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January 8, 2010

Welcoming Your New Gerbils

Make your gerbils’ transition to their new home as stress-free as possible

The Humane Society of the United States

gerbil standing

istockphoto

The HSUS recommends that when considering a gerbil as a potential companion, consider adopting from your local animal shelter. Because gerbils are social animals, we recommend adopting two of the same sex. 

Gerbils can be introduced without much difficulty, especially when they are very young. If they are from the same litter or have always lived together, no introduction is needed.

When you first bring your new gerbils home, they are likely to feel stressed by the transition to an unfamiliar environment. They may be away from their littermates for the first time and will be inundated with strange sounds and smells.

Making the transition

If you do adopt a single gerbil, keep in mind that as adults, adding a new one will require an introduction period before they are housed together.

You can ease your gerbil's stress by following a few simple steps.

  • Set up your gerbil's aquarium with appropriate accessories before you bring her home.
  • Use the same type of food, bedding, and nesting materials she's used to and introduce new products slowly.
  • Cover the aquarium with a light cloth for the first day or two to allow your gerbil to explore her new home with greater privacy and fewer distractions.
  • Don't rush to handle your new gerbil; provide fresh food and water every day, but give her a few days to acclimate to her new home before you start petting her or picking her up.
  • Discourage friends and visitors from handling your new gerbil during this adjustment period.

Once your gerbil is comfy and relaxed in her new home, you'll be ready to take your relationship to the next level by introducing her to gentle handling.

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