Before acquiring a gerbil, it is important to clarify important questions. Only then can you know if the animal fits you, your family and also your current living situation.
Families with children should carefully consider whether the gerbil is the right pet.
Because: gerbils are not cuddly animals.
Nevertheless, they are not completely unsuitable for children.
But see for yourself…
Are gerbils suitable for children?
Yes, in principle, children can also have great fun living together with the fluffy gerbils!
However, it is important to remember that gerbils are not cuddly animals and therefore not comparable to a dog or cat.
Calmer children who like to observe and do not want to touch everything that comes in front of their eyes, however, will be able to have great fun with the animals.
When are gerbils the right pet for a child?
Whether gerbils are the right pets for children depends entirely on the character of the child.
With their fluffy fur and big, black beady eyes, the animals just look cute – yet they are living creatures with a mind of their own and individual needs!
For this reason, children should have a certain maturity before caring for the animals and making direct contact.
With younger children, you as a parent should always keep an eye on how your child behaves towards the gerbils.
Be especially careful not to corner any of the animals. Not only because this means great stress for the animals, but also to protect your child: Gerbils can bite hard when they feel threatened!
Now let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of gerbils for children.
Of course, every child has different needs and a unique character, so not every advantage is an advantage and not every disadvantage is a disadvantage for your child!
Gerbils as pets for children: the advantages
1: Less work
The animals tend to do little work compared to other pets (like cats and dogs).
2: Interesting observations
Children can learn a lot about gerbils’ body language and also social interaction through intense observation.
3: Positive companion
Your child will have furry friends by their side who will not prejudge them and will always be there when your child feels lonely and alone.
In addition, growing up with pets has been proven to have a very positive effect on children’s development overall.
4: Sense of responsibility
The child learns to take responsibility at an early age, which allows them to mature and grow as a person.
The animals are quite inexpensive to purchase and keep. Thus, gerbils are also suitable for rather low-income families.
Veterinary costs are also usually kept within reasonable limits due to the small size of the animals.
6: No high life expectancy
Since gerbils do not carry a high life expectancy, they are not as bonded as with a dog or cat.
Gerbils as pets for children: the disadvantages
1: Not cuddly animals.
Since these cute rodents are observation animals, there is a risk that the child will quickly get bored and lose interest in the animals.
For this reason, both parents should also enjoy the racers and enjoy taking care of the animals.
2: Nocturnal animals
Gerbils are sometimes nocturnal and should therefore not be housed in children’s rooms, as they could otherwise interfere with children’s sleep by gnawing.
3: Not a long life expectancy
With a life expectancy of only about three years, gerbils live much shorter lives than, say, rabbits, guinea pigs or chinchillas.
It can be very upsetting for children to have to let go of their beloved pet, with whom they have just formed a deep bond, after only a short time.
4: High Cleaning Effort
Gerbils’ enclosure needs to be cleaned regularly.
If your kids are still small, this work will mostly fall on you.
5 reasons why gerbils are also suitable for children!
- the child learns to take responsibility for another living being
The child gets an important task, namely the care of the own pet.
This on the one hand strengthens the self-confidence and also the self-confidence, on the other hand the child is given the feeling of being needed, which will also have a positive effect on its development.
Of course, the tasks should always be adapted to the age of the child.
For tasks that the child is not yet able to perform independently, it is up to you to give your child a helping hand.
In addition, you should (especially with smaller children) always have an eye on whether the animals are really cared for every day! After all, they are living creatures that depend on human care and would otherwise starve or die of thirst!
Also the health condition of the gerbils should always be checked by adults and not (only) by the children.
- the empathy ability is increased
By keeping gerbils, your child can learn that different individuals have different needs.
So the temptation is to pet the cute furry monsters – but they won’t be thrilled about that at all!
So your child learns to adapt to specific needs and to respect the boundaries of other creatures, even though their own ideas may go in a different direction.
- the curiosity of the children is aroused
There is pretty much always action in the gerbil terrarium!
Therefore, most children will be magically drawn to them and they may spend many minutes or even hours watching the animals scurry around their enclosure.
Once the enthusiasm for the gerbils is sparked, children will automatically start asking questions and wanting to deepen their knowledge about the racers.
- the children can interact with the animals. Although these are observation animals, interaction between humans and animals is still possible.
So your child can slowly gain the trust of the four-legged friends and strengthen the bond bit by bit, until the animals can finally be fed from the hand.
Clicker training is also possible with gerbils and brings a lot of fun for both sides.
However, you as an adult should always keep an eye on the fact that the animal always feels comfortable in the interaction. In view of this, it is recommended that the child only reaches into the terrarium under supervision.
- gerbils are (also) diurnal
Many children absolutely want a hamster as a pet.
The big downside to this story: hamsters are nocturnal!
Consequently, your kid will get little to nothing out of his pet if he goes to bed around 7 or 8 p.m. and spends the whole morning at school or even still at kindergarten.
Gerbils, on the other hand, are not only nocturnal, but mainly diurnal!
Your child gets the opportunity to spend time with the animals after school or kindergarten, to observe them and also to take care of them.
This point is a very big advantage when it comes to the question ‘gerbils or hamsters as a pet for children?’.
Can gerbils be kept in a child’s room?
Gerbils are very active and agile animals that like to be awake even in the evening and night hours.
Even though the animals should be kept in a terrarium, which basically absorbs sound due to its construction, noises still penetrate outside.
In view of this, keeping gerbils in the children’s room is not recommended.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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