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Gerbils - can you remind me about them.

(22 Posts)
theITgirl Tue 19-Oct-10 11:51:51

DS is making noises about having his own pet. DD currently has fish and as a house we have a cat, predates the children so really belongs to DH & I.

I am thinking abut a gerbil for his birthday (well after christmas but need to do my research before he actually asks).

Before anyone suggests it - we are NOT going to get a rat, I don't care how cute or clean they are, how they are the perfect pet. NO rats.

Whatever we get, the cage will live in DS's bedroom. We live in a tiny house and this is the only possible place. Also it cannot be a massive cage so rabbits and guinea pigs are ruled out. However we can fit a decent sized cage for a gerbil.

The problem with hamsters are they are nocturnal, and will probably keep DS awake at night.

I think that gerbils are day time creatures. Please correct me if I am wrong. I had a gerbil as a pet when small and really like them.

So will a gerbil be OK, are there any other small animal I have forgotten about. Though I will expect DS to feed and clean out the cage, I am aware I will probably have to help so I have to be comfortable with handling whatever he gets.

Thanks

thelunar66 Tue 19-Oct-10 11:54:14

Gerbils are gorgeous. But I would get two rather one alone. I found a glass tank to be the best way of observing their little house building, tunnel digging activities.

rubyrubyruby Tue 19-Oct-10 11:54:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

theITgirl Tue 19-Oct-10 11:56:40

Thanks, will try to get two. How do I make sure I don't get a Mummy & Daddy!!!!!

mummytime Tue 19-Oct-10 12:01:11

Go to your pet shop (we got ours from Pets at home, who also sometimes have some to be rehomed), who will have them in pairs of brothers or sisters. They need to be siblings od there can be problems. We also got a two storey home, with a tank bit at the bottom and a cage on top.

They smell less than Hamsters, as they are desert animals and wee less.

Ryoko Sun 31-Oct-10 13:09:30

If you are not going to let them out to have a run around the floor it's cruel to keep Gerbils they are highly intelligent and love playing and exploring (unlike hamsters who are as thick as pig crap), they love company, they are not nocturnal or diurnal, they sleep at randon times and get up at random times. They make more noise then hamsters, squeaking and drumming but then if you only have two they may not drum, it's a territorial thing to other colonies in the area.

forkhandles Tue 02-Nov-10 22:09:15

but Ryoko if you let them out to explore how do you get them back again?

I also wanted to know, sorry for crashing your thread TheITgirl, can you have three the same sex or is a pair better?

(thiking about it for DD1 for Christmas)

Ryoko Sun 07-Nov-10 15:50:51

You pick em up, or just stick the food bowl and water in there they will go climbing back in when they want food and drink or when they want to go to bed.

Thing is if they "think" they are not going to get let out again they will run off and hide and stuff all animals do, but once they get used to being let our for a run 2-4 times a week they don't care.

Course if you shut the door on em every time they go in for food they will get wise to it and avoid the cage when they want food/drink.

magnolia74 Sun 07-Nov-10 16:01:28

Gerbils are great BUT

They sleep when they feel like it and play when they feel like it. Dd1's gerbils have playtime at midnight most nights hmm grin

They love to run around her room, they are not that hard to get back in but it can take a bit of practice and easier with 2 people.

A gerbilarium with a cage topper is best (pets at home sell them)

I would get at least 2 but preferably 3-4 as they are highly social animals.

We have 4 in the large gerbilarium and they are so lovely to watch smile

Spacehoppa Sun 07-Nov-10 16:18:30

Gerbils are terrific. I would try to get two girls or two boys. Make sure their bits look the same as we had a bit of an issue when 2 turned into 7.

Milliways Sun 07-Nov-10 17:14:20

I used to have gerbils and they were happiest in a huge tank with loads of stuff they could burrow into. I used to use loads of sawdust and a whole packet of the fluffy bedding stuff. It took them about a week to make great tunnels and I changed all bedding once a month as it never got smelly.

I used to let them out, and kept a huge cardboard tube down that they always ran into at some point, and then I could just pick that up and tip them back in the tank.

They are great fun!

forkhandles Sun 07-Nov-10 17:18:56

thanks for replying! They look great fun, I was looking at a gerbil forum the other day and watching how people bury cardboard boxes etc in the bedding so they have something to burrow into and find/chew.

How do you find a local breeder, am loathed to go to Pets at Home.

earwicga Sun 07-Nov-10 17:25:24

You're better off with guinea pigs. They are stupid and slow and are really easy for children to handle.

I never had one as a child so bought hamsters/degus/rabbits for my kids. Guinea pigs definately the best pet by a mile.

catinthehat2 Sun 07-Nov-10 17:34:21

Gerbils are utter gits.

I still have a scar on my hand from class gerbil which hung on by its horrible brown teeth.

They are all exactly the same and come from the same factory. I think they are disguised cylons.

GPs more appealing and come in different colours, also some seem to have a personality.

catinthehat2 Sun 07-Nov-10 17:36:25

(I do accept that some of the posters above seem to have sourced the only decent pet gerbils in the western world)

forkhandles Sun 07-Nov-10 20:57:13

the problem is that we have three dogs and I think they would dig and terrorise the GPs if we had them, they chase cats, squirrels, anything that moves.

I have fond memories of gerbils, we had them when I was young, but that might be rose tinted specs

<forhandles remembers this is not her own thread and leaves space for theITgirl to reply too blush>

Ryoko Mon 08-Nov-10 12:07:53

Local pet shop I wouldn't buy anything from Pets at Home, they sell em too young, they ween the little sods too young and half the stock doesn't look well IMO but thats what happens when you mass produce for a animal supermarket.

Years ago I went for a sales assistant interview and ended up shouting at them and walking out, that was when I was unemployed and breeding Gerbils, they where telling me the policies with small anImals and I was just getting an increasing pent up rage at the attitude towards the "stock".

forkhandles Mon 08-Nov-10 20:52:52

I agree, you only have to look in to their fish tanks to see what the care of their animals is like (dead fish on bottom etc).

Enchantica Mon 08-Nov-10 22:34:37

Hi there, I am not a mum but I am a rodent mum (looking to start trying for humans end of next year in case anyone wonders why I am here, trying to get all the info I can). I have 8 rats (have had 14 in total) and have 1 gerbil (her sister died so only have her left, I have had 8 gerbils in total).

If you are thinking of a rodent for a child then I think you have made a very good choice. I would recommend gerbils or rats but as you aren't a ratty person then gerbils it is The best enclosure for them is as large a glass tank as you can get, filled with sawdust and hay. One tip, if at all possible, freeze the sawdust and hay before using it as it can contain mites. It's not too common I don't think but just watch out for it.

Also, make sure their tank is changed regularly (about every 2 weeks I think) and that the bedroom is well ventilated and not prone to damp. I have a small horror story to tell here but don't let it put you off gerbils! We had an outbreak of psocids which are tiny house mites basically, they like warm damp conditions. I didn't notice that my room was starting to get very damp in places and my gerbil tank got affected and we had a major outbreak of psocids. Had to do a major clean in the room as they were everywhere. HOWEVER, it wasn't a gerbil problem, was my own problem in my room. Just a bit of advice

Gerbils are best kept in pairs or small groups as they are social animals and like to use each other has bean bag chairs lol. They are very friendly creatures, as long as they have been handled from a fairly young age. I would be inclined to look into shelters in your area as they often look after their pets better than pet stores. I personally only adopt from my local shelter but that's just me.

Any rodent related questions please feel free to ask.

Enchantica Mon 08-Nov-10 22:35:55

*as bean bag chairs

MadamDeathstare Mon 08-Nov-10 22:38:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

forkhandles Tue 09-Nov-10 14:59:45

Seems like you either love 'em or hate 'em grin

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