Posted: October 13, 2011, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: One of my gerbils will not eat any veggies or fruit. Do you know why?
A: A gerbil that won’t eat fruits and vegetables is a bit unusual. The good news is that these foods are not really part of the wild gerbil diet and are not necessary for your pet gerbil to live a long, healthy life. One really doesn’t see apple trees and carrots in the arid plains of Mongolia.
Make sure your gerbils get a high-quality food made for gerbils. It should have oats as the main ingredient, a variety of seeds, nuts and grains, and very little or no corn or alfalfa pellets (these are fillers that can make gerbils boney). I choose to feed my gerbils half quality cockatiel food, half old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats!) and unsalted peanuts. Growing gerbils need at least 15 percent protein.
As for the fruits and veggies, sometimes it is hard to know exactly what the gerbils are eating, because they make a food store in the bedding (usually you can see it right along the center of a glass tank) and save food for later. You don’t want your gerbils storing fresh fruit (or veggies) because these could rot. I give my gerbils a whole carrot or a quarter apple and let them snack on it for a while, then remove it.
Try some variety in the fruits and vegetables you offer, perhaps your gerbil hasn’t tasted a type it likes. Also, give dried veggies a try, they have more of the hard consistency of the foods your gerbil normally eats. I’d keep away from giving many, if any, dried fruits: these are loaded with sugar, though my gerbils do love the banana chips (they love fresh blueberries, too). Good luck!
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