How to Build a Gerbil Exercise Wheel


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Gerbils are popular as pets as both children and adults love them for being cute and lovable. One can play for hours with them as they are social and entertaining. Moreover, they are very easy to care for.

The famous us proverb, “a healthy mind resides in a healthy body,” holds true not just for human beings but also pets. Apart from balanced nutrition, visits to your veterinarian, and grooming, your pet also needs to exercise. Thus, if you own a gerbil as a pet, make sure that it is getting enough exercise to stay healthy. You should start exercising your pet when it is still young.

Most gerbils get their exercise from burrowing when they are in their natural habitat. They explore their surroundings, play with other gerbils and run away from predators. That keeps them active and gives them enough exercise.

However, one needs to make extra efforts to keep the animal active and give it enough opportunities to exercise as a pet. They can place loads of bedding in their tank that is more than a foot deep to keep them busy digging, However, that certainly makes things a bit tough for the owner. As for the balls, gerbils do play with the balls but do not like them much.

What about a gerbil exercise wheel? Well, they look and sound great for giving your gerbil the chance and mode to exercise and stay active. Before you go ahead and start building a gerbil wheel, it is essential to understand what the wheel looks like.

The gerbil exercise wheel

Exercise wheels are the most popular and common way of getting gerbils to exercise. Also referred to as the hamster wheel or running wheel, the exercise device is primarily meant for rodents and other cursorial animals; gerbil wheels are indeed very popular. They are the perfect choice for the gerbil to get cardiovascular exercise as they come in different sizes and look attractive.

One can buy the wheels or make an exercise wheel that is specifically designed for their gerbils. However, when you buy a wheel, make sure it is designed explicitly for gerbils and has a solid floor.

The design and material used for the wheels should make them safe, durable, and strong to avoid any injury while in motion. Wheels designed for other animals could potentially injure your gerbil.

Gerbils are active animals, and all they need is some encouragement from their owners and a stimulating environment to exercise. The best way out is to build an exercise wheel that is just right for your pet gerbil.

Building exercise wheel for gerbils

As the construction of a gerbil wheel is much different from other wheels, you need to understand the design and mechanics of the gerbil exercise wheels. The exercise wheels need to be made from the right material, large enough, and have a stable and smooth-running surface. Exercise wheels are a great device for your gerbil to stay be more active and enjoy a healthy life.

Just follow the below-listed steps to create a perfect exercise wheel for your gerbil.

Step 1

Start with the location and size of the cage and think ahead as you might find even the slight noise from the cage disturbing. One of the simplest ways to get rid of those issues is to pick a suitable location and size of the cage. It should be placed it in a secluded location, where the pet can exercise and play without any disturbance.

Step 2

Once the size of the cage and location is decided, it is time to get the required materials. You will need some basic materials such as wood sheets or splints, a screwdriver, scissors, glue, and nails to make the gerbil exercise wheel. You will also need a spindle, which is an essential component that will spin the wheel.

Step 3

Use your carpentry skills to create a can-like shape out of the wooden splints. Just make sure that the size of the can is large enough for the pet. If it is too small, your gerbil would not like to use it. You can paint the wooden surface in the shades of your preference or leave it in its natural look.

The size of the wheel will depend on the size of your gerbil, and it should allow the pet to run at a comfortable angle. Ensure that the wheels are at least 20 cm in diameter.

Step 4

Work on the surface of the wheel and ensure that there are no gaps or uneven surfaces. One does come across metal wheels in the market with rungs and gaps. However, those are very dangerous for pets, and your gerbil can get hurt while running or walking on such wheels. You could also place a soft foam to carpet the wheel and make things more comfortable for your pet.

Step 5

Hold and fix the spindle with the help of hot glue and nails and spin the wheel with the other. It is essential to verify the alignment so that there are no unwanted vibrations or unbalanced movements. The simple mechanism of the spindle automates the spinning process. Today, one comes across electric spinning wheels with a rechargeable battery.

Step 6

Fix the whole system to securely within the cage for better safety. Build a gerbil exercise wheel so that your pet gets enough exercise for optimum health and safety.

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Some precautions to take

Whatever size and material you choose to make the exercise wheel for a gerbil you need to ensure that it is perfectly safe for the animal.

  • Avoid plastic wheels as they are not suitable for chew-loving gerbils. Wooden exercise wheels are highly recommended as they can be chewed upon and file down a gerbil’s growing teeth.
  • The wheel surface should be solid and smooth instead of being wired to prevent injury. As exercise wheels can be noisy, replace the wheels with a silent one. Wooden wheels are the quietest and safest,
  • Place the gerbil cage in a quieter location and lubricate the wheels often to make them very quiet.
  • Clean the gerbil wheel and inspect it regularly for safety and hygiene as dirty wheels enhance the risks of infections.
  • If you have different types of gerbils, you will need to design different types of exercise wheels for them.

Potential drawbacks of a gerbil wheel

Although gerbil wheels are great for them, there can be some possible issues.

  • As gerbils have different personalities, they may or may not like to use the exercise wheels.
  • If not made of the right materials, those wheels can get a bit noisy at night for owners.
  • Another risk with running wheels is that your gerbil might get obsessed with running on them and develop sores on their feet.

If your gerbils don’t use the wheel

It is possible that your pet might not use the exercise wheel at all. So, it is a good idea to study his behaviours and preferences before building a gerbil exercise wheel. After all, nothing is more frustrating than buying something for a pet, only to find that it is of no use.

  • There could be several reasons why a gerbil is avoiding the wheel.
  • The exercise wheel could be too small or too big for the pet.
  • Your gerbil is already getting enough exercise from other outside activities.
  • As gerbils are more active at night, they might be using the exercise wheel without you around to hear or see.

Nevertheless, the wheel is still the best option, and most gerbils like to use the exercise wheel and never get tired of it. The repetitive motion on the wheel by the animal without a real function or goal is still not well understood. But gerbils love to run on wheels, and most gerbils will use the running wheel each day, even if for a short time. They can use the wheels to burn off some energy when they get restless.

You need to be very careful when designing and making a wheel for your gerbil. Don’t just go about and buy or design any kind of wheel. Follow the institutions given above and ensure that there is no risk of any injuries for the pet. It means that you need to stick to specific types of wheels based on the size and temperament of your gerbils. When purchasing a wheel or building a wheel for your gerbils, ensure that it is a solid one. It should be safe and comfortable when your pet runs around in it.

These cute little animals do not demand much from their owners. All they need is a spacious living space where they feel happy, safe, and comfortable. As gerbils are fast becoming popular as pets knowing them, understanding their likes and dislikes is essential. Invest some time and effort in learning more about your pet and build a good quality exercise wheel. The best exercise wheels will not only keep your pet happy but also help it develop a healthier body.

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