Catching and handling a gerbil
Animals that are not used to being picked up by human hands are always frightened by the experience. You can normally pick up your gerbil by lifting it from underneath. You put the other hand over it as a “lid” to prevent the animal from escaping. Young animals, especially, tend to jump off your hand in panic.
When animals are very wild (which is not usual with gerbils) you should use a jam jar to catch them. It is important to catch the animal as fast as possible. Although gerbils can normally cope well with stress, along chase can tire them out and cause them to go into shock. A gerbil in shock will lay flat on its chest with paws outstretched and make epileptic (jerking) movements.