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eRodent > Gerbils > Gerbil Cages

The Gerbil Cages Page.

Welcome to the eRodent Gerbil Cages page with ideas about housing your gerbils. In addition I've recently started an Environment Enrichment page with ideas on how to keep your pets entertained. Also check out the Pet Shopping page which contain links to great sites for materials to make your own and buying toys and treats for your gerbil. Some of them are chinchilla and rabbit shops but many of the chews and toys suit gerbils as well.

Important: When building any cage for a small animal always take a serious look at it and assess it for the possibility of freak accidents and injuries. Think "is there anywhere that a nose or a leg could get trapped, or a small area that they could get into and not be able to get out?"

Gerbil Cage. The minimum size of tank for two gerbils is a 2ft tank - I would recommend 3ft, or larger, if you can afford it. Here is an empty two foot tank with its lid lying next to it so that you can see how it is made.

To make a lid for a tank buy some 1/2" by 2" pine from your local DIY store along with some 1/2" square mesh. Cut two pieces of the pine to the length of the tank and the mesh to the size of the top of the tank. You can then fix the mesh to the top of the pine using a staple gun or those little U shaped tacks you can get (the staple gun is a lot easier!).

Most tanks have a glass lip on the inside and the pine can be rested on top of that. If, for some reason, your tank does not have a glass lip you will need to make a rectangular frame that fits around the top of the tank on the outside and fix the mesh to this to make a lit. You will need 1" x 1" pine and the mesh will need to be 2" longer and wider than the top of the tank. These days you can also buy specially made tanks with lids - they look quite nice if you can afford them but there's nothing wrong with the DIY option.

You can fill the tank with shavings for your gerbil to dig in although they do sometimes get sore noses with shavings. Some people use peat but it always seems a little damp to me - I tried drying it in my Microwave once and set off a peat fire - that Microwave still smelt of peat fire years later when I threw it away. Megazorb or chopped cardboard beddings are often better. For ideas om bedding to use to got the bedding page. Get them some cardboard boxes and tubes to chew. They benefit from some wood to chew, apple tree branches are good or buy a chew toy or block. You can often find ceramic tubes that are sold for fish tanks which are great but make sure that all of the holes are big enough for your gerbil to get out of. I let mine rip up white, unbleached toilet paper for bedding but you can buy small animal bedding in pet shops as well and we sometimes use it. Try the Environment Enrichment page for more ideas on toys.

Gerbil Cage.
The plastic gerbil tanks sold as "gerbil starter kits" in large pet shops are not large enough to keep happy, healthy gerbils in. However they can be used as shown here with Rotastack to provide a good environment with lots of tunnels and caves for the gerbils to run around. The tanks even have ready made holes for the tubes to go through,

If you are using Rotastack with gerbils you will need to use the metal rings that go over the end of the tubes. Otherwise the gerbils will made short work of them. We found that they also could get their teeth into the right angled tubes and so had to use the space modules to go around corners. Rotastack is also good for joining two smaller tanks together.

Rotastack is a very good environment for gerbils - they seem to love jumping up and down the tubes and running along between the sections. I think that it mimics the environment that they live in in the wild. Always make sure that you have a tank for them to dig in. You can sit Rotastack on top of a wire mesh lid as detailed above, just cut a hole in the top for the tube to push through. I have not tried Habitrail but it looks very good provided there is some way of stopping them chewing the tubes. The only disadvantage of Rotastack is that it needs cleaning out more regularly than a tank alone. This was no problem when we only had one tank but when we got a lot of animals it became a lot of work.

Gerbil Cage. Here is what we did next. We bought a four foot tank and put it under the Rotastack. Obviously the gerbils love this environment and the tank does not need cleaning out very often at all. Here they are on wood shavings but some people use peat and we have used Russel Rabbit for our animals that get sort noses.

The disadvantage of a four foot tank is that it can only be moved when empty and that takes two people. I can lift a full two foot tank on my own or and empty 3 foot tank. A full 3 foot tank can be carried by two people and put in the car but a four foot is just too big to be practical. So you will need a holiday tank if you take your pets to friends when you go away.

Currently we have no gerbils but our last gerbil was Twinkle the RSPCA gerbil who passed on last year at a good old age. Because of the number of cages we have, Twinkle was a nomadic gerbil. His cage got moved around the house to where is was convienient. When there is a nice sunny morning in winter he went by the French doors for a sunbathe, but he could also be bought into the cool of the lounge in the summer when it is hot and we had the air conditioner on for the chinchillas. He could also be moved out of the way into the study when we have people round. Because of this he did't have an enormous cage - but he seemed quite content in this arrangement. We put chinchilla dust in the top part of his rotastack for a private bathing area. The wheel wasn't that good but he liked to run and hide in there if something alarmed him. We could get to his foodbowl on the top floor easily and it was difficult for him to empty it and bury the food which is good as he tended to get rather fat if we didn't make him eat all of it. Notice that he is on a chopped cardboard bedding, which is very low dust and can still form burrows if there are plenty of boxes and tubes.

Gerbil Cage.

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