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What To Do If Your Gerbil Escaped

Updated on June 19, 2013

One thing that pet owners dread is the thought of their gerbils escaping and there are a number of points to remember if this happens to you.

Firstly, gerbils treat their enclosure as home and look to that area as a place of safety. So long as the enclosure is large enough and with lots of activities to keep them amused, the gerbils will not spend their days longing for escape.

Secondly, your enclosure should be sufficiently secure to ensure that escape is not a real possibility in the first place. Make sure that your gerbils cannot chew their way to freedom at a point of particular weakness.

And finally, if your gerbil does escape: don't panic!

Whatever you do, don't chase the poor animal around the room because this will only frighten the poor creature and stress them. Very rarely does this method of recapture succeed. Even though it takes longer, the patient approach, pays dividends in the end.

Close all the doors to the room where your gerbil escaped and one method of recapture is to put a bucket in the room with a wooden ramp between the floor and the top of the bucket. Put some food into the bucket and maybe also the escaped gerbils mate or friend from their enclosure.

Now leave the room and by the next day the gerbil should be found in the bucket, having fallen in after the food, without the means to escape again. Bear in mind though that this may not be strictly true because gerbils are very effective jumpers and may not have a problem jumping up to the sides of the bucket. Also the escaped gerbils mate, that you have placed into the bucket may also jump out - resulting in not one, but two escapees!!!

Another method is to use long cardboard tubes and wait patiently for your gerbil to enter the tube, regarding it as a natural place of safety. When your gerbil has entered the tube, place your hands over the ends and return the wandering star to their own enclosure.

The method that we have found the most effective is the "Home-Sweet-Home" method. The principal behind this method is simple. Your gerbil regards his home as a place of safety and may be looking for a way to return home from this hostile environment.

If you remove the other gerbils from the escaped ones enclosure and make a way for the escapee to return, you will often find that after a little while the reunion will take place naturally, allowing you to return the other gerbils and have things back to normal.

When we let our gerbils out for a run we usually put the enclosure into that area, open and freely accessible, and this encourages the gerbils to come and go as they wish. In this way we attempt to encourage them to return, should they ever escape. But if these methods do not work and time passes it will become increasingly difficult to recapture your gerbil.

Taking your gerbils outside is always a risky proposition and many gerbils owners do not take the risk in the first place. But if you can ensure that the gerbils cannot escape the real advice is to be extra vigilant for dangers.

Should your gerbil escape outside, the chances of recapture are very remote and predators will almost certainly attack and kill your naturally trusting, tame gerbil. But, on the other hand they are very adaptable and can very easily adjust to prevailing circumstances. Gerbils have set up wild colonies in the United Kingdom, after escaping from captivity - which clearly demonstrates their naturally tenacious instincts.

At the end of the day prevention is the important word and making sure your gerbil does not escape in the first place is the important thing to ensure.


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