Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Caring for Pet Gerbils

Last year, we won a brilliant hamster/gerbil cage after entering a giveaway on Susan's blog. It's from the brand Omlet and it is a pretty fancy, two story home for some very loved and very spoilt gerbils. They go by the names Jack and Jett.

We were originally going to get hamsters but apparently you shouldn't have two hamsters in a cage together as they will fight to the death as they get older. Having two quarrelling siblings is enough for me without seeing hamster carnage first thing in the morning! So we decided to get gerbils instead as they enjoy the company of a friend and are pretty easy to look after.

Jack is the grey/white one and Jett is the black one. Jack belongs to Miss C and Jett belongs to Z. They are pretty friendly little chaps although they do nibble your fingers if you put them too close to their mouths. Jack is quite calm and will sit in your hands quite happily whilst Jett fidgets and has been known to make death defying jumps in a bid for freedom. He also likes to jump in to the food bag when you are putting new food in for them.

Caring for them is really easy. Gerbils are dessert animals, apparently, so they don't need a lot of water. They eat seeds and nuts, and they'll only eat what they need unless you give them sunflower seeds; they would eat as many sunflower seeds as they could get. I've seen the two of them fight over a sunflower seed!

We clean out their bedding area once every fortnight as they are really clean and don't smell at all. We clean the top area, where their food, water and exercise wheel are, once a week. Their food gets changed every couple of days and their water is changed every day.

In terms of bedding, they like plenty of sawdust and straw so they can burrow and make their own little sleeping area and they love toilet roll holders or kitchen roll holders. They love to nibble and so all of our finished rolls end up in their cage with them. It's really good for their teeth too! They can shred a roll in a few minutes!

They have their own exercise balls which are spheres that have a screw top opening so you can put the gerbil inside and then close them in so they don't escape. Jett loves his ball but Jack isn't keen. In fact, Jett is the only one who will use the exercise wheel in their cage whilst Jack prefers to eat.

Miss C adores the gerbils. She is such an animal lover, it came as no surprise that she wants to hold them and pet them constantly. Gerbils are pretty quick but the more they are handle, the more tame they become.

The cats aren't bothered by them. Sometimes Jazz will sit in front of their cage and watch them but if you let him smell one, he freaks out and runs off.

Having gerbils as pets is really fun and the kids are learning a great deal about the responsibility of looking after animals for themselves.

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