Most people who get a pet want to something back from the experience. While some are satisfied with keeping pets that you can watch, most want to interact with their pet in some way. They want to touch and stroke them or, in the case of small animals, pick them up and hold them. If you are a gerbil owner, holding your gerbils is a great way to bond with them and it is potentially satisfying for both you and your pets. However, it is important to know how to handle your gerbils properly so that you do not frighten or hurt them.
Do Gerbils Like Being Held and Picked Up?
Gerbils are sociable animals that like being with other gerbils and enjoy human attention. Once they have become accustomed to their owner, most gerbils enjoy being handled. However, they are sometimes a little fearful when you first get them. This is because they have a lot of predators in the wild. It is their natural instinct to think that anything larger than them, including humans, is a predator. Once trust is established with gerbils, they usually enjoy human contact.
How to Touch and Pick Up Your Gerbil?
If your gerbil it happy about being handled, then picking them up is easy. The best method to use to avoid hurting your gerbil when handling is the scooping method.
- Put your hands into the habitat and for a cup with them with your palms facing upwards.
- Wait until your gerbil approaches you and then scoop them into your cupped palms.
- Close your hands around the gerbil while lifting them out of their habitat.
- Once you have removed your hands from the habitat, you can stroke and play with your gerbil.
- When you are ready to put the gerbil back into its cage or tank, cup your hands around the gerbil so you don’t drop your pet.
- Put your cupped hands on the floor of your gerbil’s habitat before opening your hands, so the gerbil can safely walk off your hands and back into its habitat.
How to Get Them Used to Being Touched and Held
Some gerbils are a little nervous of human contact at first. Getting them used to being touched and held can take patience. Using the following steps will help you to get your gerbil used to being touched and handled by you.
- Allow them to settle into their environment for a couple of days.
- Slowly introduce your hand into your gerbil’s habitat without touching them.
- Allow the gerbil to come to you first. It will smell you and learn to recognize your scent.
- If you leave your palm facing upwards, the gerbil will eventually walk to your hand when it realizes you do not pose a threat.
- Once your gerbil is accustomed to you touching it this way, it is ready for you to start picking it using cupped hands.
- Never drop your gerbil back into its tank. Always put your hand to the floor so the gerbil can walk off without risk of injury.
A Few Handling Tips for Gerbils
Always handling your gerbil in an appropriate way is important. The following tips will help you to handle your gerbil in a safe and sensible manner.
- Don’t grab your gerbil tightly or squeeze.
- Try to hold them over a flat surface so that if they escape from your hands they will not have far to fall.
- Never pick up your gerbil by its head or limbs.
- Only allow children to pick up your gerbil while supervised.
- Don’t use objects to pick up a gerbil.
Although some gerbils are a little nervous about their owners touching them at first, they are usually sociable and enjoy interacting with their owners once they are accustomed to them. It can take patience to get them used to being handled and you must always handle these small animals carefully to avoid injury.