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How to Catch a Gerbil

Updated on August 1, 2012

My daughters for their birthdays began and pleaded for a pet. They wanted one of the small pets that can run through the tubs. So finally my husband and I relented and allowed them to get gerbils. We didn't choose mice because they are escape artists, which is ironic because our gerbils have escaped twice in the month that we have had them. As a result we have learned a little something about catching gerbils.

Gerbils can either be scooped up or grabbed by the base of the tail. Gerbils are nocturnal, which means they are most active at night. Also, they are a bit skittish and will be most active when things are quiet and they think they are alone. If you don't have the patience for this another option is to make a noise that will scare the gerbils. When scarred gerbils will thump their back feet against the ground presumable to alert other gerbils of danger. So if you scare the gerbils then get real quite you should be able to here them thumping.

When you've discovered their location clear the area out. Move any furnite, toys or miscellaneous objects so that you have a large clear space in which to catch them. Then clear out the shoes (or whatever they are hiding behind) and be prepared to either snatch them up or if you don't feel you'll be quick enough throw a box over top of the gerbils. Then after fixing whatever hole they escaped from you can toss them back in their cage.

I have just a couple final notes. Gerbils prefer to move along the walls. Particularly behind furniture where they are not out in the open. For that reason they love closets. We actually found our gerbils hiding in an overstuffed shoe closet both times. I guess they really liked it the first time and thought they'd come back to it.

For anyone thinking to buy gerbils I feel it only far to mention that both times the gerbils escaped my girls had a hand in it. The first time they thought it would be fun to leave the cage open and see what the gerbils would do. Needless to say we had a stern talk about that. The second time the girls attempted to feed the gerbils themselves and did not attach the food contain properly allowing the gerbils to push it out and escape.

So, if you are thinking of purchasing gerbils than know that they can be a lot of fun. They are furry (even their tails) and active and look a lot like little kangaroos. The cages are also a lot of fun to construct with miles of twisting tubes that can be added as well as additional compartments for them to scurry through. Gerbils are less skittish around children than hamsters and, despite what my stories might lead you to believe, a lot less likely to escape than mice. Whatever pet options that you choose for your family I wish you all the best.


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    • Joy M profile image

      Joy M 5 years ago from Sumner, Washington

      It's too bad your granddaughter lost her gerbils. Did her mom let her get more or decide it wasn't worth the hassle?

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      This is terrible, but my daughter moved from an apartment and my granddaughter's gerbils got loose. They couldn't find then anywhere and had to leave them. I bet the building thought they had mice after that. Good hub!

    • Highland Terrier profile image

      Highland Terrier 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Have lots of fun with yours pets.