Gerbil Introduction & Facts
A gerbil is a small mammal of the subfamily Gerbillinae in the order Rodentia. Once known as desert rats, the gerbil subfamily includes about 110 species of African, Indian, and Asian rodents, including sand rats and jirds, all of which are adapted to arid habitats.
1. GERBILS ARE FRIENDLY AND MILD-MANNERED. Friends of mine who own gerbils have never bitten - not once. Personally, I like this trait. I don't want to own something that bites. Gerbils may nibble on your finger just a little, but that's only because they have bad eyesight and might mistake your finger for food. One way to avoid this, is to make sure your hands DO NOT SMELL LIKE FOOD when you stick them in the cage! (And always wash hands after handling any small rodent).
Other than that, though, gerbils are very friendly and sociable - not aggressive, at all. Try not to startle your gerbil (gerbils don't like loud noises)! Be gentle with your gerbils and they will be gentle back. You can even train them to take seeds right out of your hand.
2. GERBILS ARE VERY CLEAN NON-SMELLY PETS. Not that you can get away with never cleaning out their cage, of course! You should - at least once a week (that's what we do). They love the nice clean cage - it makes them go racing around with joy! But overall, since gerbils are desert animals, they don't require a lot of water (although you should have fresh water available at all times) and consequently, they don't pee as much!
3. GERBILS ARE REALLY EASY TO TAKE CARE OF. Honestly, they don't require a lot of work or supervision. You just need to replenish their food and water and change their bedding once a week. If you get two gerbils together (and you should!) they have each other to keep them company. However, they love it when you talk to them or spend time with them - whenever that's convenient for you. Gerbils will learn to recognize your face, by the way...because even though they might be "your kid's pets" your face will be around a lot, too...trust me!
4. GERBILS ARE VERY ENTERTAINING AND FUN TO WATCH. Gerbils are such active and inquisitive little critters. They love to dig and chew and play play, play! Also, because they are active during the day, their schedule meshes better with a human's schedule.
5. GERBILS ARE GOOD FOR RECYCLING. No, no...not the actual gerbils, themselves! I mean, since gerbils love to chew, you can offer them all sorts of recycling items like empty toilet paper and paper-towel tubes (finally, something else to do with these besides turn them into bad crafts), empty egg cartons, those cardboard drink holders from MacDonald's...they love em' all! They especially love the tubes, because the tube instantly becomes a fun tunnel and a chew-toy, rolled up in one. Yup - gerbils are very "green" pets!