feeding your gerbil

* In their natural habitat, gerbils eat a selection of wind blown seeds, grain and grasses. Gerbils are often mistaken as herbivores, but they are omnivores and do need a small amount of protein in their diet to keep them healthy. In the wild they would satisfy this need by eating grubs and insects.

* They are rodents and have continuously growing teeth so need to gnaw to help wear down their teeth.

* Gerbils have traditionally been fed on hamster mixes. However this is not ideal as their requirements are different and hamster mixes contain too much fat for a gerbil.

* Gerbils do love sunflower seeds but too many of them can be bad for them as they are very high in fat. Try to find a diet specific for gerbils for this reason.

* Treats that you can give include plump raisins, crispy carrots and tasty apple in small pieces and hidden around the cage as gerbils love foraging and it will stop them from getting bored.

* Gerbils need feeding everyday. A good quality, heavy earthenware food bowl is essential to keep the food dry and clean and prevent the gerbil from tipping the food onto the floor of the cage. Keep feeding bowls clean.

* Ensure there is fresh drinking water available at all times.

pet gerbil advice at Lomond Hills Veterinary Clinic


The gerbil species has evolved to need only limited food and water. Their long hindlegs allow them to cover large distances in a harsh habitat in order to collect food. In addition, their bodies require little water as they do not sweat and they re-absorb their liquid intake producing highly concentrated urine and dry faeces.

They possess kidneys with a great ability to concentrate urine which is required for their life in the harsh desert.
Gerbils are rare amongst rodents in that they form a pair for life and the male assists with rearing.
The Latin name for gerbils is 'Meriones unguiculatus' which means 'clawed warrior.'

Housing your Gerbil

A good cage will be two tiered and have at least two compartments - one for the day and one to nest and hide in at night. Don't forget that if you have more than one gerbil you will need a bigger cage. They prefer to sleep separately at night, too, so need their own nesting areas.
Use a cleaning spray that eliminates pet odours, germs and bacteria that could harm your pet. The bedding you use should be made of good quality barley straw for example or a good quality treated wood-shaving.
Gerbils love to have a dust bath. Place good quality sand into a box or bowl and let your gerbils roll around and flip over. The sand will help keep their coats healthy by removing excess oils.

See more wee furries advice