As a responsible pet owner, one of the main aspects of care you will give your pet is to feed it a healthy and balanced diet. This diet is usually as close as possible to what that animal would feed in the wild. If you are the owner of gerbils, then feeding them a balanced and nutritious diet is important to keeping your gerbils healthy and happy. Therefore, it is essential that you understand their nutritional needs. Here is everything you need to know about feeding your gerbils.
The Diet of Gerbils
Gerbils are omnivores, which means they eat a diet that contains both meat and plant-based food. However, they eat more plant-based foods than meat as dietary fiber from carbohydrates is the most important aspect of their diet. They need very little fat and sugar in their diet, but they do need some protein and a range of vitamins and minerals.
What Do Gerbils Eat in the Wild
In the wild, a gerbil’s diet consists predominantly of grains, grasses, seeds, and some other plant-based foods. However, they do eat some meat and the major sources of this are either insects, such as crickets, or worms. Wild gerbils spend hours hunting for nutritious food sources. Gerbils also need a daily supply of water, but only drink about a teaspoon each day.
What Should You Feed Gerbils?
As a gerbil owner, you should try to give your gerbil a diet that is close to what it eats in the wild. This means that they should eat foods that are high in carbohydrates for dietary fiber and foods that offer some protein. It is important that they get the minerals and vitamins they need.
The main source of nutrition that you should feed your gerbil is gerbil food mix or gerbil pellets. These foods are created by pet food manufacturers to meet the specific dietary requirements of gerbils, so they give them most of the nutrition they need.
You should also give your gerbil small treats of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, you should always check which ones are safe for your gerbil too eat as there are some that contain dangerous toxins or that have a high fat, sugar, or acid content that is harmful to gerbils. Even if fruits and vegetables that are safe for gerbils, it is best to only give these in small quantities once or twice a week.
In addition to treats of fruits and vegetables, there are some other treats you can give to your gerbils. Some of these include:
- Hard-boiled egg
- Lean cooked meat
Water is another important aspect of your gerbil’s diet. They do not need much water as they will only drink around one teaspoon a day. Regardless of this tiny consumption, it is vital they have access to fresh, clean water daily. A lack of water will cause dehydration, and this can lead to death.
What Should You Not Feed Gerbils?
There are many foods that can make a gerbil ill or that are so toxic to gerbils that they can kill these animals. There are even some fruits and vegetables that are not safe for gerbils to eat. These include:
- Raw potatoes
- Citrus fruits
In addition to this list of fruits and vegetables that you should avoid giving your gerbils, you should not feed your gerbil foods that are for humans. Many of these contain harmful chemicals, salt, and high levels of either fat or sugar. Some examples of such foods are:
How Much and How Often Do You Need to Feed Gerbils?
It is not just what you feed your gerbil that is important, it is also how often you feed your pet. Most gerbil food mixes and gerbil pellets will tell you on the packaging how much of the food to give and how often. However, as a general rule, one gerbil will eat one heaped tablespoon of these foods per day. You should give this to your gerbil either at morning or at night.
You should also offer your gerbil treats of fruits or vegetables twice a week. About one teaspoon of chopped fruit or vegetables is enough as too much can cause tummy upsets for gerbils. It is essential to check which fruits and vegetables are safe to eat before offering them to your gerbil. You can also offer your gerbil an extra treat once a week of either mealworms, cooked meat, or hard-boiled egg.
It is important to remove any uneaten food from your gerbil’s habitat as this can go rotten quickly. If your hamster eats rotten food, it is potentially dangerous and will almost certainly lead to digestive problems.
Gerbil Food Available on Amazon: Is It Safe and Does It Meet Gerbils’ Nutritional Needs?
Although gerbil food is readily available in pet stores, another source of these products is Amazon. Usually, the same brands that are sold in pet shops are also sold by Amazon. These foods are manufactured by pet food brands to meet the nutritional needs of gerbils, so they are perfectly safe to buy for your gerbil.
The major difference between the foods sold online and those sold in pet stores is the price. You will usually save money if you buy your gerbil food mix or gerbil pellets from Amazon. It is possible to get some very good deals when buying pet food online.
A word of caution is to always make sure the food you are buying from Amazon is intended for gerbils and not just rodents or other small animals. Only gerbil food will meet the specific dietary needs of these animals. Some foods are marketed as hamster and gerbil foods and these are fine to give to your gerbil.
What and when you feed your gerbil are important aspects of taking your responsibilities as aspect owner seriously. To maintain good health, it is essential that you feed your gerbils a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs and is as close to what they eat in the wild as possible. While the main source of nutrition for domestic gerbils is gerbil food mixes or pellets, you can also offer treats of fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, mealworms, and pulses. It is essential that you check whether foods are safe for gerbils before offering them to your pet and you should avoid giving them any human foods.