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Gerbil Care Guide

Gerbil Care Guide


4 things to know about gerbils

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Size: Gerbils grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, with an equal-length tail
  • Lifespan: They live for about 3 years
  • Behavior: Gerbils are most active at night and are powerful jumpers

How do I set up a gerbil habitat?

Gerbils are gentle and social and can be housed in same-sex pairs. The habitat should include hide houses where gerbils can play and chew.

  • House your gerbil in a habitat that's at least 12 x 12 x 12 inches, with multiple levels and an exercise wheel.
  • Place the habitat out of direct sunlight in a low-humidity area between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 Celsius).
  • Line the habitat with at least 1 or 2 inches of paper bedding or wood shavings (cedar shavings are not recommended). Spot clean the bedding frequently and change it at least monthly.
  • Clean hide -houses regularly.
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What do gerbils eat?

  • Pelleted food is the mainstay of a gerbil’s diet; refresh pellets daily and always keep the gerbil’s food dish three-quarters full.
  • Feed gerbils dark leafy greens every other day; and apple, banana, melon, or other appropriate fruits once a week.
  • Gerbils should have access to fresh, clean water at all times.
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How can I keep my gerbil healthy?

Try not to handle gerbils for 3 to 4 days, while they adjust to their new home. Even after they are settled in, gerbils can get sick. Notice any of the following signs? Contact a veterinarian or a PetSmart store associate:

  • Cloudy, sunken or swollen eyes
  • Overgrown front teeth
  • Bare patches in fur
  • Diarrhea or discolored droppings
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss; not eating or drinking normally
  • Sneezing; discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth


  • Thoroughly wash your hands before contact with your gerbil.
  • Use caution when handling gerbils, and remember they may bite or scratch, especially when stressed.
  • Never grab your gerbil by the fur or tail.
  • Supervise children around pets.
  • All animals can carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases that are contagious to humans. Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water after contact with any pet, its habitat, or aquarium water. Adults should assist children with hand-washing.


Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well being of our pets.

Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.


If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.