A healthy and balanced diet is essential for your gerbil to be serene and healthy. But beware, these little furballs are sensitive, and certain rules inspired by what they find in their natural habitat should be observed. Maxi Zoo tells you everything! Let us have a look at the best food for gerbils.
Arid steppes, deserts, rough mountains: this is how the country of origin of the Mongolian gerbil looks. She can only survive in this region because her body has adapted perfectly to these difficult conditions.
She doesn’t need a lot of water, and frugal meals of dry herbs, grasses, roots, and insects are fine for her. The digestive system of gerbils is quickly abused if the food contains a lot of water, sugar, fats or proteins because it had adapted to the harsh conditions of its country of origin.
The Basic Menu
The staple food of the gerbil consists of seeds, grains and dry herbs. The daily menu also includes fresh fodder. This can be made from kohlrabi leaves, lemon balm, carrot tops, dandelions, mint, daisies, fennel or sagebrush.
Be careful with fresh forage that the plants that make it up do not contain chemical fertilizers or pesticides. If in doubt: wash the dandelions and other plants thoroughly under running water and dry them well before giving them to your gerbil.
Give your gerbil, two or three times a week, insect larvae or mealworms, this is enough to cover its protein needs in a natural way and it also allows to vary its diet a little.
Vegetables And Snacks
As there are no vegetables in the natural habitat of gerbils, its digestive system is not always able to digest this type of food rich in water. This is why you should only give vegetables to your rodent once a day and only a small portion . Easy-to-digest vegetables include peppers, lettuce, carrots, spinach leaves, kohlrabi, tomatoes (without the tail!) And cucumbers, but be sure to wash them thoroughly to remove any possible trace of pesticides. Those that are difficult to digest are, on the other hand, pulses, potatoes, most cabbage and onions: they should not be fed with gerbils.
To snack from time to time, you can offer your gerbil sunflower seeds, hazelnuts or pumpkin seeds. The gerbil can on the other hand easily eat fresh twigs, for example, those of fruit trees or willow.
And The Fruits?
Fruits are also part of the menu of a gerbil. However, it should not be given all the time especially not with the seeds. They contain a lot of water and sugar and can cause digestive disorders or increase their blood sugar levels. Since the body of these small animals cannot always eliminate sugar, this can cause type 1 diabetes if the food is too rich.
A fruity delicacy can be for example a pear, an apple, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, rose hips or raisins. On the other hand, it should not be given exotic fruits, citrus fruits or tropical fruits. These fruits irritate the lining of the digestive system and can cause serious digestive upset.
The 5 Rules To Follow
- The gerbil should always have food available.
- There are natural whole foods for gerbils, of good quality, without preservatives or coloring.
- Give him, once or twice a day, alternately, portions of salad, vegetables and fruits, previously rinsed.
- From time to time, give him a little treat in his hand.
- Make sure that she always has fresh water, in a drinker or a bottle.
A quality diet is essential for the health of your gerbils as for other rodents. Here are some tips to feed your gerbils with quality food and best preserve their health!
The gerbil is a grain-eating animal with an omnivorous tendency. In the wild, their diet varies according to the seasons and the food available: seeds, plants and sometimes even small insects. At home, they can be fed the same way all year round!
The basis of the gerbil diet is made of complete and balanced pellets for gerbils. The pellets should be rationed to prevent the gerbils from gaining too much weight. They must contain a low fat content (less than 5%) and protein content at least more than 16%.
Granules are to be preferred to seed mixtures. Indeed, they prevent the animal from sorting and thus avoid food deficiencies.
It is also important to leave them good quality hay available, beneficial for good tooth wear and good digestive transit. The teeth of gerbils grow continuously, it is important that the teeth wear enough otherwise the gerbils can suffer from tooth problems. Hay should be freely distributed to gerbils; it should be very green, dry, not dusty and have long stems.
Gerbils can also eat fresh fruits and vegetables
They must be introduced gradually and always given in small quantities so as not to cause digestive disorders (at most once a week). They should be washed and given at room temperature. Fruits too rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits should be avoided. Certain vegetables are also to be avoided: leeks, green beans, onions, etc.
If you want to give insects to your gerbils like mealworms for example, you should not give them more than one worm per week. It is not compulsory to give them insects.
Clean water must always be available to the gerbils. It should be changed at least once a day.
Good to know: gerbils can eat some of their droppings, sources of nutrients and vitamins, this is called coprophagia.
Your gerbil’s digestive tract is relatively short. However, due to its fairly high daily energy expenditure, it has a fairly significant need for energy. It is an omnivorous rodent, which obviously differentiates it from the octodon or even the guinea pig, exclusively herbivorous.
The nutritional needs of your gerbil
The food in your gerbil must contain enough animal and vegetable proteins (about 18-20%). Their energy density must be significant and they must contain enough amino acids such as isoleucine, valine, leucine and tryptophan.