The ideal size enclosure for two to four gerbils:
- Depth: 30cm or 1ft
- Width: 100cm or 3ft
- Height: 30cm or 1ft
Suitable gerbil housing available to purchase is very limited. Therefore, we recommend building your own by converting a tank. If you are looking to purchase, avoid any enclosures that have mesh shelves, as these can damage your gerbils’ feet.
Avoid three-level glass rodent tanks – a weaker gerbil may become stuck under one of the shelves when trying to dig up for air or escape.
How to build your own gerbil tank
Use either a 3ft fish tank or a glass display cabinet, laid on its back. Both need a homemade, mesh lid to ensure your gerbils receive plenty of fresh air. A fish tank lid is not suitable.
To make the lid, you will first need to construct a wooden frame, similar to a picture frame. This will either sit on the inside ledges of the tank or snugly fit over the enclosure edges. These should be well made with correct wood screws and not tied together. For larger glass cabinets, you may need to make the lid in two sections to avoid it being weak in the middle.
Once you’ve made the frame, use a staple gun to attach 1cm by 1cm welded mesh to the lid. Ideally, place this on the inside of the lid to avoid your gerbils chewing the wood.
Keep your gerbils happy and occupied
Unlike most rodents, providing toys and activities for gerbils can be rather tricky. Many items are unsuitable and may injure your gerbils. However, there are a few items that will help them stay fit and healthy.
Your gerbil will enjoy:
- Kitchen and toilet rolls. Gerbils love these and will often chew them down and use the remains to line their nests
- Card boxes such shoe and cereal boxes. Again, these are fun to chew and build their nests in. You will often notice your gerbils will drag these down into the depths of the bedding and cover them over
- Apple or willow tree branches and twigs. Your gerbils can have hours of fun clambering over these and gnawing on them. This form of wood is ideal for keeping your gerbils’ teeth in good health. The fresh bark will also aid their digestive system
- Piles of forage or meadow hay. Gerbils love to make their nest out of this once they have chewed it into smaller pieces. Add a large handful every other day, and watch them pull it down through the tunnels