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A gerbil is the right match for you if you are looking for a small pet with a great personality. Gerbils make great pets because it is pretty easy to from a bond with them. Gerbils are well-known for their friendly nature and connection with the humans. These tiny pets are a hit for their tunneling talent, nap time cuteness, jumping prowess, and mastery in gnawing. Keeping these characteristics in mind, you must be very careful in making a selection of house for your gerbil if you are a pet parent. The cute-looking high jumping, digging, and chewing may turn out to be disaster for both you and you pet if the house selection is wrong. So, you must choose a home as per the needs of your tiny friend.
Here is the complete guide to help you buy a cage for your gerbil along with the instructions to set it up.
Popular Options for Gerbil Housing
When it comes to selecting a habitat for your gerbil, then you are provided with three best options to choose from. These are:
Terrariums or Glass Aquariums
Terrariums or glass aquariums are the most recommended and most common house choices for the gerbils. These containers are easy on your pocket, can be cleaned and maintained easily, and let you observe your pet even from a distance very carefully. The most important feature of these enclosures is that the gerbils cannot chew through their walls. So, these habitats are also good for gerbils themselves because they remain safe and secure inside without any scope of escape. The surrounding area of the habitat also remains clean because both the pet and the bedding remains inside.
If you are planning to buy a terrarium or an aquarium for your gerbil, then you will need to have a wire lid/mesh on the top. This will help in air circulation along with keeping the gerbil safe inside. Sometimes, house cats or other animals can prey on this critter if left unattended. Such a covering will protect the gerbil from any chance of an emergency. You can easily find this lid at a store. Or, you can make the lid on your own with the help of a hardware cloth.
The glass enclosures are very economical options. Even if you do not have a budget for a new one, you can repurposes an old lizard terrarium or a fish aquarium and built your gerbil’s abode. Another great advantage of these glass enclosures is that they are feasible in every kind of climate. Also, they are not restricted to any particular space and you can buy a small or large enclosure as per the space you have.
Cages Made of Wire
Wire cages are the next best options to buy as gerbil cages. Wire cages are good options because they are immune to the gnawing done by your gerbil. They also protect the gerbil and do not let the tiny critter escape from the habitat. Wire cages also come with ramps and shelves to help you customize the cage according to the lifestyle of your tiny pet. Make sure to buy a cage in which the bars are close enough so that the gerbil cannot escape. It will also prevent the feet, tail, or teeth of the gerbil from getting stuck in between the wires. It is recommended to buy a wire cage with bars kept at a distance of one-fourth inch.
Wire cages provide optimum air flow. But, the disadvantage they have is they do not provide a separation from the outer environment and the bedding can overflow. This can make the area around the cage messy. But if you live in a humid environment, then wire cages are better options than glass enclosures because the moisture cannot escape from the glass walls. On the other hand, the area inside a wire cage remains free of humidity due to proper air circulation. But, if your gerbil is a frequent chewer, then wire cages may not be the right choice for them. It is so because sometimes these critters chew the wires to a point that it starts to hurt their tooth!
Cages Made of Plastic
Available in both plastic-wire and only plastic options, these cages are another great alternative for the gerbil cages. These cages are available in may color and design options and generally children find them very attractive. But experts do not recommend plastic cages as primary options because gerbils tend to chew everything around them. But, you can buy a plastic cage for occasional usage to have a fun interaction with your tiny friend. You can use these cages for the times when the children want to enjoy their play time. Unlike hamsters, gerbils are very persistent on chewing and will chew down every non-metal thing around them. Also, they get their way out when the wires of the cage become loose due to excessive chewing.
Due to excessive designing, these cages do not have proper ventilation and you need to take extra care in cleaning. These cages are not easy to clean too due to intricate patterns. This is the reason they begin to smell pretty quickly. Buying a plastic cage will be a good idea when you decide to use it as a play structure for your pet. This cage will be a nice option to shift your pet when you are doing the leaning of the main cage.
Some people use plastic tubs as enclosures and put a wire mesh on the top. But, this is not a suitable option as you cannot see through the plastic walls.
What Should Be the Size of the Cage for Your Gerbil?
While making a decision to choose the cage for your gerbil, you must take into consideration the fact that these creatures are very social. They need a lot of space to run around, burrow, and interact with their fellow gerbil mates. So, you must always try to get gerbil in pairs. The more the better. If you pet a lone gerbil, then your pet will feel very sad all the time due to a lack of the social interaction.
The rule of the the thumb says that you must have 10 gallons of space for each gerbil. So, if you plan to pet two gerbils, then you should get a cage of 30 inches by 12 inches. Try to make enough room for these creatures because they love space a lot. Apart from the length of the cage, you must also focus on the depth and the hiding areas as they love to play.
It is better to go for a terrarium as compared to an aquarium because they are easy to clean and are light in weight. Whichever kind of cage you choose for your gerbil, keep in mind to clean it on a regular basis in every two to three weeks. Dump out all the things from the cage except a small amount of substrate from the nesting corner of the cage. Use vinegar or a mild detergent to clean the cage. Give a quick wash to all the contents and air or towel try them. Then refill the cage with two to three inches of substrate. Add a handful of substrate that you collected from the nesting corner back inside the cage so that the pets get the familiar smell.
Things You Should Keep in Your Gerbil Habitat
You should keep your gerbil cage with certain necessities to add to their happiness and playfulness. Here is a list of important things with which your best gerbil cage must be equipped:
You should put a wooden nest box inside the cage. Gerbils love to use this nest box to hide, sleep, and to use as a roof deck. Wooden hideouts are a nice way to add a fun playing area for your critters.
A four to eight ounce bottle must be secured to the side of the cage or the tank so as to eliminate the scope of spilling. You must change the water a couple of times per week. When you clean the cage, you must also clean the water bottle with scrubber. The lip area of the bottle should be cleaned properly because this is the area where most of the bacteria gets accumulated.
Toys are an indispensable element in you gerbil’s living area. The toys should be as such that they should meet the innate desire of the gerbils to burrow and chew. A 4 by 4 wooden toy with a number of holes drilled in it will be a great toy for the gerbils to climb and chew. A heavy cardboard box or toilet papers are great toys to entertain your tiny pet. So, wooden toys are best gifts for your gerbils. You must stay away from buying plastic houses, plastic plastic toys, or plastic tubes as they will make your gerbils chew indiscriminately. Edible structures are great options as toys for your tiny pets. They can chew and play with the toy at the same time. Wooden houses are long-lasting choices to choose as toys for gerbils.
You must always consider to built some platforms inside the cage so that your gerbils can jump freely and have fun. Gerbils love an environment that is challenging and thus they love when they are provided with new toys and surroundings of different kinds. If you constantly add new platforms then your gerbils will love this change in the atmosphere. New surroundings will titillate the mind of the gerbils and will enhance the creative aspect of these critters. They will feel more happy and will enjoy their surroundings a great deal. If you cannot make the platforms on your own, then you can buy a cage with the platforms. Many design options are available in the market as per the age of the gerbils.
A wire mesh wheel with measurements of about eight to nine inches should be added to the nesting area of your critter. To prevent the wire mesh from squeaking, you can grease the wheels of the mesh with beeswax or a chapstick. Slat style wheels are not recommended as exercise wheels for gerbils because they can get their tails and hands caught in them. Plastic material is good for exercise wheels. But, make sure that the plastic material is not very thin because otherwise the gerbils will be able to chew it away very easily. If the gerbils start to create holes in the plastic exercise wheel, then you should try to get rid of the exercise wheel. Then, you must replace with a new one that is more sturdy.
Give a wonderful treat to your critter with a sand bath that is composed of chinchilla dust. It relaxes them and is also good for their overall wellbeing. You can use a bowl of around 6 inches to put the sand and you can use this to give a sand bath to your gerbil. You can give a sand bath to your gerbil once a week. To make sure that the gerbils do not use the sand bath for potty, you must leave the bowl inside for only an hour or so. Chinchilla dust is great for gerbils and it removes the excess moisture and oil from their coat and they feel refreshed. In gerbil shows, chinchilla dust is used frequently. In pre-show preparation, this dust becomes handy to enhance the appearance of the gerbils.
It may come as a surprise for you but gerbils love to be active more than they love their food! So, you must try to make their surroundings fun and should bring a change in a continuous basis in order to increase their happiness. Constantly add new boxes and toys. Try rotating these toys and boxes in and out so that your critters always have something fresh to amuse themselves with. Designing best gerbil cage is a very exciting thing as it is filled with fun. It is more or less like an art project in which you add colorful and stylistic elements for your pet. Every pet needs a unique kind of habitat to grow and thus, you must do efforts to build the best gerbil cage for your pet.
Gerbils are great options as pets if you do not have any experience of having a pet in the past. These tiny friends do not create a lot of problem and also do not occupy a lot of living space. They are very easy to manage and are very social. You can find some great offers on the best gerbil cage from some good sellers. For example, some sellers provide free water bottles and toys with the gerbil cages. So, you must do your own research before buying a home for your tiny pet. If you do not like the idea of buying just any home for your gerbil, then designing one is the best ide. You can customize it according to your taste and mix and match things for a fun element.
So, build the best gerbil cage for your pet and give your tiny friend a great surprise! Make sure that you have at least two gerbil cages. This is necessary because when you are doing the cleaning of one cage, then you can use the other cage temporarily to put your critter.