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Pet Gerbil Information

A small mammal, usually considered a rodent, the gerbil is also known as a desert rat.

The gerbil is adapted to arid and dry conditions and is diurnal. A gerbil is an omnivore which typically stands between 6-12 inches long. Their tail makes almost for half of their length. However, there are certain species which may grow as long as 16 inches.

Gerbils are rodents that can destroy crops and are associated with pilferages in farms.

However, people started to take them in as pets since 1964. The Mongolian gerbils, which were first taken in as pets, soon became popular amongst pet enthusiasts. Soon enough they could be found in every pet shop. However, they are still considered a threat to certain ecosystems and agricultural lands because of which they are banned in certain parts of the world.

Gerbil Facts

  • When in the wild, gerbils live in desert areas.

    They burrow deep down and often have multi-chambered habitats where they live with families. They do not store food; however, they eat a lot of fatty foods in an attempt to store food in their bodies in the form of fat. Gerbils are social animals who like to perform most of their activities underground. They only surface to feed. They eat insects and plants that store water in them.
  • Gerbils have large back feet that help them stand on two feet. Their tail balances them when they stand. Their back feet are very furry and this fur protects them from the desert heat. The gerbil has fur on the rest of the body as well as its tail so as protect it from sunburns.
  • Gerbil pets enjoy jumping and climbing and therefore are a pleasure to watch. However, they also chew and dig a lot and can chew on household objects when not supervised or left uncaged at home. They move their arms rapidly in order to dig and if let loose, can dig a whole yard in minutes. Their curiosity makes them burrow deep into the ground. They are not easily startled and are not usually scared of predators. 
  • Pet gerbil is a lot like hamster. They may keep nibbling on a piece of food for hours. They usually only bite when they feel threatened. Though they are seldom scared, they may squeal when they feel threatened. Their communication is mostly physical and to communicate with the other gerbils, they thump their tail and hind legs hard on the ground. This gesture is usually used as a warning sign to warn other gerbils of a potentially dangerous situation. 





  Submitted on July 13, 2010