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Gerbils are small animals but can be cute and adorable pets. They are inquisitive and extremely social animals that love to interact with human beings. They need low maintenance making them convenient to care for. However, their small size makes them too delicate and so you should know how to hold your pet gerbil properly.
Most people want to select a pet they can safely interact with, which includes picking it up, cuddling it, stroking it, as well as, playing with it. The article gives some handy tips on how to pick up a gerbil without hurting it.
Are gerbils fond of being held?
First, you should know as a pet owner whether your pet gerbil loves being held or not. The answer is yes they are fond of being held. These tiny creatures love to be stroked, played with, and being held. In short, they love human attention a lot. It is also an excellent way to bond when you hold the gerbil and pick it up. However, you need to make sure first that it trusts you thoroughly.
They are sociable animals and that is another reason why they like to be held. It is immaterial whether they are in the company of a human being or another gerbil. They would need to get accustomed to humans before being held as they are prey animals by default in the natural habitat.
It signifies that it is an instinct of these rodents to conclude that any animal larger than them can be a predator. However, after trust is developed, their apprehension will not be an issue. Your pet gerbil will love the human contact.
How to pick up a gerbil – What not to do while picking it up
1. Never pick it up by its tail – You must have observed that your gerbil has thin skin on its tail. In case you try to pick it up by the tail, this skin might slip off the tail and expose the bones. When the skin comes off, a vet has to amputate that particular portion of its tail. Unfortunately, the tail of your gerbil will not grow again if it is broken off once.
2. You should not punish the gerbil-In case your pet gerbil begins nibbling your hands or appears as if it wants to jump, you should not punish him. Do not flick its nose or shout at it as a punishment. If you punish your pet rodent, it may feel afraid of you. That could weaken the bond between you too.
3. Always avoid picking it up from above-A predator bird usually swoops down and scoops up the rodent with its claws in the wild. So, in case you try to wrap a hand around the gerbil, it will possibly think you are a predator as well. If you do not want to portray yourself as a bad person, it is advisable to scoop it up from underneath instead of picking it up from above.
4. Do not place it on its back-After you have picked it up, never lay the gerbil on its back while in your hand. Usually, gerbils do not lie down in the wild with their tummies in the air. In case you attempt to put it in this position, it might feel extremely uncomfortable. Your pet gerbil may struggle frantically to move out of that position and can even hurt itself.
How to pick up a gerbil?-Easy tips
As an owner of a gerbil, there will be occasions when you have to pick it up so that it gets accustomed to being held. So, how to pick it up in the correct manner? The section gives you certain easy steps so that you learn how to pick it properly.
Step 1: Make sure your pet gerbil trusts you before picking it up
1. Give some time to your gerbil to get used to its new house– You may want to start holding the gerbil the moment you bring it home. However, it will require some time to get used to the new environment first. Allow it to explore the cage and get familiar with where things are. It should be allowed a minimum of some hours as exploration time. Some gerbils may require longer than a few hours to adjust as they are timid creatures.
2. Wash your hands properly– You do not have to leave your gerbil completely alone when it is adjusting to the new ambiance. You should simply refrain from picking it up. However, you can start interacting with it by putting your hand in the cage and allowing getting familiar with your scent. However, you should ensure to wash your hands properly before that. The idea is that the gerbil should get acquainted with your body’s natural scent and not the smell of what you have eaten.
3. Allow the gerbil to explore your arm and hand –Put one washed hand into the cage of your gerbil for around 2-5 minutes at a time. Do not move your hand away or flinch in case it starts nibbling at your hand. The gerbil is trying to explore in this manner. In case you do now wish it to nibble, simply say ‘no” while blowing a gentle puff of air close to it.
4. Give treats to your gerbil– Giving treats to your gerbil is an excellent way to gain its trust. Give it a few treats if it crawls onto one of your hands. Some examples of treats are tiny pieces of bread, Cheerios, and sunflower seeds. However, you should note that seeds of sunflowers can make gerbils obese. So, you should not be too generous while offering this treat to it.
5. Daily interaction with your gerbil is a must-In case your gerbil too nervous or timid, it may take a while to be comfortable in your company. However, that is perfectly okay. When you interact with your gerbil daily, it will start trusting you.
Step 2: Picking up the pet gerbil
1. Make sure the room is free of obstacles and hazards- Even before you decide to pick up the gerbil, ensure that the room is devoid of hazards. There should not be any nooks or spots where your gerbil might go and hide. Hide or remove all electrical wires and cords, as well as, close all doors and windows. Also, stop access to any vents or radiators where the rodent could fall.
2. Do not lose your composure-By now, the gerbil is likely to be quite comfortable with your hand and you. However, now the time has come to start picking it up. You should not be nervous while doing this. The gerbil has a great sense of smell and that enables it to smell the adrenalin in the sweat when you are anxious or nervous.
If you put your hands in the cage of your gerbil and keep them still for some time, it is aware you are there. Doing so can also calm your nerves even before you pick it up. If you are calm, your gerbil will also be calm and it will be simpler to pick it up.
3. Cajole the gerbil into one of the corners of its cage– The best way of picking it up will be to use your hands and scooping it up from beneath. However, the task will be simpler if you can nudge it gently into a corner using both your hands. Press your friends closely together to allow your pet gerbil to climb onto the hands.
When you have the gerbil in a corner, it can be prevented from escaping you while trying to pick it up. You can use a few tiny treats to motivate the gerbil to move onto your hands.
4. Pick up the gerbil– If the gerbil is now in your hands, you can gradually lift it. In contrast to other tiny pets, gerbils are not quite fond of being picked up. As such, it will require a while to get familiar with the concept of being in the air.
Begin by lifting the gerbil only around 2.5 cm or 1 inch into the air. Then place it back down. Your gerbil will not get used to the notion of being picked up. So, slowly lift it up and out of the cage.
Avoid lifting your gerbil too high. It could severely hurt itself while jumping from a great height. In case your gerbil is reluctant to climb onto the hands, motivate it to run onto a plastic cup or toilet paper. Use your hands for covering the open ends and lift them out of the cage. Thereafter, you may put it into your hands gradually.
As mentioned earlier, gerbils are extremely friendly, tiny critters. The good news is that they do not really bite humans. However, many people retain the memory bitten by memory while holding it. So, they are slightly wary of these creatures.
5. Allow the gerbil to move around-You may be tempted to hold the gerbil very close and would also want it to be still. Yet, the most suitable thing you may do is to give your pet gerbil the liberty of crawling around your arms and hands while holding it. On the other hand, if you try to keep it still, it will make it believe to have been trapped within the claws of a predator i the wild. So, you would certainly not like to gerbil to consider it as a predator. Make sure to place your pet back into its cage gently. It will need some time to rest after being picked up by you.
While holding the gerbil, you should be confident so that they are unable to run away from the safety of your body. Gerbils are naturally inquisitive by nature. So they would like to take a thorough look around while trying to crawl up your body and arms when they can.
Typically, gerbils are not known to jump off while their owners hold them. So, you can be much more assured while handling them compared to other tiny pet animals. Thus, you may allow them to move around slightly without holding too tightly all the time.
So, now you have learned the different steps and tips on how to pick up a gerbil in the previous sections. It is important to know how to handle your pet gerbil even before picking it up. Also, if you hold it incorrectly, it can be scared or become afraid of you.
Permit at least a day to your gerbil to get familiar with you even before handling it. Let it get acquainted with your scent by putting your hand in the cage. You can offer some small treats so that the gerbil relates your hand with some kind of reward. After your gerbil starts feeling comfortable you can scoop it from underneath. Always avoid pick it up from above else it will consider you to be a predator.