Gerbil Pet Adoption Process & Checklist (Cost, Tips, & Considerations)

Gerbils are small animals that naturally live in desert environments. These rodents have become very popular pets among families with younger children.

Do you want to adopt some gerbils and give them a home?

Then in this article, we have included a gerbil pet adoption checklist to help you prepare an environment that is safe and comfortable for you to bring a gerbil home. Stick with us as we take you through everything you’ll need.

Key Takeaway:

To adopt gerbils buy a 20-gallon wire mesh cage with a 6-inch base. Gerbils are social creatures so get two from the same litter and house them together. Put accessories in the enclosure to keep the gerbils entertained. Get a food bowl and water bottle. Take them to the vet once a year.

Gerbils are different from other rodents and need special care and attention. For our complete preparation guide and checklist for gerbil adoption, check out the rest of this article.

gerbils adoption

Gerbil Pet Adoption Process

You love gerbils just as much as we do. They certainly are fluffy and adorable low-maintenance pets that are very popular with families with young children.

But there are lots of things to consider before adopting a gerbil. 

Are you ready to find out what you must do to give a gerbil a home?

Then check out the gerbil pet adoption tips and information about the whole process coming up next in this article. 

#1 Choose the Right Cage Material

So you’re preparing for the arrival of your new pet gerbil and one of the first things you must get is a comfy cage. 

Straight off the bat, we must state that plastic cages are not suitable for gerbils. Gerbils love to nibble on things with their strong teeth and they will soon bite their way through the walls of a plastic enclosure.

Plastic cages are also dangerous for pet gerbils as they can swallow the plastic that they chew. This would cause the gerbil a lot of digestive issues.

Gerbils love to climb. So cages with solid walls such as glass aquariums will not be suitable for your little animals.

Cages with solid walls are also unsuitable for gerbils as they do not allow enough ventilation into your gerbil's living area. They are also difficult to keep cool in the summer. 

So which is the best enclosure material for your pet gerbil?

A metal wire cage with a deep plastic base is the best material for your gerbil. A wire cage will encourage your gerbil to climb as it would in the wild. 

The gaps between the bars should be relatively small so the gerbil is not able to squeeze its way through them and out of the cage. 

#2 Get the Ideal Cage Base

While choosing your gerbil enclosure from the pet store, you must pick something with a deep base. Gerbils are burrowing rodents so the base of the enclosure must be deep enough for your gerbil to explore the underground. 

How deep must the enclosure base be?

Make sure the base of the cage is at least 6 inches deep. Your gerbil will need to have at least 6 inches of digging space to be able to rummage around like it would in the wild. 

Of course, if you get hold of an enclosure with an even deeper base, that would be better. 

#3 Pick the Best Cage Size

Last tip on choosing the right enclosure for your gerbils!

Getting the ideal size enclosure is essential so your animals will not get bored.

What is the right size cage for one gerbil?

One gerbil will need a 20-gallon cage. If you adopt two gerbils, they will need a 40-gallon cage. 

Make sure you measure the cages you find at the pet shop. Some pet stores claim to sell the right-sized cage for gerbils when, in reality, these are far too small. 

A gerbil needs plenty of room to move about and to prevent boredom.

#4 Choose a Gerbil Pair

Another important step when adopting a gerbil is thinking about how many gerbils you will take home. 

Is it ok to adopt one lone gerbil or is it best to adopt two?

Gerbils are social animals and like to live with other cage mates. It is best to put them in same-gender pairs or small groups from the same litter. 

If you house baby gerbils from the same litter together they will get on. But you must separate the males from the females before they reach 8 weeks old to prevent breeding. 

You must not keep your adult gerbil in the same room as a gerbil from a different litter. Adult gerbils, especially males tend to be very territorial and aggressive.

If you want to keep adult gerbils together, they must not be strangers.

#5 Find the Right Nesting Material

Now you’ve got your plush new gerbil enclosure. You must fill its base with the right nesting material.

What is the best bedding for gerbils?

You must fill the base of your gerbil’s enclosure with a mix of paper bedding, aspen shavings, and Timothy hay. These materials are light and will encourage your gerbil to burrow through them as it would in its natural habitat.

Hay is an essential bedding material as it will give your gerbils something to snack on between meals.
gerbil nesting

#6 Make Awesome Cage Accessories

Now you’ve got your enclosure ready, it’s time to kit it out with all of the best accessories for your gerbil.

What will it need to live a healthy and happy life?

You’ll find most of the following accessories at good pet stores.

Your gerbils will need a nest box, exercise wheels, chew toys, and exercise tubes.

If you have just a single gerbil, one of each accessory is sufficient. Even still, it is always nice to have plenty of exercise tubes to keep your gerbil entertained throughout the day.

To cut the cost of these accessories, consider making cardboard tubes out of toilet rolls for your small animals. It is easy to turn a cardboard box into a nest box – a great hiding place for your gerbils.

Coconut shells and twigs make great chew toys.

#7 Buy Great Eating and Drinking Accessories

To finish kitting out your enclosure, you must have the right eating and drinking accessories for your gerbils to enjoy a healthy, balanced diet.

What kind of eating and drinking accessories will your gerbil need?

Your gerbil will need a food bowl and a water bottle.

Food bowls made of plastic are not suitable for gerbils as they will chew through them. Stoneware or ceramic food bowls are much better.

A drip-free water bottle is great at keeping your pet’s bedding dry.

#8 Pick the Ideal Cage Location

Once your gerbil enclosure set-up is complete, you must put it in the right location ready for its arrival.

What is the best location for a gerbil enclosure?

You must keep the enclosure out of direct sunlight. Put it in a climate-controlled room. Many owners keep their gerbil enclosure in a frequently used room inside the house so they can keep an eye on their pets.

It is also important to keep the enclosure away from a drafty window, door, or air conditioning system.

Gerbils are sensitive to loud noises. The enclosure must be out of reach of loud televisions or sound systems, and even noisy vacuum cleaners.

#9 Take Your Pet Gerbils for a Health Check

Your gerbil when kept as a pet will have a life expectancy of 3 to 4 years. Some gerbils in the wild only live for a few months because of the dangers of illness and predators.

How can you make sure your gerbils live long and healthy lives?

To ensure your gerbil is in good health from the start, you must take it to a vet within the first 48 hours of purchase. When you do, the vet will examine it and take a fecal sample to ensure it does not have parasites.

The vet may also at this time recommend a specific diet for your gerbil.

After the initial examination, you must take your gerbil to the vet once a year for an examination. If you have an older gerbil, you must take it to the vet twice a year.

Gerbil Pet Adoption Checklist

Are you adopting a gerbil for the first time?

Then congrats, your gerbil will be a fantastic source of joy in your home. Here is a list of everything you need to get ready for its arrival.

  1. A 20-gallon wire mesh cage with a 6-inch base (or larger if you have more than one gerbil).
  2. Two gerbils from the same litter. (Same-sex pairs are good. A small group of the same gender is also suitable.)
  3. Nesting material (made up of hay, shredded paper, and aspen shavings).
  4. Cage accessories (including a nest box, an exercise wheel, chew toys, and an exercise tube).
  5. Food and drink accessories (a food bowl and water bottle).
  6. The right location for the enclosure (out of direct sunlight).
  7. Take it for an examination within 48 hours and then once a year.

These are all the steps you will need to take to get your gerbils settled in. But you will also need to keep in mind the weekly and monthly maintenance that your gerbils will need.

Maintenance includes the following:

  • Doing any necessary cage repairs
  • Changing soiled bedding
  • Replacing toys and other accessories that get chewed up
  • Buying gerbil food such as pellets and fresh vegetables and fruits

Gerbils live for 3 to 4 years as pets so you must calculate the cost of their weekly maintenance before you purchase your fluffy friends.

Gerbil Adoption Costs and Fees

So you now know exactly what you need to adopt a gerbil and settle it into your home.

3 weeks baby gerbil adoption

But how much does it cost to adopt a gerbil?

Coming up next, we’re going to provide you with the details on all the costs associated with adopting these rodents. Check them out.

Cage Price

How much will you need to spend on your gerbil’s enclosure?

You will spend between $40-$100 for a mid-range gerbil enclosure. Cages within this price bracket have ample space for your pets to run around in.

Cages within this price bracket often have more than one level so your gerbils can run up and down all day. They often come with an accessory or two that will keep your gerbils entertained.

Gerbil enclosures in the high-end bracket ($100 or more) usually have more than 2 levels and come on wheels. They usually come with several accessories to prevent gerbils from getting bored.

Baby Gerbils and Adult Gerbils Price

How much will you spend on one or more gerbils?

The price of baby and adult gerbils tends to be between $5 and $15.

Always ensure you get your gerbils from a good pet store or responsible breeders. The right pet is:

  • Social, active, and inquisitive
  • Has clear eyes and nose and is not sneezing
  • Not thin or showing signs of weight loss
  • Has dry fur around its tail and anus
  • Has light pink gums

Bedding Price

How much can gerbil owners expect to spend on bedding?

You will spend between $0.20 and $0.50 per liter on aspen shavings and about $3 a lb on hay.

If you recycle your paper and shred it, you will be able to make your own bedding for free. Using recycled paper bedding or paper towels is a great way to line the enclosure and do your bit for the environment.

Accessory Prices

How much do the accessories for your enclosure cost?

You will spend about $10 on a nest box, $15 on an exercise wheel, $5 on a chew toy, and $7 on an exercise tube.

To save a little money, why not make your exercise tubes and nest boxes out of cardboard? Cardboard accessories are not only economical but they also make great chew toys for your pets.

It is also easy to make chew toys out of pieces of wood. There are so many ways to get creative when it comes to kitting out your gerbil’s enclosure with accessories.

Food and Drink Accessory Prices

How much do food bowls and water bottles cost?

Food bowls for gerbils cost $5 each and water bottles for gerbils cost $7 each.

If you have multiple gerbils, they will need a bowl and bottle each.

Vet Fees For a Healthy Gerbil

How much will it cost for you to take your gerbils to the vet?

Vet fees for gerbils are about $40 for a checkup. Medication for sick gerbils does not usually cost more than $10.

If your gerbil were to need surgery, this would be more expensive. The average price is $100.

Some vets will allow you to take out a care plan for small animals like gerbils. This is very useful if you have several small pets at home.

You might also want to consider a care plan if you live in an area where vet bills are particularly expensive.

Giving a Home to a Mongolian Gerbil

When gerbils eat the right foods and receive the proper care, they can live for 3 to 4 years as pets. But there is more to adopting a gerbil than feeding it.

This article has helped us to see that adopting gerbils means preparing a comfortable yet practical enclosure, putting the right accessories inside it, and keeping it in the right place. You also need to choose the right pairs of animals and take them to the vet for annual checkups.

Doing so will help ensure you have a happy pet on your hands.

Did you find this article interesting?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide you with the best articles about gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, and other pets. For more information on feeding these animals and keeping them clean, visit our website. 

Thanks for reading!

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