proud gerbil owner, give them large enclosures

When it comes to offering enclosures to them as the perfect gerbil natural habitat, provide them with large enclosures. You can go ahead and create an accurate living environment by facilitating:

  • A paper or
  • Soft shaving bedding.

Irrespective of which habitat you offer them, keep two things in mind:

  • Keep them in pairs, and
  • Ensure their habitat consists of multiple levels for exploration.

Maintain an accurate living environment around them

There is no denying gerbils are found in varied species like:

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

Despite their varying species, almost all them choose to live in identical environments. It involves areas with little rainfall like:

  • Dry, and
  • Sandy areas

What environment suits them the best?

This is one question that every gerbil owner gives due thought to before procuring it.

By nature, gerbils are very active and filled with a lot of energy. They often indulge in numerous physical activities, including:

  • Running,
  • Climbing, and
  • Exploring.

On account of this, it is of utmost importance you give them suitable space to undertake such activities. This will keep them in the best of their health.

Prevent temperamental changes and aggressiveness in them by providing them with large enclosures.

Typically speaking, one or more gerbils will need an area with measurements of around:

  • 12 inches (ca. 30 cm) high.
  • 24 to 30 inches (0.76 m) long, and
  • 18 inches (ca. 46 cm) wide.

They live in altogether different conditions in the wild

Unlike the conditions which they stay in when kept as a pet, they live in entire different conditions in the wild. For example, they prefer living in dry climates in:

  • Large, and
  • Big burrows.

They give sustained efforts to dig the burrows all by themselves.

There is a solid reason they resort to digging the burrows in the first place. It offers them the rightful protection against:

  • Extremes of weather, and
  • From predators.

The presence of fur on the soles of the feet makes it extremely difficult to climb. This explains why they are regarded as bad climbers.

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A special note about their burrows

To make sure they have the best gerbil natural habitat, they make their burrows after taking appropriate steps.

  • The spot is decided on a careful analysis

For example, you won’t find burrows everywhere in the wild. Instead, they choose the location very diligently. These burrows are more than often created on:

  1. Soft soil,
  2. Clay or
  3. Near plants.

They do so to ensure their burrows do receive a suitable amount of support of said roots.

  • Each burrow type is different and has distinct features imbibed

Yes, gerbils prefer to spend their time inside the burrow. Nevertheless, each burrow is different from another depending on the species of gerbil involved.

For example, the Meriones unguiculatus burrows have some spectacular features in them. They have two storerooms and one nest.

Similarly, buried deep underground, the length of such a burrow measures approximately around 18-24 inches (0.61 m).

Arrange for all necessary gerbil needs for the perfect habitat in your home

If you are planning to bring a gerbil for your household, give it the right gerbil natural habitat.

You will need to make appropriate arrangements for its living. The place you opt for ought to be:

  • Clean.
  • Draught-free.
  • Comfortable.
  • Dry, and
  • Quiet.

When you succeed in doing so, it will bring loads of advantages for your gerbil. For example, They can rest uninterrupted and undisturbed.

Avoid keeping them in conditions that are:

  • Damp, and
  • Draughty.

Likewise, make sure they are exposed to:

  • Direct sunlight, or
  • Next to a radiator.

Give preference to house them in temperatures ranging between 20 to 24°C.

Whatever gerbilarium you choose, ensure it is incorporated with all rightful features

Well, only getting the best gerbilarium will not suffice your need to have a correct gerbil natural habitat.

Ensure it offers:

  • Enough scope of free movement.
  • Provides suitable shelter.
  • Contains opportunities to dig,
  • Space to exercise, and
  • Has adequate nesting and bedding material.

Give sufficient and correct nesting material

It is an accepted fact that gerbils are very active. Apart from taking part in different activities like exploring their housing and running around, they like to build a natural habitat.

Yes, it is understood you wish to give the best things that money can buy, for instance. Please do not go overboard and provide the wrong nesting materials.

For instance, do not give them any ‘fluffy’ bedding product or cotton wool. These tend to separate into thin strands. Additionally, this can pose a great threat to their welfare and safety. This happens when the strands get entangled or are ingested.

House them away from items generating ultrasound

Exposure to the ultrasound environment can cause severe adverse repercussions to your gerbil. Try your level best to keep them far away from items that are well known for producing ultrasound. It includes:

  • Sources of running water.
  • Computer screens.
  • Vacuum cleaners, or
  • Television sets

It is widely acknowledged, most gerbils communicate by using ultrasonic frequencies. This makes them sensitive to some sounds.

Maintain the desired level of cleanliness in their gerbilarium

Exercise due diligence to ensure appropriate cleanliness in their gerbilarium. Ensure, under no circumstances, the bedding material is getting:

  • Damp, or
  • Smelly.

Adhere to a suitable cleaning regime. For instance, clean it once a:

  • Week, or
  • Fortnight.

It will pave the way for keeping away all gerbil excrete. These are highly concentrated:

  • Dry droppings, and
  • Urine.

Whenever you decide to clean, make sure to transfer a small quantity of used but unsoiled nesting and bedding material.

This is necessary as cleaning can be:

  • Stressful, and
  • Removal of all odors can result in trigger fighting.

Always use a rough-surfaced object like a stone for wearing down all claws and add more structure to their burrows. It helps the gerbils as an ideal place for their scent-marking purpose.

Want to give a natural habitat to your gerbil? Do these and your gerbil will love it!

If your question is whether or not you can give a natural habitat to your gerbil, the answer is an ‘Absolute Yes’.

All you will require is to take certain steps, like:

  • Give a sand bath at regular intervals

Unlike human beings who want to bathe in water, the gerbils require ‘sand baths’. The process of sand bathing will involve rolling your gerbil in a tiny pot of sand.

Yes, on the face of it, this activity appears pretty strange. Nonetheless, it will give a brilliant scrub to the fur of your gerbil. Subsequently, it will try its best to get itself free of the dirt. this way, it ends up giving them a true feel of life in the wild!

  • Presence of a wheel in the enclosure

No matter what enclosure you provide your gerbil, make sure it contains a wheel. It becomes easier for them to get their daily dose of exercise.

Choose a gerbil-friendly variety. Avoid giving them a hamster wheel. The latter tends to trap the gerbil’s tail in its rungs. If that happens, your gerbil might have:

  1. Extreme pain, and
  2. It can give rise to swelling and infection.
  • Choose the best bedding and give a truly natural feel to the habitat

Gerbil bedding materials are of many kinds. However, not all are equally effective in adding a natural touch to their habitat.

A) Cardboard shavings: They serve purposes like:

  1. These are extremely cozy and soft bedding,.
  2. They serve tunneling purposes exceedingly well.
  3. It is very much digestible, and
  4. Gerbils do not get tangled in them.

B) Shredded paper: Yes, it is a wonderful choice provided the paper in question is dye or ink-free. The inexpensive nature of the shredded paper makes it the perfect bedding option.

Why do gerbils need bedding in the first place?

Gerbils love to burn out their excessive energy daily. Due to this reason, they indulge in digging their tunnels or burrows.

When kept as a pet, they yearn to perform this activity. However, unlike in the wild, they resort to a thick layer of dust extracted bedding. It aids them to dig in.

Other great natural bedding alternatives include:

  • Organic soil and
  • Timothy hay.

Never use cat litter for your gerbil

It is a wise move not to use cat litter in your gerbil’s litter box or cage. When the same litter enters your gerbil’s lungs, it can hurt them.

Talking about this cat litter, it contains:

  • Scent, and
  • Smells.

These become very unbearable for the gerbils. On account of this, it is a better idea to rely on :

  • Store-bought, and
  • Rodent safe sand.

Use these items to fill your litter box.

If you are looking for wood shavings, go for the aspen shavings

Wood shavings make an excellent bedding material for gerbils. They are regarded as prime choice as they are:

  • Non-toxic.
  • Hypoallergenic, and

They are processed well to remove dust.

The final take

Gerbils like their natural habitat the most. As a gerbil owner, you will leave no stone unturned to offer the best care to them.

Creating a natural habitat is the best step in this direction. Make use of all applicable materials and give them a soothing environment to live in.

As an owner, you can not give them their natural habitat found in the wild. Of course, you can always generate one with your initiatives!

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