19 Reasons Why Gerbils Make the BEST pets!

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Every pet is unique in its way.

But some pets steal the spotlight when it comes to being likable; gerbils are one of those pets.

Their relaxed and calm nature, activeness, playfulness, and social skills are what make gerbil so unique.

Gerbils are extremely cute and they can fit in your hand easily which makes them “pocket-friendly” pets that you would want to keep.

Still not convinced about gerbils being the best pets? Well, here are 19 reasons which prove otherwise.

Reasons Why Gerbils Make The BEST Pets

Here are a few reasons why Gerbils as pets are pretty awesome.

1. The “AWW” Factor


It is human nature to find anything that is small and has fur to be cute and cuddly.

Gerbils are usually small with adorable big eyes and little hands.

Everything about them screams of innocence and cuteness.

Their pink nose and smooth fur add to the list of their mesmerizing features.

Why wouldn’t anyone want a pet like that?

2. Extremely Playful

Gerbils as pets are unlike other rodents.

They love to play around and make new friends.

It will take them time to warm up to you, but once they do, they will make you feel special.

And that is why most people have a pet in the first place; to play with them and comfort them

3. Gerbils USUALLY Don’t Bite

When pets get annoyed, they bite. However, an annoyed gerbil is an uncommon sight.

It may bite you not because it is annoyed or it hates you, but because it is scared.

Aggression is what makes a gerbil bite you.

Don’t want a gerbil to bite you? Make sure it feels safe and secure.

4. Gerbils Have Social Skills Better Than Yours

The majority of gerbils are classified as extroverts.

They take no time in making friends and get along with everyone quickly.

People may not like you, but they will surely love your gerbils as pets because of their social skills.

Gerbils are not used to being alone, and that is why they are happy around others.

5. Active at the Right Time

Syncing your sleeping routine with your pet can be hard.

This is something you don’t need to worry about if you have a pet gerbil.

They are asleep during the day and active during evening hours.

You can come back from work and play with your gerbil.

Good for you, small pets get tired easily, which means your gerbil will prefer taking a nap during the night as well.

6. Gerbils Are Easy to Care For

Ironically, a gerbil is easy to look after even if it’s tiny.

The reason why I said this is because gerbils are uncomplicated and can be tamed easily.

Because of their social skills, they will trust you in less time as compared to other animals.

Undoubtedly, it won’t be a problem to build a healthy relationship with your gerbil.

7. Gerbils Come in Groups


Two are better than one.

This is why it is recommended to keep a pair of gerbils rather than getting a single gerbil.

Gerbils are happier when they are with a group of their kind. This is why they are called “social animals.”

If they are happy and cheerful, you will be content with them as well.

8. Children love gerbils

Most children either want a dog or a cat because they are big pets.

But if you want a small one, gerbils as pets are perfect for you and your kids.

Since gerbils don’t bite unnecessarily and are super friendly, kids will like them.

A gerbil’s playful nature is a plus point when getting them for children.

However, adult supervision is necessary for teaching kids how to handle a gerbil.

9. The Price of Owning A Gerbil: Lesser Than You’d Imagine

You can call Gerbils pocket-friendly pets not only because of their size but appetite as well.

Gerbils don’t cost that much and you probably don’t have to worry too much about their food because they are tiny and don’t eat much.

And let’s face it, pets are expensive to keep and maintain.

It is better to get a pet that isn’t heavy on the pocket.

Gerbils have only a few recurring monthly costs like food (costs $5-12 a month- here’s our favorite) and bedding. While we’re on it, do check out our article on the best Gerbil beddings.

10. Gerbils Don’t Pick Fights

Gerbils are happy-go-lucky, peaceful pets.

You will see them play fighting in their gerbil cage all day, which is a common occurrence.

Aggression is a rare trait in gerbils, and they don’t pick unnecessary fights.

Given their social skills, gerbils do get along with other pets.

You may have to introduce them to other pets slowly, but everything works out fine in the end.

11. Gerbils Are Low Maintenance

If you are a busy person and can’t afford an expensive pet, then gerbils are the right choice for you.

You can get them at a low price.

Apart from this, you need to buy a gerbil cage, bedding, and food for them, which are necessities.

Incorporate doctor visits, and they still won’t cost you as much as other pets do.

12. Great Companions

Some pets don’t like to cuddle, but gerbils aren’t one of them.

They crave contact and attention.

Gerbils can be very cute if they are comfortable with you.

They will play with your hair and curl up on your chest.

They will lick your hands and jump up and down after seeing you.

This is just what a person needs after a stressful day.

13. The Gerbil Lifespan

It’s important to consider the longevity of your pet. The Gerbil lifespan ranges up to 5 years.

They generally outlive hamsters and mice.

Although the Gerbil lifespan differs from species to species, other factors also contribute to this.

Taking special care of your gerbils and keeping those in groups have a positive effect on their life expectancy.

14. Gerbil the Explorer

Gerbils are naturally curious little beings. Their curious nature makes them unique.

Imagine these little furballs running in your house, nibbling things which they find odd.

They are entertaining, and it is amusing to watch them play.

So precious!

15. Clean Rodents

If you are a neat freak like me and want to get a pet, then I’d recommend a gerbil.

There are two reasons for this

  • They produce little waste
  • Gerbils are odorless

Bathing your pet gerbil is hassle-free, and it needs to be done only once a week.

16. Gerbils are Intelligent

Gerbils are smart.

They are not only fast learners but great observers.

Their curious personalities allow them to explore more and hence learn new things such as digging and pooping.

This helps the owner as gerbils are natural learners.

With a little bit of training, they can be easily tamed.

17. Gerbils Are Less Complicated As Compared To Other Rodents

Mood swings, personality differences, and social anxiety are natural in rodents.

It’s hard to get a hamster or a guinea pig to like you.

Gerbils, on the other hand, warm up quickly.

It usually takes them a couple of days whereas other rodents can take months to settle in.

18. Gerbils Love To Exercise

One of the reasons why gerbils are so active and playful is because they love to exercise.

Avoid letting your gerbil roam freely in your house. You can watch them play in their exercise balls instead as it is safer.

A wheel in their gerbil cages encourages them to exercise. Here are our favorite gerbil toys and wheels.

19. Easy To Handle

The first step to establish a loving relationship with any pet comes down to how you handle it.

Be patient and make sure to familiarize your gerbil with your touch first.

The next step includes extending your hand and wait for it to hop on.

In less than a week, they will get comfortable with you.

If you have decided to get a pet gerbil then the more you know, the better.

Mongolian Gerbils And Their Characteristics

There are around 110 species of gerbils according to Wikipedia, but only 2 are kept as pets.

Mongolian gerbils and fat-tailed gerbils.

Furthermore, the majority of pet gerbils are Mongolian gerbils.

There is no significant difference between the characteristics of these two different breeds of gerbils.

The reason why people prefer a Mongolian gerbil over a fat-tailed gerbil is because of its availability. Other than that, Mongolian gerbils are curious while fat-tailed gerbils are not.

Mongolian Gerbils are not hard to recognize.

Because exhibit specific characteristics that anyone can easily recognize.

Characteristics of Mongolian Gerbils

Size: An adult Mongolian gerbil is about 11 cm long which is roughly 5 inches excluding the tail.

Golden Agouti: The most common wild Mongolian gerbil is called “Golden Agouti” because of its coat color is golden.

Living: They are fond of living in groups and introducing them to new groups will backfire immediately.

Natural Chewers: They are natural chewers and need plenty of cardboard to chew which helps them in grooming and promoting chewing activity

Color: They are found in several colors due to selective breeding. Shades such as golden, black, orange, light brown, light blue and pure white are common.

Coats: Their coats don’t have spots or patches.

Food: Mongolian gerbils eat simple food which includes fresh hay.

Shape: Their body structure is slender and tall.

Cage: A Mongolian gerbil is kept in a glass tank as they have a chewing habit.

Behavior: Seizures are a common occurrence in Mongolian gerbils, the main reason being them being scared.

Lifespan: The average life span of a Mongolian gerbil lasts between 2-4 years and depends on the condition it lives in.

Gerbils As Pets: Pros and Cons


Keeping a pet is a huge responsibility.

Not only do you have to care for it, but you also have to make sure it eats and sleeps appropriately.

It’s better to take your time and decide if you are ready to keep one.

In case you need help in deciding whether to keep gerbils as pets or not, let me make it easy for you.

Owning gerbils certainly have some pros and cons.

Pros of Gerbils As Pets

  • Gerbils are not heavy sleepers. You can wake them up from their naps without them being annoyed by it.
  • Gerbils are diurnal. This means that they are not active during the night, unlike other rodents.
  • It is a small rodent that doesn’t require your attention all the time.

Cons of Gerbils As Pets

  • You can’t buy or adopt just one gerbil as they can’t survive alone.
  • Because of their tiny size, it is quite possible to lose them if they escape their gerbil cage.
  • Keeping a small pet like gerbil requires daily care, time, and effort.

How to Handle Gerbils

The first thing you need to learn about a gerbil is how to handle it.

The reason why it is so important is that all your future interactions will depend on how you handle it.

There is a couple of do’s and don’ts which are not hard to follow.

What You Should Do

  • Have patience and give it time to trust you
  • Let it be familiarized with the environment first
  • Wash your hands and touch it gently with light strokes
  • Lay your hand and let it approach you instead of picking it up

What You Should Not Do

  • Startle it by picking it up when it is sleeping or unaware of your presence.
  • Don’t force them to eat anything they don’t want to.
  • Avoid loud sounds in the first few weeks, and they have a heightened hearing sense.
  • Lastly, don’t give them to children as they will not handle them properly

Gerbil Sounds and What Do They Mean

Understanding the body language and different sounds your gerbil makes is essential.

Gerbils express their feelings with squeaks, chirps, and purrs.

Here is what you need to know.

A gerbil squeaks when

  • It is happy and is being petted by you
  • It is aggressive towards others in the gerbil cage
  • It wants to fight or is scared

What you have to do is realize the difference between happy squeaks and angry squeaks of a gerbil. An angry squeak is high in pitch whereas a happy squeak resembles a chirpy sweet tone.

A gerbil chirps when

  • It needs your complete attention and focus
  • It is calling out for the other gerbil or trying to locate its partners
  • It is sick
  • A painful and low pitched-chirp is an indication of your gerbil crying for help. This type of chirp should not be ignored.

A gerbil purrs when

  • It is happy and content
  • It wants to show affection towards you
  • It wants to cuddle or petted by you

Gerbils VS Hamsters

Deciding whether to get a gerbil or a hamster can be confusing.

It’s not easy to decide what you want because of too many options.

But it all comes down to the nature of the pet.

Gerbils and Hamsters are poles apart in terms of personality, size, and habits.

Let’s compare both of them on different characteristics and then decide for yourself.

Personality:

  • Gerbils are happy to go, chirpy, social pets with a strong personality.
  • They love to play around be active all the time, whereas hamsters like to live alone in a protective environment.
  • Gerbils don’t bite and are easy to handle because of their nature, whereas a hamster bite is a common occurrence given their isolated life.
  • Hamsters are nocturnal, and gerbils are diurnal.

Living:

  • Gerbils get depressed if they are alone meaning that they can’t survive without their group, but a hamster needs to be alone in its age if you don’t want a war.
  • Gerbils can live for a maximum of 6 years, whereas a hamster can live for more than 3 years under favorable conditions.
  • Long story short, hamsters are introverts, and gerbils are extroverts.

Related Questions

Are gerbil bites dangerous for me?

Gerbil bites are not necessarily dangerous, but they do carry germs. It’s better to clean your wound with an antiseptic or antibacterial wash first and then consult a doctor to make sure everything is fine.

Small pets like gerbils don’t carry rabies.

What toys should I get for my Gerbils?

An exercising gerbil is a happy gerbil. Get a solid exercising wheel for your gerbil as their tiny feet can get stuck in a wired wheel.

Given their exploring nature, get them tubes or toys which promote climbing and digging. You can also get them to chew toys.

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