Housing Page One
"Your gerbil's habitat is where it roams...so do your best to make it a home."
A beautiful Lilac gerbil exits its den to enjoy dinner
Many of our friends visiting the Snooty Agouti website have asked us how we house our gerbils. We've prepared a brief explanation of the habitats we create for most of our gerbils. The process may seem somewhat labor intensive… but it really isn't. As you will see shortly our two level habitats take approximately thirty minutes to create.
Are our gerbils captives or companions? The answer lies, in part, in our gerbil's housing or "habitat". Unless we plan to simply put our gerbils in an aquarium or wire cage and to say we own gerbils…providing a stimulating environment for our gerbils should be one of our goals. This requires some planning, and often results in a compromise between the gerbil keeper's resources (available space, cash, etc.) and what our gerbils require to lead happy, healthy long lives.
The ideal gerbil habitat would be one that duplicates our gerbil's native environment… the arid clay and sandy deserts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Since this is neither practical nor possible for most of us to provide, an alternative habitat must be provided. Nevertheless, certain gerbil behavioral characteristics can guide us in creating a habitat that will improve our gerbil's quality of life, enhance the happiness and well being of our gerbils, and at the same time help stimulate behavior observed in the wild.
In planning our gerbils' habitats, we at the Snooty Agouti consider at least these basic gerbil behavioral characteristics/needs:
I must have left out a step...oh, well...nothing left to do but chew everything to bits!
The following habitat uses a ten-gallon aquarium. Here are the parts we use; six wooden (bird) ladders (four 7-step and two 5-step); eight to ten manila file folders; two pieces of black construction paper; a wooden log (used in terrariums); black paint; some gerbils (just kidding!)
Below, we've painted the outside of what will be the back of the habitat. Black construction paper may be substituted. We used black paint seven inches high from bottom to top. We've taken two of the 7-step ladders and cut them to 6-step. We've taken pieces of a manila folder, folded them and created wedges to hold the ladders securely in place as support beams for the upper level. We've cut the construction paper into two pieces... 10" (L) by 5 1/2" (H) and 8" by 5 1/2". The support beams stay in place for months and are not removed with regular habitat cleaning.
Below, we've placed the wooden log under the support beams and placed the remaining two 7-step ladders to the sides of the log along with a curled manila folder. These ladders and folders will generally be chewed-up by the gerbils and should be replaced when the habitat is cleaned.
Below, we've cut wedges out of several pieces of manila folder and placed them on the wooden beams as a roof. We generally use 7-8 layers. Sometimes the first layer or two will become soiled and are easily replaced when the habitat is cleaned.
Below, we then place the last two ladders (5-step) on the manila roof as an anchor and begin to fill with aspen wood. The ladders should be fully covered and not visible. We place about 3/4" of aspen on the roof. The gerbils will discover these ladders and begin to chew them... which is good. We simply replace them during regular habitat cleaning.
Below,finished habitat... the pieces of black construction paper are taped, at their top, to the outside of the aquarium. This permits us to observe our "hidden" gerbils when desired.
There...now that wasn't that hard...was it...???
a Lilac mom and pups in their den
We change our gerbil habitats weekly with a disinfectant wash down after removing the aspen wood shavings, broken toys, etc. Our gerbils love the setup! While this habitat design may not be suitable for every gerbil keeper… it keeps our gerbils happy. So experiment with your gerbils' habitat...be an architect and have fun!
More housing at The Snooty Agouti...!
Last update: 10/00
last update 1/15/01