Posted: October 13, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: My gerbil has recently begun biting our clothes when picked up. I have been giving him loofah recently to chew, and I think he likes that texture. But I’m going to stop giving him that and stick to wicker balls. Got any other chewing ideas to stop his destructive behavior on us, particularly how do I stop him from biting our clothes?
A: It isn’t that common, but some gerbils are just clothes-chewers. You may decide to wear an old sweatshirt when you hold him and not worry about the chewing.
If you want to stop the behavior, give a quick puff of air in his direction (like blowing out a single birthday candle) when he starts to gnaw clothes. Or say "Awk" to startle him out of the behavior. It will take many repetitions, but eventually it should slow or stop.
Giving him other things to chew probably won’t satisfy his taste for your clothes, but here are some things gerbils love to gnaw: wooden nest box, paper towel tubes, a climbing branch (from the reptile section of your pet store), coconut shell and anything made of cardboard. Gerbils like nibbling on alfalfa hay and timothy hay and shredding unscented toilet tissue or tissue paper, too.
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