There are many fruits and vegetables that a gerbil owner can feed to their pet as a treat to add some variety to their diet. However, not all fruits and vegetables are safe for gerbils to eat as they can cause some problems to your pet’s health. One vegetable you might consider feeding to your gerbil is lettuce, but is this a safe food for your gerbil?
Can Gerbils Eat Lettuce?
There are mixed opinions around whether you can feed gerbils lettuce or not. While a very small amount is unlikely to cause your gerbil any problems, larger amounts are linked to several health problems. Therefore, it makes sense to err on the side of caution and avoid feeding this to your gerbil.
What Are the Problems Associated with Gerbils Eating Too Much Lettuce?
Rodent experts warn gerbil owners they should take great care not to give their gerbil too much lettuce as it has very little nutritional value and contains a high percentage of water, which can cause diarrhea in gerbils. The worst outcome of a gerbil eating too much lettuce is that it can potentially damage their liver.
Nutritional Values of Lettuce and Does It Benefit the Diet of Gerbils?
There are many varieties of lettuce and the nutritional values of these varies. The nutritional values given here are for 100g of green leaf lettuce.
- Calories- 15 kcal
- Fat- 0.2g
- Carbohydrate- 2.9g (0.8g sugars)
- Protein- 1.4g
- Vitamins and minerals- Vitamins A, B6, C, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium
Lettuce has hardly any dietary fiber, so there is very little point in feeding this to your gerbil. However, it is a good source of some vitamins and minerals.
How Much Lettuce Can You Feed a Gerbil and How Often?
If you do decide to give your gerbil some lettuce, you should do so only rarely and only offer a tiny piece. Due to the potential health problems associated with eating lettuce, it is probably best to avoid giving this vegetable to your gerbil completely.
Lettuce is a food that has caused debate about how safe it is for gerbils to eat this vegetable. As there are health problems associated with this food that are potentially serious, this is a food best avoided. Instead, offer your gerbil fruits and vegetables that have been confirmed as safe for gerbils to eat, such as carrots, apples, bananas, or strawberries.