Gerbil | Facts & Information

# Gerbil | Facts & Information

Gerbil | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About Gerbil

Due to these qualities, gerbils exhibitions have been organized, the first being organized in London in 1971 by the National Mongolian Gerbil Society.

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The gerbil is a small rodent from the family Muridae and the subfamily Gerbillinae, native to the semi-arid regions of Africa and Southwest Asia. This cute and playful animal is often kept as a pet, due to its sociable nature and easy maintenance. In this article, we will explore several aspects of gerbils, such as their appearance, behavior, natural habitat, and their importance as pets.

Gerbils are small rodents, with an average length of 10 to 14 centimeters, excluding the tail, which usually measures between 6 and 12 centimeters. These rodents have soft and short fur, which can vary in color from shades of brown to gray and white. They have large ears and shining black eyes. One of their distinct characteristics is their long and thin tail, which helps them with balance and where they store their fat reserves.

The behavior of gerbils is interesting and varied. They are social animals and live in colonies in the wild. Each colony consists of a dominant pair and several subordinate pairs. In captivity, gerbils usually prefer to live in pairs or small groups, as social interaction is important for their mental and emotional well-being. They are active and curious animals, spending a lot of time exploring their surroundings and satisfying their natural needs for scratching and digging.

One of the fascinating characteristics of gerbils is their ability to jump in the air. This ability is used as a defense mechanism against predators and for quick movement in their natural environment. These rodents are also good climbers and can easily climb high structures.

Gerbils are intelligent animals and can be trained to perform simple tricks with proper training and patience. They are clean animals and spend their time working on their personal hygiene. They have a strong instinct to mark their territory, which can lead to urine marking and scratching behaviors in non-domesticated pets. However, these behaviors can be controlled and modified through proper attention and mental and physical stimulation.

In their natural habitat, gerbils live in sandy and dusty soils, as well as in steppes and deserts. They are good diggers, due to their strong paws and developed forelimbs. These physical characteristics are adapted for efficient movement through soft soils and building intricate burrows. Burrows play an important role in the lives of gerbils, providing them with shelter, resting places, and protection against predators.

Due to their small size and relatively low maintenance requirements, gerbils are popular pets. They are usually gentle and affectionate, being docile if treated with respect and care during the taming period. These rodents have a high level of activity and require a spacious habitat, equipped with accessories and toys to maintain their mental and physical well-being. It is important to provide them with a balanced diet, which includes seeds, specialized gerbil food, and various fresh vegetables and fruits.

In conclusion, gerbils are fascinating and lively animals that can bring a lot of joy and entertainment to our lives. With interesting behavior, intelligence, and remarkable physical abilities, these rodents are certainly among the most beloved and appreciated companions in the animal world. By understanding their specific needs and behavior, we can create a suitable environment and provide a healthy and happy life for pet gerbils.









Although it has been mentioned since antiquity in Homer's Iliad, in specialized books, the first mention was made only in 1867. The gerbil is gentle, playful, easy to care for and does not exude a bad smell, which made it spread quickly especially in Europe as an excellent pet.

Gerbils come from a dry and hot climate environment, and for normal development, the rooms in which they will be accommodated must provide conditions close to those of the natural habitat.

Gerbils are accommodated in glass boxes (aquarium type) or in cages of dense wire mesh, less often plastic or wood material because they gnaw these materials.

Although gerbils do not give off bad smells, the interior of the rooms and cages will be well ventilated. The best ventilation is achieved with the help of air conditioning systems fixed on the cover of the cages.

Straw, soft fan, shavings, pressed sawdust or quality paper will be used as bedding.

Gerbils are particularly active, playful and constantly moving rodents, an aspect that requires that different objects such as wheels, tubes or boxes in the form of a labyrinth be placed inside the cages.

The wheels will be full, made of hardwood planks, without spokes in which gerbils can catch and break their tail or limbs. The tubes and boxes will be made of hard materials (ceramics) so they can not be gnawed, and their dimensions (3-4 cm in diameter) will allow the gerbils to hide (thus simulating the galleries that the gerbils dig in the ground). Dishes for food or water will be made of hard, heavy materials so that they can not be overturned.

Feeding Gerbil

Gerbils are animals adapted to the poor conditions of the desert, which means that their digestive system is built in such a way that they digest small amounts of food, about 10-15g per day. In nature, gerbils ' food is made up of grains, seeds, vegetables and small invertebrates.

A proper diet is extremely important in maintaining health, much more important than we can believe. For feeding gerbils you can use the seed mixes (sometimes mixed with dried vegetables) that can be found in specialty stores.

However, the diet of a gerbil should not be made up exclusively of such things. It's possible for gerbils to choose only what they like from those mixtures and avoid the rest. They especially like sunflower seeds, but they should not be eaten in excess as they lead to fattening. Pellets found in pet-shops can also be used, they constitute a balanced nutrition, but they are not enough.

Your gerbil must benefit from a varied food, both to be able to benefit from all the necessary nutrients and to avoid monotony. In this regard, you can also offer fruits and vegetables: broccoli, boiled potato, carrot, cauliflower, laptuca, apple, pear, grapes.

Avoid raw peas, raw potato, potato leaves or rhubarb and onions. Vegetables should be introduced gradually, one by one, in small quantities, to avoid possible digestive problems. You should always be careful to provide them with vegetables and fruits that have not been treated with insecticides/pesticides.

Wash them well before offering and cut them into small pieces. You can also offer them from time to time small pieces of cheese, unsweetened cereals, pieces of boiled egg, pieces of whole grain bread, raisins, peanuts and pumpkin seeds (only in very small quantities).

If you have the opportunity to purchase flour worms, they will appreciate them. Give your gerbil grass or hay, they are even beneficial as they help both digestion and chop their teeth properly.Gerbil Behavior

In the natural environment, gerbils live in small family groups of 20 individuals. The group of gerbils is formed around an old and strong male. A group of gerbils controls a territory of 300-1500 m2 and is usually made up of an adult male, 2-3 adult females and their offspring.

Gerbils communicate with each other through the vibrations of air, smell and sight. When in danger, gerbils warn their brethren by clapping their hind limbs quickly, causing the air to vibrate.

In case of imminent danger, they jump to great heights (over a meter) or quickly dig galleries, where they take shelter. The sense organs (sight and hearing) help gerbils to spot their enemies (owls, snakes, Foxes) from a distance.

Gerbil Appearance

The body weight varies greatly, from 52 g to 135 g. the average body weight in both sexes is higher in meriones libycus species compared to Meriones unguiculatus. The average body length is 12 inches (9-15 cm), and the tail often exceeds 12 cm.

The color is reddish gray, and in recessive specimens rarely appears black color. In the wild form, the abdomen has light-colored fur, often dirty-white, due to adaptation to environmental conditions.

The eyes, generally black, are large, prominent, located at the top of the head, which allows the animal to have a wide field of vision. The ears are small, round at the tip, covered with soft hairs and carried straight up.

The long tail helps to maintain balance in the "on the vine" position, is completely covered with hair and has at the tip a tuft of thick hairs, often black in color. The limbs are completely covered with hair.

The forelegs are short and used as real hands when the animal feeds, and the hind ones are long, strong, adapted for jumping and allow the animal to take the "squirrel"position.

Gerbil Breeding

The gerbil is a polyestric animal. In the natural environment, the breeding season is related to the warm season but, in captivity, it can breed all year round.

Reproduction in the natural environment is achieved by mating the male with a single female. The male follows the female in heat and attracts her attention by beating her legs.

After mating, the male stays around the female and beats his feet for 1-2 hours, to ward off other candidates for mating with his favorite female.

After calving, both parents care for the Cubs. Females can breed 5-7 times a year, 1-12 cubs each. Chicks remain in the family until sexual maturity, the last series of chicks always winter with their parents.

The gerbil is a monogamous species. In general, females mate with a single male. The female who has lost her partner does not accept to mate with another male.

Taking into account this aspect, breeding accommodation will be made in pairs, one male and one female. A female can reproduce 6-8 times a year with limits between 3-10 times.

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