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Mongolian Gerbil

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Mongolian gerbil

The Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) is also called gerbil and is native to the semi-desert and steppe regions of Mongolia.

Name Dutch: Mongolian gerbil
Scientific name: Meriones unguiculatus
Origin: The steppe and semi-desert region of Mongolia
Age: 3 years
Height: 11-14 cm
Wearing time: minimum 24 – 26 days If the female still has a litter of pups at that time, she can delay it for up to 42 days!
Birth: viviparous
Nest Size: 1 – 5 boy
Activity: Twilight and Night Active
Legislation: not
Stay: Terrarium or Aquarium
Minimum size: 100x50cm for 2 gerbils
Food: The food of the Mongolian gerbil consists of seeds, grains and other plant parts, but also insects

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The appearance of the Mongolian gerbil

The Mongolian gerbil is 11 to 14 cm long without the tail. If you add the tail to this, the gerbil is suddenly 10 to 11 cm longer! The tail is completely hairy and has a plume at the end.

 The body is streamlined. The head of a Mongolian gerbil is short and broad, with a tapered snout. The hind legs are 3 to 3,5 cm long, allowing gerbils to jump well and far. The front legs are much smaller. They weigh about 60-85 grams.

The original color of the gerbil is called Agouti. The hairs on the back have a gray base, a yellowish color in the middle and black tips. The hairs on belly are cream with a gray base. In addition to the Agouti color, there are more colors such as; Black, algerian, dove gray, lilac, pied, siamese and yellow.

 

Gerbil

The behavior of the Mongolian gerbil

In the wild gerbils live in large mixed groups, but in captivity it is not advisable to keep the animals in this way. In a group with both males and females mixed together you will get several litters at the same time. This is not smart because you will have to relocate all these puppies again, but also because the females become very restless among themselves from all those litters so close to each other. They can then steal or even kill each other's pups! Ranking is very important among gerbils. When the ranking has to be re-determined for whatever reason, this can go horribly wrong. This applies to both females and males.

Three gerbils could possibly go well, but there are never guarantees. That is why we always recommend to just keep it nice with a couple of 2.

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Caresheet

Gerbils are huge destructors! An enclosure made of plastic or wood is therefore absolutely not suitable. They'll be out in no time.

Glass is therefore your only option, this can be a terrarium or an aquarium with a good, sturdy lid. Gerbils are fanatical diggers and, if they have the opportunity to do so, create the most beautiful tunnel systems. It is important to use a thick sheet, firm bedding. This can be: cotton, wood fiber, hemp fiber, hay or a combination of these. We also like to use terrarium sand for our gerbils. After all, gerbils naturally live in sand. Terrarium sand is slightly moist, making it ideal for holding corridors. Of course, in this case it is important to spray it regularly with a plant sprayer (make sure that the humidity does not exceed 50%). In addition, moist sand is of course a lot cooler than other ground cover. Ideal in the summer but a little less in the winter. This can be solved by installing a heat lamp in the gerbils' enclosure. It is super nice to see how they are chilling under this lamp.

 

The rest of the interior must of course also be gerbil-proof. So no plush and plastic, but rather teak and cork! This is super gnaw resistant and immediately gives your stay a natural look. The use of dried wheat, millet or other harvests complete the stay. Fresh plants can also be used with gerbils, provided you don't mind that this has been gnawed away or dug under in a few hours. It is important that you do not choose plants with too high a moisture content. Cat grass is a safe plant to use. Hay should certainly not be missing in your gerbil enclosure. it offers firmness for the tunnel and cavities, nice soft beds are formed and they will nibble on it.

 

Male or female

Male or female gerbils do not differ much from each other. Usually the males are slightly larger, but larger females are also known. In terms of character it is usually the case that males are a bit calmer than the females, but that also changes sometimes.

You can recognize a female gerbil by this:

  • The genital opening and the anus are very close together.

This is how you recognize a male gerbil:

  • The genitals of a male gerbil are a little further away from the anus than those of the female. The genitals are also somewhat longer than in a lady.
  • From two weeks old the scrotum starts to become visible and from 4 to 5 weeks it can no longer be missed.
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What does the Mongolian gerbil eat?

Mongolian gerbils eat about 10 to 15 grams of food, per animal, per day.

Gerbils mainly eat plant foods such as: seeds, grains and other (mainly dry) plant parts. In addition, they certainly need animal proteins in their diet. These animal proteins can be added in the form of (dried) insects, egg food or universal food.

Gerbils are sensitive to fatty foods. We therefore recommend that you be careful with sunflower seeds and nuts. If you want to give this as a snack, keep it 1-2 times a week. Very moist food is also not well tolerated. Gerbils only have one kidney and too much fluid is therefore difficult to process by the gerbil body. Since mostly dry crops grow in the area where the gerbil lives, it is not necessary to feed your gerbil fruits and vegetables. In fact, the sugars naturally found in fruit are not good for gerbils either.

 

Pellets or seed mixture?

There are different foods for gerbils. Some consist only of pellets. This means that each kibble contains exactly the same ingredients and nutritional value. The gerbil can not only extract the tasty seeds and it always receives the same, sufficient nutrients.

There are also feeds that are composed of all different seeds and kernels, this is called seed mix or mixed feed. With this food, the gerbil has more variety and can choose what to eat first and what to save for later. The advantage is that this is more similar to the food that the gerbil eats in the wild.

We would always opt for a mixed diet with gerbils. not because a pellet is bad, certainly not! But precisely because gerbils get bored so quickly. You can spread mixed food through the soil without any problems, so the gerbils can express their natural foraging behaviour. if seeds are not eaten, they will germinate and small plants will appear in your terrarium that can also be eaten by your gerbils.

When you scatter a pellet food through the soil, there is a chance that the uneaten pellets will mold and of course we don't want that! If you feed pellets, pay close attention to this.

There are a number of good gerbil foods available in better pet stores. If you can't find this, choose a dwarf hamster mix that you supplement with egg food, insects and possibly some turtledove food

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What do you need to keep 2 gerbils

How nice that you have decided to take care of 2 gerbils! What do you need? To help you on your way, we have already made this handy shopping list for you:

• stay (100×50)
• easily excavable soil cover
• hay
• at least 2 houses or other shelters
• some nice pieces of teak or cork
• heat or sunlight lamp
• water bowl/bottle
• sandbox + bath sand
• rodent material
• nutrition
• snacks
• dried plants or millet

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