Unlike other small rodents, gerbils are sweet and have mild temperaments, which is why they are highly recommended as pets for children. Despite the fact that most gerbils are virtually incapable of producing harm to human beings, kids might get overly enthusiastic and might accidentally hurt them. They are small and fragile and are some of the most docile rodents that can be adopted by families.
For today’s article, we have prepared a list of interesting facts about gerbils, some of which you might not have heard of. For instance, did you know that gerbils can feel depressed if they do not have a companion? In fact, it is a good idea to get a pair right off the bat, especially as these rodents are nocturnal and have no one to share their time with when everyone else in the house is sleeping.
These pets also require little effort in the way of cleaning and maintenance. Compared to guinea pigs and hamsters, they drink a lot less water, which is why their bedding needs to be changed only once a week or every two weeks. They do need fresh food and water. Because they urinate a lot less compared to other rodents, the cage of your gerbil might remain clean for a longer amount of time.
When it comes to their dietary requirements, gerbils shouldn’t consume too much fat, which is why you should get pellets and only supplement their diet with nuts and seeds on occasion. They are hoarders, which means that they like to gather a lot more food than they might ever require. Because they’re somewhat enthusiastic and have a lot of energy, you might notice that they like to dig through their bedding. They also like to chew on things, so you could use hard cardboard to make sure that their teeth remain healthy.
Without further ado, here are three curious things about gerbils.
They prefer to live with other gerbils
Because they are social, they like to share their space and engage in play time with other gerbils. However, we do have to make a mention, and that is that they are quite territorial, which is why they like living with other gerbils they’ve grown up with.
Because they don’t react well when they are introduced to a new gerbil, they might either fail to adjust to the change, or they might have to get accustomed with their companion over a period of several weeks.
In the wild, they live in burrows
A gerbil colony will invest a lot of time and effort into building a network of burrows. Some of these burrows can be as deep as 60 inches and can sprawl across a whopping 314 inches. This behavior is due to the fact that, given their size and the risk of being preyed upon by bigger animals, they can use their burrows to escape and conveniently hide from predators. The deeper the burrow, the less likely they are to become victims.
They heavily rely on their fathers
Also in the wild, gerbils are cared for by males. That means that fathers are in charge of their upbringing and they help by cleaning and protecting the pups, as well by gathering all sorts of nesting materials. Moreover, they are responsible for teaching pups how to gather their own food as they grow up.