Category Archives: Gerbil Owner FAQs

how to catch a gerbl

How to catch a gerbil

When it comes to letting a gerbil run in your house, it is up to you how long that they have to run each day.

A gerbil will need at least half an hour each time that they go for a run and will need to do this at least three times a week.

However, once they have had a good run out, they will have to return to their cage.

Getting them back to their cage is no easy thing!

This is especially the case if they have escaped from you and don’t have any familiarity with the surroundings they have escaped into.

So if they have done, this how do you catch the gerbil and return them to the cage?

How to catch a gerbil

Here is one way to catch a gerbil and get it back to its cage.

Put the cage were the gerbil will easily return to it on their own and without your assistance.

Then gently nudge them toward the cage.

However, if they are not moving and inspired by your prompting, get their attention by thumping or scratching the floor.

This will usually do the trick of getting their attention.

Then take a cardboard tube, such as a kitchen tissue roll holder and then let them climb into the cardboard tube which you are holding.

Then when they are within the tube, seal both ends up with your hands and take it to the cage and then release the gerbil back into the cage.

Do not try and chase a gerbil or suddenly grab an animal from above.

If you swoop down with your hands from above, it may frighten them.

As a result, you lose any trust that you have established with you gerbil immediately and from now on your hands will frighten them.

Never try and grab, pull or lift them by the tip of their tail.

If they are hiding under furniture, be patient and wait until they come out on their own and be ready with the cardboard tube.

Don’t try and venture underneath the furniture or they will be intimidated and make a run for it.

If you really need to as nothing else has worked, try and nudge them out with a broomstick and then block their escape.

If they disappear over and over then remember to block places before you give them opportunities to run.

By doing this, you improve the prospects of catching them.

How do gerbils see?

One thing you will immediately notice about gerbils is that their eyes are placed differently on their heads, compared with humans.

Gerbils see out of the eyes which are placed on the sides of their head. It means they can see at different angles to what we can and often behind them just about.

Their eyes are large and protruding and allow them to view a lot more of their surroundings.

This also means that they cannot see directly in front of them so well and so may often miss things which are directly ahead and will have to rely on their nose to help them out

How do gerbils understand the space around them?

Thier spatial sense is not so well developed because they eyes field of vision barely overlaps.

They then compensate by continuously moving the head up and down which allows them to differentiate a more frequently changing foreground from the more stable background image.

Gerbils are very sensitive to any kind of movement

They are especially sensitive to movement and can perceive the movement of objects around them.

Even a faint shadow immediately causes gerbils to run for cover because they fear predators such as birds.

How do gerbils perceive color with their eyes?

Even though it was once assumed that gerbils can see only black and white, it is understood that they can actually see colors more vividly than what was once thought.

Gerbils can also perceive partial ultraviolet light, which is invisible to humans.

They can also make out patterns as well which helps them to understand shape and texture.

The pupil of a gerbil’s eye

The pupil in a gerbil’s eye is vertically positioned which is much the same as other desert animals.

Because their pupils are this way it means that a gerbil has good depth perception in their horizontal plain.

This means that they can see predators approaching from the ground and their air which is extremely beneficial for a prey animal like a gerbil who rely on their eyesight to help with their general survival.

How do gerbils see in the dark?

Gerbils rely on their eyesight and other senses to guide them at night when there is total darkness. They are nocturnal creatures and rely on the darkness to give them cover from encroaching predators who seek to attack them.


How do you pick up gerbils

How do you pick up gerbils?

Picking up a gerbil can be a tricky thing to do, especially if you have never done it before.

They are nervous creatures and so are easily intimidated.

One hesitation and they can be scared off and won’t go near you.

But by following a few directions, it can be mastered easily.

How do you pick up gerbils?

Here is a good way of picking up a gerbil.

This trick takes patience and understanding.

You may have to persevere especially if the gerbil is new to you and does not know your scent or is familiar with your voice.

It may even take several attempts to master it before you gain their trust.

Get some treats before you begin

Firstly, get a treat that you know that the will like and enjoy.

Something sweet usually does the trick or some nuts and raisins.

Hold the treat in your hand, and be patient.

Be careful not to make any loud noises.

Make sure there aren’t any loud noise coming from the surrounding environment that might scare them.

Eventually, the gerbil will walk right onto the palm of your hand.

When it has walked onto the palm of your hand, just hold it here by holding it at the back of its neck

The gerbil will soon let you know when you are not holding it correctly by putting up a fight and trying to wriggle out of your hand.

Don’t hold or lift a gerbil by the tip of its tail or try and pull at it.

Try to lift the gerbil only at the bast of the tail where the back ends and not anywhere else on the tail.

Why you should never hold a gerbil by its tail

Their tail’s are not strong and the skin of the tail easily tears off.

It is quite possible that you could end up holding just the skin of the tail and nothing else if you are not careful.

Thus leaving the gerbil with a naked tail.

Because the skin of a tail does not grow back if it is torn off, the gerbil will merely end up ripping off its tail because it cannot bear having a naked tail.

A gerbil without a tail will cause it balance problems and much pain. Their ability to climb will also be affected.

Once it is in your hand

Be gentle with it, and don’t speak loudly to it. Whisper to your gerbil and help it to understand your voice better.

Again, make sure that any noise is kept to a minimum and don’t startle them with sudden movements.

Pick them up regularly

Picking them up regularly is an important part of building a good relationship with them.

Make sure you continue to do this on a daily basis so that they start to enjoy spending time with you.

The more you do it, the better they will get to know you.

The trust will continue to build until they don’t have a problem coming to you and will even voluntarily climb on you.

How often do gerbils need dust baths?

Dust bathing is when an animal rolls around in dust or sand, so that they can remove parasites from their fur, skin, or feathers. It is a maintenance behavior that is done by a number of different species of animal.

It has been suggested that wallowing (a behavior similar to dust bathing) may serve functions such as thermoregulation, providing a sunscreen, ectoparasite control, and scent-marking. (source)

 Do gerbils need to take dust baths?
Yes they do need to take dust baths.  Like other animals, they need a dust bath to remove the parasites from their fur. Doing it themselves by washing just won’t do it sometimes and so they need a dust bath to help them out.
How often do gerbils need dust baths?

They need a dust bath at least once a week. This will mean that they regularly take a dust bath to get clean themselves of any parasites that get into their fur. But they need to have the option of taking more dust baths if they want to. This is why it should always be left out for them, and then the dust maintained and topped up when required. Just make sure to sieve it through every few days to get gerbil poop out.

How do you prepare a dust bath for a gerbil?

Sand can be purchased for a gerbil at any good pet store. However, use chinchilla sand for a dust bath. Don’t use normal sand or dust for a gerbil’s dust bath. The chinchilla sand can be kept in a clay sand tray for your gerbil. A clay sand tray will hold still rather than a plastic one which will move around the cage. If you have a lightweight tray, a gerbil will just wreck it. They will also not chew a clay tray.


How do you clean a gerbil?

Many pets need to take a bath. Dogs famously need to be bathed to get all the dirt and grime off them.

But some animals don’t need to take a bath such as cats who can clean themselves and hate water. So bathing a cat is totally out of the question.

How do you clean a gerbil?

Much like the example of the cat above, you don’t actually clean a gerbil they don’t like it when you do. Instead, they clean themselves with their tongue and with their paws.

Like other animals such as cats, they are very sensitive to getting dirt and grime on them and can sense when they are unclean. They will automatically clean themselves to get the dirt or grime off immediately. They don’t hang around with this.

So you don’t have to worry about bathing them. In fact, don’t even think about getting them close to water. They will hate it.

do gerbils bite hard

Do Gerbils Bite Hard?

Gerbils are curious creatures who love to explore and investigate things.

They use their keen sense of smell to sniff things out, their whiskers to feel in front of them and then their mouths to taste and eat things.

Gerbils will try and eat anything once that doesn’t bite back.

They will also try anything twice that tastes good to them.

So this means that in order to check you out, they may attempt to sniff you and may also bite you.

Do gerbils bite hard?

Most of the time they don’t bite hard fortunately. It is more like a nibble most of the time.

The only time when they bite hard is when they are in undue stress and are being hurt.

They may bite to try and get out of a situation such being held too tightly or aggressively by an owner.

Their teeth are relatively sharp and so when they clamp down hard aggressively.

They can cause damage as their teeth are designed to rip through food.

So by treating it well you should be able to overcome a stressed out gerbil.

When you first have a gerbil, if it seems stressed don’t try and hold it right from the start.

Give it time to get to know you and understand who you are.

Talk gently to it a lot and feed it food.

When it comes to receive food from you, it may nibble you finger thinking it is food but nothing more than that.

They great thing about gerbils is that they are easy to tame.

With a lot of love and attention, they are less likely to bite you.


Male gerbils tend to be easier to tame and are more calmer than females as a whole, but you can also get some females who are also quite calm in their nature.

So yes, in summary they can bite hard but if you treat them well you should not experience this.


do gerbils drink a lot of water

Do Gerbils Drink A Lot Of Water?

We know that gerbils need to drink so as to keep themselves hydrated.

Do gerbils drink a lot of water?

Yes they do. They need water to drink and re-hydrate themselves.

They don’t drink any other liquid to do this and can only drink water.

This can be tap water or still spring water which can be purchased from grocery stores and supermarkets.

It can’t be sparking water though as they can’t drink gassy drinks.

They always need to have water available  just like we do.

By having water always available, you can ensure a gerbil will always be able to drink whenever it needs it.

This is why having a water bottle attached to the cage is a good idea to implement.

You can keep water bottle topped up so that they never run dry.

do gerbils eat the things they chew

Do Gerbils Eat The Things They Chew?

Gerbils have the ability to chew and chomp on anything they see. It doesn’t matter what material it is whether cardboard, wood, plastic, cloth, even metals, they will have a go at chewing anything.

This is largely because as rodents, their teeth are constantly growing and so they need to chew stuff in order to grind them down. It means their teeth are kept at their proper length and they don’t start to hurt them at all.

Another by product of chew is that they can produce a fine and soft substance whenever they chew on stuff, which they then use for bedding. However, this is secondary to wearing down their teeth

So do gerbils eat the things that they chew?

This is quite an important question to ask, as they can chew some pretty indigestible objects.

However, the answer is that they don’t eat a lot of the things that they chew.

Gerbils are very good at self regulating themselves and they will not just eat objects without thinking about it.

They do have the ability to regurgitate or spit out what they are chewing.

However, it does them good to have objects such as paper towels, toilet paper, cardboard or toilet roll tubes in their cage which will help them chew things a lot easier.

It certainly is a lot easier for them to chew materials that are softer and more flexible than those that are hard and brittle such as plastic objects.

are my gerbils playing or fighting

Are My Gerbils Playing Or Fighting?

Gerbils are pets that are sociable and fond of company. They are terrific pets for children to have as they help teach them about the responsibility of looking after something. However, they do need adult supervision as things can turn if they are not monitored closely.

Gerbils enjoy living in groups and enjoy the social aspect of life. Unlike hamsters, who often prefer to live alone, gerbils thrive from the company of their kin.

They are known to scrap with each other and can do so in two ways

By play fighting or fighting seriously

What is gerbil play fighting?

When you have an animal that is as energetic and inquisitive as a gerbil, putting it with other gerbils will lead to some interesting scenes.

Often they will chase each other around the tank, have a gerbil-boxing match or tumble over each other pouncing and jumping.

After these scuffles, they will return to what they were doing.

Play fighting is quite normal behavior for gerbils.

It is important for them to do and helps them to get to know themselves and others. Its a way for them to help establish hierarchy within their group.

There are times when it does get more serious and a mere scuffle and it can suddenly get very bloody indeed.

This type of fighting can get very violent and with the intention of the death of another.

Why does gerbil fighting happen?

When kept as pets, gerbils cannot leave the tank if any stress or tension occurs within their family group.

Unfortunately, this can result in behavior that is detrimental to them and the group.

  • This happens if there is a hierarchical battle in the group.
  • Often there may be a struggle for power when one gerbil gets weaker because of their age of if there are more males than females of a particular breeding age in the group.
  • When a mother has daughters that reach a certain age (usually around 6 months), they can often try and kick their mother out of the home.
How do you know when play fighting gets serious

So you can tell that trouble is ahead with a gerbil following a few signs;

  • Their coats get puffed up
  • They will chatter their teeth at each other
  • A gerbil may stop sleeping in the nest
  • They may have bite marks on their head
  • A gerbil may have bite marks on their head or rump
  • They may have bite marks on their tail
  • A gerbil may lose weight because of being deprived of food and water

Some of these signs can be hard to pick up on and so its important to keep a close eye on our pets on a frequent basis so that we can identify changes in behavior.

The good thing is that fighting between gerblls is quite rare with most gerbil groups seeking to live closely together.

So as to lower the risk of their behavior deteriorating, it is worth taking into the account the information above so as to identify any indicators that may show that there is trouble brewing.