Ask The Gerbils

Hallie and Smurf are happy to answer your questions about taking care of, playing with, taming, or getting to know your gerbils. However, if you have questions about breeding or gerbil babies, you should ask an experienced breeder, not Hallie and Smurf. For breeding questions, please see the American Gerbil Society or a site such as the Gerbil Breeding & Development page.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Hello Herman!

My two gerbils, Coda and Whisper, live in a 10-gallon aquarium, but they don't have many things to do. They have a wheel, but that doesn't keep them busy enough.

What gerbil toys or random household objects can I put in their cage to help them have more fun?

Also, at night, they are very noisy and wake me up all the time. Any solutions for that?

Thank you very much, Herman!


Hello S.!

Thanks for writing! It's great that you are such a nice person and want to make sure that your gerbils are happy and having fun! They are very lucky to have you!!

Of course, I bet you know all about toilet paper tubes. These are our favorite toys! You can even make a special gerbil present using a toilet paper tube. This will keep your gerbils busy for a while as they try to get to the treats inside the tube!

Last fall, we had a Tip Of The Month about Two Simple Gerbil Toys. One is a wooden bird ladder and the other is a plain brown paper lunch sack. You won't believe how much fun we have digging and jumping on and chewing apart a paper bag!

We also really like to chew apart plain white, uncoated paper plates. You can fold them in half like a little tent or roll them up like a tube. Either way, your gerbils will have fun playing with and chewing up a paper plate. Small boxes are good, too. For example, the little cardboard boxes that breakfast bars or Pop Tarts come in are just about the perfect size to put in a gerbil tank. We gerbils can use them as hiding places, nesting boxes, or another cardboard toy to chew!

We also have a lot of fun with small glass jars. Just make sure that you rinse the jar out with hot water and let it dry all of the way before you put it in the tank. Then we can crawl in and out of the jar, dig inside the jar, and really have a lot of fun! You'll need to take the jar out and rinse it really well every day, because we gerbils also like to use glass jars as toilets! As long as you clean it out every day, it can be a very fun toy! (If your gerbils start banging the jar into the side of the tank at night, just make sure you take the jar out so that your gerbils don't keep you awake!)

Have you let your gerbils take a sandbath yet? This is a lot of fun! It might take your gerbils a little while to figure it out, but once they do, they'll love rolling in the sand!

If you have extra time (and possibly someone to help?), you might even want to make your own gerbil furniture. This is a really great family activity!

I'm also so glad you asked about what to do when your gerbils are noisy at night! We've had this same problem at Twin Squeaks. Kylee used to get upset with me when I made too much noise and kept her awake at night. Now, she does several things that help me stay quiet at night while still having fun. First, if my exercise wheel squeaks, she puts a bit of olive oil on the wheel. If I still make too much noise in my wheel, she sometimes takes the wheel out until the morning. But I don't get bored when my wheel goes away, because she gives me a big handful of plain white toilet paper sheets. These are so much fun to stuff in my mouth and carry around the tank and then rip into tiny shreds for a soft, fluffy nest! I don't make nearly as much noise chewing on toilet paper sheets as I do when I chew on cardboard tubes. Also, by the time I get done shredding the toilet paper sheets, I usually have a really nice, soft, fluffy nest, and there's nothing that sounds better after all of my hard work than to curl up and take a nap in my new fluffy bed of toilet paper sheets! You should try giving your gerbils about 10 sheets of toilet paper right before you go to bed. You''ll be amazed how much fun they have and how nice and quiet they are while you fall asleep! :)

Tell Coda and Whisper “hi” and give them each a treat for me!

Your very good pal,