The classic keeping of a gerbil usually takes place in a terrarium inside your home.
But: Could you theoretically keep gerbils in the garden?
In this article we will tell you whether it is at all possible to keep a gerbil outside and, if so, what you should keep in mind.
Keeping gerbils outside – is that possible?
Yes, gerbils can be kept outside under certain conditions.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind to protect your pet from possible harm.
Always keep in mind that gerbils are much faster than you and due to their instinct it is difficult to catch them once they have escaped from you – which can have fatal consequences in unsecured terrain!
Can gerbils survive in the wild?
Basically, gerbils can survive outdoors, as long as you keep them in a species-appropriate manner and make sure to secure the environment well so that the animals cannot escape.
If an animal escapes, its chances of survival are not very good.
On the one hand, this is due to the fact that gerbils live in groups and depend on their conspecifics. On the other hand, the animals have very special demands on their food, which they probably cannot fulfill in nature – so it may well happen that the animal starves to death.
Also predators like cats make the survival of escaped animals more difficult.
If there is no possibility for your gerbil to retreat into a cave or tunnel when it gets cold and uncomfortable, the animal may simply freeze to death.
Therefore, in your outdoor enclosure, you should make sure that the animals can burrow in at will and thus protect themselves.
It is clear that gerbils can be kept in the garden, but in the wild in our latitudes they would most likely only survive for a short time.
Gerbils can get very long and thin, which is why their ability to escape is often underestimated. The animals are also excellent jumpers and can jump up to one meter high from a standing position. For this reason, it is recommended that you install extra fine mesh wire with the beginning ‘buried’ deep in the soil to prevent your gerbils from escaping.
Can gerbils be kept outside permanently?
Keeping gerbils outdoors permanently is not recommended because the gerbil is a temperature-sensitive species.
This means that summer temperatures may be too hot and winter temperatures too cold for them.
Generally, indoor-only housing is best for these animals.
If you still want to allow your gerbils to have some fun and play in your yard, this should only be done in good weather and temperatures around 20°C.
Especially the spring months are ideal for this.
Keep in mind, however, that an outdoor enclosure must also be well littered to allow tunneling. In addition, your outdoor enclosure should have a sand bath, nail material, hay, water and fresh food so that your animals can really feel comfortable here.
Play safely with a gerbil outdoors
Make sure that you always carefully close the door to the outdoor enclosure.
Also, be careful not to leave any items in the enclosure with your animals. Water bottles or other plastic objects are likely to be gnawed on and can cause major health problems.
Also, do not simply lift your gerbil out of the enclosure in the open, as the animal may squirm out of your hand and run away.
In general, you should only run your gerbils in an enclosure that is 100% secure and check it every day for any damage to ensure maximum safety for your animals.
Attention: Never let your gerbil run free in the garden. Not even if it is a very trusting animal!
Tip: gerbil free run in hamster ball
A great way to let the gerbil run in the garden is to use a hamster ball. Here it can move freely, but not squeeze through small cracks and gaps.
However, do not leave your gerbil in such a hamster ball for too long, because food intake is very difficult here, and water intake is not possible at all!
Also their nail instinct can the animals so no longer live out.
For a short period of about 30 minutes, the hamster ball is a good way to give your Gerbil a safe free run. By the way, this also applies if you want to let your animal run in the apartment and prevent the gerbil from gnawing cables, etc.!
Help! My gerbil is gone – what now?
If you come to your gerbil enclosure and find out that not all animals are there where they belong, the first shock is big!
After the initial shock has subsided, the question naturally arises: What should I do now?
In the first instance, search the whole enclosure thoroughly, including the hutches, hay nests and so on.
In most cases you will be able to find your animal in the enclosure.
If the animal cannot be found despite an intensive search, you should check the enclosure for loopholes through which your gerbil could have escaped. Be sure to close the hole you find so that your other animals are safe.
The big advantage is that gerbils are very territorial. In addition, they do not like to be alone and actively seek proximity to their conspecifics.
As a rule, the animals do not move far away from their group voluntarily. Therefore, your chances are good that you can find the runaway animal in the immediate vicinity.
Look for bumps, holes, and gnaw marks as you search. This will make it easier for you to see where your gerbil has been and pick up the scent.
Gerbil spotted? Then proceed like this…
Should you be able to discover your gerbil, a tactical approach is required.
Don’t try to jump on your pet and grab it – this will trigger the animal’s flight instinct and it will rush away in panic.
Therefore, rather try to lure the gerbil with its favorite food onto your hand, a shovel or into a transport box, in order to be able to catch the animal safely and without stress.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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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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