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Gerbil Out-of-Cage Options

Create a safe environment for your gerbil to get out and run.

By Rachael Brugger

Gerbils love to run at top speed so getting your pet gerbil out of its cage everyday would make it very happy. However this is not necessary, especially if it has a cage companion. Letting your gerbil free in an open space at least once a week will fulfill its instinct to run.

Create a safe room for your gerbil to run around by eliminating hazards. First, remove anything that the gerbil might chew. This includes electrical cords, newspapers, magazines, plants, harmful chemicals and small plastic or wood objects. Also close off anywhere where the gerbil can escape or fall, such as a heating vent. Remember, gerbils can easily jump at least a foot high, so high platforms need to be secured or blocked.

You want to use this time to interact with your pet gerbil. Gerbils love being held, but do not try to constrain them. Allow your pet gerbil to run up and down your arms and shoulders. Do not worry about it escaping off your body because gerbils have a fear of heights and will not jump. As long as you keep steady, you and your gerbil should be fine.

When it is time for your gerbil to return to its cage, place the cage in an area where your small pet can climb in on its own. If necessary, carefully nudge the gerbil in the right direction or use a cardboard tube to pick it up and move it. If the gerbil runs under furniture, try not to move the furniture but cautiously coax it out by using a broom or patting your hand on the ground.

Avoid making any sudden movements or swooping motions. This reminds your gerbil of a preying bird and will frighten it. Do not lift a gerbil by its tail. You can gently use its tail to guide it in certain directions, but using too much force could break the appendage.



 


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Reader Comments
I should also make mention of clean up in the tub! my gerbils leave their little gifts everywhere when they run around- if you use the tub you can simply spray it out after the gerbils have had their play time! :)
Lexx, Brighton, MO
Posted: 3/25/2013 5:52:34 PM
My gerbils have two types of gerbil play time. One is in their balls and the other is in the tub! Yes the tub! I make sure to use a mild cleanser ( or water) to wipe out tub- place a towel down and let the gerbils run around the tub- You can also sit in the tub and they will crawl all over your legs, your arms, shoulders- they love it! It is a very safe place for them to run around and fun little obstacles can also be placed in tub like tubes for them to run through- things to crawl up and down on, etc. it also keeps them from escaping ( but as always keep a close eye on them) my gerbils like to jump so I keep any taller toys away from the edge of the tub.
Lexx, Brighton, MO
Posted: 3/25/2013 5:50:54 PM
Hi I'm Fettucini, and I'm a 2-year-old gerbil. Of behalf of my fellow gerbils, I'd like to warn you that contrary to the information in the third paragraph, not all gerbils have a fear of heights. Some of them (including myself) will jump down from very high from the ground, and falling on a hard surface could badly injure a gerbil. Get to know your gerbil, and don't assume he knows the laws of gravity ;)
Fettucini (Page 231274), N., AK
Posted: 2/4/2013 4:56:29 PM
Good advice :) Coming from someone who has owned 4 gerbils in the past few years, all I can say is NEVER underestimate a gerbil. Ever. I always do, and they always prove me wrong. I didn't think they could climb from inside of their cage/tank hybrid to the outer top of it...(which stands taller than me, so that knocks out the fear of heights thing...some of them really have no fear of anything!) Bottom line is, I've underestimated my gerbils so many times and they never cease to amaze me with their boldness. They're super fun little pets to have for this reason, though!
Amanda, Somewhere over the rainbow., SC
Posted: 6/25/2012 5:46:11 PM
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