So, you’re considering adopting a small pet to make your home a little bit happier and a lot bit cuter, but you aren’t sure which species will be the best addition to your furry family. Hamster? Gerbil? Rat? They’ve all got sweet little whiskers and curious dispositions, but they also have considerable differences when it comes to their basic needs, personality types, and dietary preferences.
The most important thing you can do before adopting a new pet is researching their species to ensure that you’re setting yourself up for a successful match. A lot of people are quite surprised when they learn that these three species aren’t interchangeable. Other than all three being rodents, they actually have a lot less in common than you’d think.
Gerbils generally aren't as into humans as they are into other gerbils and doing what they do: burrow! They do best with a minimum of 3" of substrate in their cage so they can make tunnels to hide and sleep in. A ceramic sand bath filled with chinchilla sand helps gerbils keep their coats clean and non-greasy.
A group of two or 3 will do well in a roomy cage, like a 20-long aquarium with a secure lid. They’re great jumpers so make sure the lid is on tight. Gerbils like having lots of things to destroy, like mailing tubes, applewood branches, boxes from organic food or pasta boxes w/ no plastic windows will keep these little architects busy.