Buying a gerbil – 1

Things to consider before buying a gerbil

A small and fairly inexpensive rodent like the gerbil does involve some costs an effort. It needs a cage, food and care. Caring for one animal can cost (a lot) more time than another animal, but care is something that is needed every day, even when you come home tired from work or school, and during holidays. Before buying a gerbil, its important to discuss this with the whole family. Anyone who plans to buy an animal should get as much information about it in advance.

However sweet gerbils are, they do have their own needs in terms of care, food and environment. Discuss things with your family and ask the following questions: Is a gerbil a suitable pet in your family situation? How intensive is the care it needs and do you have the time for it, over the long term? What does it eat, and what kind of cage does it need? Will you keep it alone or will it feel better in a pair or a group? How much is it going to cost to buy and care for (including vet’s bills) and can you afford that? To avoid disappointments later, get the answers to these questions before buying your pet. In any event, don’t tempted by “love at first sight’, because buying on impulse is guaranteed to bring disappointment with your new pet later.

If you’re buying a gerbil for a child, make solid agreement in advance about who is going to feed it and clean its cage. Practice shows that children often promise a lot in the enthusiasm, but don’t always keep their promises over time. Don’t expect too much, especially with very young children: they’re certainly not old enough to take responsibility for a pet on their own. Before taking a gerbil home, be sure you’re got proper accommodation for it (a cage, container or other accommodation). After all, you can’t keep a rodent in a cardboard box.

What variety?

More than eighty species of gerbil are found worldwide, only a small selection are kept as pets in this country. Far less, is known about keeping special gerbils than about keeping the Mongolian gerbil. If you do not have any experience in keeping rodents, it is easiest to start off with the common gerbil. More advanced gerbil enthusiasts can try their luck with more exotic types.