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Gerbils and those rolly bally things.

(9 Posts)
seeker Mon 07-Sep-09 12:15:36

We were at lunch with friends yesterday and theri dd's gerbils spent an hour or more in those exercise ball things. It seemed really cruel to me - they kept bumping into chairs and things and they were going really fast and didn't seem to be able to stop. It must have been exhausting for them. And the bumping must have been really loud and jarring for a little animal like that. Am I being precious or have I got a point? I asked their owner how long it was OK to leave them in there and she said they needed the exercise!

squirrel42 Mon 07-Sep-09 20:42:21

I have gerbs and wouldn't use a ball. They have a four foot long tank full of substrate for digging and tunneling with a two-level cage on top, so they have quite a bit of living space. When they come out I tend to let them run around in the dry bathtub with some tubes/boxes and toys. Even just "gerbil proofing" a small room would be preferable. My sister's hamster used to use a ball and I'm sure he got quite stressed out crashing into walls, plus he'd pee in there and get covered in the stuff. She now lets him run around on the floor and sofa/chairs and he seems much happier.

Gerbs can be quite skittish and as prey animals startle and try to run/hide when scared - being trapped in a plastic ball can't be ideal for that! They do need some space to get out and about but I would think twice about balls.

pannetone Wed 09-Sep-09 22:35:01

Squirrel42 - we are about to get 2 gerbils. We have purchased a cage that sounds similar to yours, with a 'tank' at the bottom and 2level cage above. What do you use as substrate in the tank? A have a friend who has owned several sets of gerbils over the years and she uses meadow hay. None of the guides/packet info suggest using hay, but her gerbils really enjoy tunnelling in it and shifting it about. TIA

squirrel42 Thu 10-Sep-09 13:07:50

Hi pannetone - there are a lot of debates and no one right answer, but I use wood shavings in the main as substrate. A lot of websites say you mustn't because of the pine resin, but that seems to be a USA problem and the type we get here is fine. I buy giant bags of the stuff from Pets at Home since a four foot long tank will take a lot! I fill it quite deep and chuck in lots of cardboard and tubes and things for them to tunnel through and chew up - that seems to help give it some structure. I do give them timmothy hay as well but just the odd handful here and there as something extra, plus tissue for them to shred as nesting material. They seem to have fun here is a pic of "gerbilopolis"!

Good luck with the gerbs they are lovely pets!

pannetone Thu 10-Sep-09 21:42:10

Thanks for sharing the pictures of gerbilopolis and its residents. When I said our tank is similar, it's definitely smaller scale! Looking forward to getting our gerbils this weekend - our first pets! We looked after a friend's 2 for a couple of weeks, and really enjoyed watching their antics.

squirrel42 Thu 10-Sep-09 22:49:54

Thanks - I found the tank very cheap on ebay and the top part is slightly bodged together out of wood and wire mesh, but it's serving a purpose! I've only had one escape so far (Shreddie went for a daytrip behind my gas fire but was persuaded out with patience and sunflower seeds) and have reinforced the door since then. Smaller tanks are fine so long as they have stuff to dig in and toys/stimulation; there's lots of advice around online on things like hiding treats in paper parcels and stuffed inside toilet rolls tubes to give them a challenge. Watching them dig and tunnel and chew everythng to pieces is really fun - they're very industrious little things!

magnolia74 Mon 14-Sep-09 18:08:15

We use megazorb for our gerbils, its brilliant. Most horse supply places will do it in huge sacks for around £6 it lasts ages.

Our gerbils don't like a ball but they love running around my daughters bedroom smile

lou33 Mon 14-Sep-09 18:16:46

the one we have says no longer than 30 mins of use on the box

winestein Mon 14-Sep-09 18:24:21

I LOVE gerbilopolis! grin

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