Gerbils as Pets: The Hamsters of the Future
By Julie Campbell
Nobody can deny the popularity of hamsters throughout the
years as a fun, easy to maintain pet. However, anybody who
has ever owned a hamster has also discovered that they are
far from the perfect pet. Sure, they’re cute, they’re funny, and
they’re gentle, but as a pet, they have their flaws.
Gerbils, on the other hand, may not be perfect, but as a pet,
they come much closer to the ideal that people are looking for;
especially when they’re giving the pet to their children.
Consider the following comparison between gerbils and
hamsters, and you’ll soon find that gerbils may very well be the
hamsters of the future.
Gerbils have a unique sleep and activity cycle that alternates
between playing and napping all day and all night long. This
means that you’ll be able to watch them play, and have some
“time off” at any time of the day or night. Hamsters, on the
other hand, are entirely nocturnal. This means that if you or
your child is only up during the daytime, almost all of your time
with your pet will happen during naptime.
Healthy gerbils are extremely active, curious creatures that are
always racing about, digging, running in the wheel, playing,
gnawing, and doing lots of other entertaining activities.
Hamsters are lazy balls of fluff that only waddle on the running
wheel and prefer to sit around.
Gerbils are very social creatures, preferring to live in pairs, and
enjoying your company very much. Hamsters are solitary
creatures that enjoy living alone, are prone to fighting when
sharing a cage, and will even cannibalize their own young!
Mongolian gerbils – another name for the standard gerbil – are
extremely curious. They are quick to investigate anything new
in the cage, and are always watching what you’re doing when
you’re in the same room. Hamsters are easily startled and will
even fear bite for simple reasons such as being awakened in
And, perhaps the best thing about gerbil keeping is how clean
they are! Since they’re native to the deserts of Mongolia, they
take in little water, and therefore produce very little urine. This
means that the cage needs far less cleaning, and it doesn’t get
smelly until quite a long time has passed. Hamsters get very
smelly, very fast. This can be kept to a minimum by putting a
“litter box” in the corner of the cage, but the whole thing will
need cleaning frequently, and you’ll need to get used to that
special odor coming from the cage only a few days after the
Since today’s pet owners have the internet available to them to
help them to make informed decisions about pet ownership, it
isn’t too much of a stretch to believe that gerbils may soon be
the more popular pet among rodent keepers.
Julie Campbell is a gerbil owner and enthusiast, and has
gained a great deal of expertise through her gerbil keeping
experirence and extensive research. For more information
about keeping gerbils, gerbil care, and information about gerbil
products, visit her website at http://www.gerbil.5u.com.
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