!Header Logo

Good Friends Animal Hospital

!Give us a call button

Call us for an appointment! 217-344-1017

!Call Icon

Setting Up A Gerbil Cage

September 1 2022

Are you looking for a small pet that is super cute? A gerbil may just fit the bill! Like other pocket pets, these guys are easy to care for. However, it’s very important that you set their habitat up properly. A Urbana, IL vet offers some information on this below.

Picking The Cage

Gerbils don’t need much room: a 10-gallon cage is the minimum for two tiny furballs. However, if you want more you’ll need a bigger cage. Choose one with a mesh or wire top: this is important for ventilation. If you pick one with wire sides, make sure the bars are spaced so that your pint-sized pal can’t escape.


Your tiny buddy will need a good hidey hole. Cardboard or ceramic ‘houses’ are fine. A wooden nesting box is also a good bet. You’ll also need to add at least one water bottle. Get more than one if you have multiple gerbils. Your cute pet will also enjoy having some tunnels and mazes to explore.


Gerbils love to dig, so you’ll need to add a few inches of bedding. Aspen and paper shavings are good options. Avoid pine or cedar products: the oils they produce actually aren’t safe for gerbils.

Chew Toys

Tiny furballs need enrichment, too! Exercise wheels are a good choice. Juse be sure to get one with a solid bottom. Gerbils have open-rooted teeth, so your little furball will need some suitable chew toys. Many cardboard items, such as toilet paper tubes, can also be upcycled into great DIY toys. You can also offer safe woods, such as birch, ash, or bamboo.


Gerbils are naturally quite timid and skittish. Your pet will feel safest in a quiet spot, where they can nap peacefully. Don’t put the cage in direct sunlight, or near busy and/or noisy areas. Garages are also a bad area, as are any spots with a lot of chemicals. Ideally, your gerbil’s home should be off the ground, on a table or sturdy shelf, in a room that stays at a comfortable temperature. Keep in mind that your pet won’t keep the same schedule that you do, and may be up at night. This is definitely something to consider before putting the cage in a child’s room.

Our Advice on Setting Up A Gerbil Cage in 2024

What size cage is recommended for two gerbils?

For housing two gerbils, a minimum cage size of 10 gallons is recommended. However, opting for a larger enclosure can provide more space for these active creatures to explore, dig, and play, enhancing their well-being and quality of life. A spacious environment supports their natural behaviors and allows for the inclusion of essential accessories, such as hidey holes, tunnels, and chew toys. Ensuring your gerbils have ample room is a crucial aspect of responsible pet care.

What types of hidey holes are suitable for gerbils?

For gerbils, suitable hidey holes include cardboard houses, ceramic shelters, and wooden nesting boxes. These provide gerbils with a sense of security and privacy, essential for their well-being. Cardboard options offer the added benefit of being chewable, which is good for their dental health. Ceramic shelters are easy to clean and maintain, while wooden boxes can double as chewing material. It’s essential to choose hidey holes without sharp edges or harmful substances, ensuring a safe and enriching environment for these small pets.

What kind of bedding is safe for gerbils?

For gerbils, safe bedding options include aspen shavings and paper-based products. These materials provide a comfortable, absorbent environment for digging and nesting without posing health risks. It’s crucial to avoid pine or cedar shavings, as the aromatic oils they contain can harm gerbils’ respiratory systems. Choosing the right bedding is essential for maintaining a healthy habitat where gerbils can thrive, engage in natural behaviors, and stay clean. Always opt for dust-free bedding to further protect your gerbils’ delicate respiratory health.

What types of chew toys and enrichment should be provided for gerbils?

For gerbils, providing a variety of chew toys and enrichment items is critical to their well-being. Suitable options include exercise wheels with solid bottoms to protect their feet, along with safe woods like birch, ash, or bamboo for chewing. Cardboard items, such as toilet paper tubes, can be creatively repurposed into engaging DIY toys. These activities not only keep gerbils entertained but also support dental health by allowing them to manage the growth of their open-rooted teeth. Always ensure the materials are non-toxic and safe for gerbils to interact with.

What considerations should be made regarding the cage’s placement and the gerbil’s nocturnal habits?

When placing a gerbil’s cage, consider their nocturnal habits to ensure their activities do not disturb household members at night. Choose a quiet location away from direct sunlight and high-traffic areas to provide a calm environment. It’s also essential to position the cage in a room with a stable temperature, avoiding garages or areas with potential chemical exposure. Placing the cage off the ground on a sturdy shelf or table can offer security and a better view for the gerbil, enhancing their comfort and well-being.

Do you have questions or concerns about gerbil care? Contact us, your Urbana, IL animal clinic, today!

!Single Blog Social Sharing Icons