Gerbils are small mammals that belong to the subfamily Gerbillinae. They are very active and love to constantly engage themselves in various activities such as chewing, digging, etc.
Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you are inventive and imaginative and create tunnels, platforms, mazes in the cage that you build or set up for gerbils.
How To Set Up A Gerbil Cage?
Setting up a gerbil cage can be done in three steps.
Step 1: Deciding on the type of cage
The first step is to make sure that you pick the right type of cage. Typically, there are three options to pick from, a 10-gallon glass aquarium for one to two gerbils or a 20-gallon one for three to four gerbils.
Aquarium cages are perfect for housing gerbils because they are spacious, made of glass, can be easily cleaned and lasts quite long, do make sure that the cage has wire lid for ventilation.
If you live in a warmer climate, then it would be ideal to go for wire cages as they provide great ventilation. A wire cage of the dimension 10*20 inches with bars spaced at about 0.2-0.4 inches. You can include several tubes and tunnels to make it a great habitat for the gerbils.
Although plastic cages seem to be very popular, they have poor ventilation and require more frequent cleanings. They are also quite prone to damage as gerbils tend to chew holes into them and escape.
Step 2: Picking the right place
The second step is to pick the right place to position the cage.
It is ideal to place the cage on a sturdy table or a shelf that will properly support the cage and be elevated enough to keep the gerbil(s) out of the reach of other pets. Also, make sure that the cage is placed in a quiet bedroom or reading room where there wouldn’t be much noise or commotion.
Avoid placing the cage under direct sunlight, near windows as it may lead overheating of cages especially aquariums and cause the gerbils to have heatstroke. It is preferable to keep them in the cooler part of the house.
Make sure the cage is away from air vents, air conditioning units, bathrooms, garages and places where chemicals are stored.
Step 3: Decoration
The final step is to decorate and organize the cage with the right items. Filling the cage with bedding of around 4 inches would allow the gerbils to dig and burrow. For this, you can use recycled or plain papers and change soiled bedding as soon as possible.
Place tunnels made from toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, cardboard containers, shoeboxes, and tissue boxes by burying them in the bedding. Avoid using wax-coated cardboard.
Use wooden platforms with ramps next to them, rocks, stones and multiple wooden, cardboard toys inside the cage to keep the gerbil(s) entertained. You can also add nesting boxes.
Scatter food in various spots throughout the cage to encourage foraging or place them in ceramic plates. And place a water bottle to the side of the cage and make sure to place it in a way that the water does not drip. Refill it with water every day.