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Home comforts for your gerbil 

In the wild, gerbils live in underground tunnels up to 3m long with several entries and chambers.

The best way to mimic this natural habitat and keep them happy is to house them in a large tank or old aquarium with a secure wire lid and plenty of material for them to dig and tunnel into.

Wire cages are unsuitable because the bedding will be kicked out. You can also get gerbilariums or tanks with cage additions which are ideal for this type of pet.

Two gerbils need a minimum floor surface of 40cm x 75cm, by at least 30cm tall because they are such good jumpers. Keep the tank or aquarium away from draughts and direct sunlight or heat.

As these little animals are active during the evening – and occasionally during the day – you may not want to keep their tank in a bedroom. You are not likely to disturb them, but they may disturb you!

Gerbils need a thick layer of dust- extracted bedding to dig into. Organic soil or peat are great natural beddings for your gerbil along with meadow or Timothy hay, plus shredded paper for nesting.

Don’t use fluffy material as this can wrap around gerbils’ limbs and injure them. Gerbils also like a nest box – but not made of wood or plastic, which they’ll chew. A clay flowerpot cut in half makes a good sleeping area. A dust bath of chinchilla sand (available from most pet shops) should be provided so the gerbil can keep its coat clean and in good condition.