If you’re interested in knowing how much does a gerbil cost, you’ve come to the right place. Gerbil is the best first pet to have for most people. In terms of cost, maintenance, and general care, gerbils are adorable and affordable to adopt or buy.
This article answers every question you have about owning a gerbil. The initial cost, maintenance costs, and general monthly expenditure.
Before buying or adopting any new pet, it’s important to know what you’re going to spend on the new home member. And for a pet as adorable and tiny as a gerbil even though the expenses are not that high or extravagant, it’s always to know what the real cost is.
I won’t bore with an introduction any longer and get right to the point. And that is:
How Much Does A Gerbil Cost?
Where do you plan on buying a gerbil from?
If it’s from a pet store, a gerbil will cost you between 5 to 10 dollars. If it’s from an animal rescue shelter, gerbils generally cost nothing. You can enter any small pet rescue center and adopt a gerbil for free.
The only cost that you might have to pay in a pet rescue center is for medical supplies and/or food. But that’s an ongoing cost that you will have to pay even after buying a gerbil from a pet store.
But wait – what type of breed do you want?
There are two types of gerbils that are most commonly found everywhere. The Mongolian gerbil costs anywhere between 5 to 10 dollars. They are the most affordable and popularly-bought gerbils.
The other one, Fat-Tailed gerbil is slightly expensive and is often found only in pet stores. It’s difficult to find a Fat-Tailed gerbil for adoption since they cost between 20 to 40 dollars.
Moving forward, setting up a house for a gerbil is an important initial cost.
The supplies and set up for both types of gerbils are almost the same.
You will need a proper cage or crate set up, bedding, food supplies, and some toys.
If you’re buying a gerbil for the first time, you should know that they love company. So it’s best to purchase gerbils in pairs. If you do not mind taking care of gerbil babies, you can buy a male and female gerbil. But if you want to avoid accidental births, buy same-sex gerbils.
Gerbils are small pets so it’s easier to take care of two gerbils. Especially when they have each other to keep company. And your gerbil won’t get bored too easily when you’re not around.
The cage or crate to keep a gerbil in should be large enough. This will be your gerbil’s permanent home. So it must be spacious and entertaining. Consider having a customized crate or cage for your gerbil.
A standard gerbil’s crate costs 20 to 60 dollars per cage. It’s spacious enough for a single gerbil to stay in. A custom-made crate, on the other hand, costs 75 to 90 dollars.
The advantage of having a custom-made crate is that you can add tunnels or barriers to keep the crate interesting. Make sure the cage has proper ventilation and airflow. Avoid buying cages with a wire-bottom or grill because a gerbil might get stuck or injured by it.
Midwest Critterville Arcade Hamster Cage| Amazon’s Choice for Best Gerbil Cage
How To Set Up a Gerbil Cage
Go for something fresh and cushiony for your gerbil. Bedding for gerbils is something that takes serious consideration. The material you use for bedding can affect your gerbil’s health.
For example, lots of gerbil owners buy carefresh or aspen as bedding. It’s fluffy, soft, and breathable. And your gerbil won’t develop any skin conditions or respiratory problems because of it.
Never buy cedar or pine bedding for gerbils. It may cause liver damage, breathing difficulties, or other health issues.
Use standard paper towels to build the nest. Gerbils love to burrow and dig around. So fluffy nesting is out of the question. You do not want your gerbil to ingest the bedding. Causing blockage, vomiting, and other health problems.
The average cost of owning gerbil bedding, for example, carefresh costs 5 to 10 dollars. If you want something expensive with odor control, the cost is 15 to 20 dollars. You can buy natural-scented or odorless bedding for a cheap cost in a higher amount.
The cost for bedding mentioned above is for a 45-50 liter bedding package.
A hamster’s wheel is mandatory in a gerbil’s cage. Gerbils need plenty of exercise. They love to run around, burrow, and stay active for the most part of their day. Once their cage is set up, it’s time to introduce some toys lying around their playpen.
This includes tunnel toys, climbing toys, wheel, swing, climbing kits, etc.
Since all these are for tiny rodents, they are completely inexpensive to buy. You can buy a pack of 5 or 7 toys in one for a cheaper price. A large hamster’s wheel that is a must-buy for every gerbil costs around 10 to 15 dollars. Other toys that I mentioned above cost the same price.
Make sure the toys you purchase for your gerbil are chew-friendly. Don’t buy something that is harmful to your gerbil. You don’t want your gerbil to suffer from food blockage or vomiting because of playing with the toys.
Next up is maintaining a proper food diet for your gerbil.
The best thing you feed your gerbil is store-bought commercial gerbil food. Gerbils love sunflower seeds. So you can look for packaged food with sunflower seeds. Having said that, sunflower seeds do not complete a gerbil’s entire nutrition.
They need other kinds of food too. Such as seeds, fruits, vegetables, and grains. A variety of nutrition provides better taste and a balanced diet. Make sure you buy something crunchy, tasty, and delicious for your gerbil.
The cost of which, per pound, should be nothing more than 1-2 dollars.
Buy food that offers vitamins, minerals, carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. Any kind of seeds, especially sunflower seeds, contain fats. So overfeeding a seed-based diet can lead to weight gain.
If you want to feed your gerbil fresh veggies and fruits. You can give them as occasional treats. Carrots, peas, cucumbers, apples, grapes are perfect fresh food treats. You can also feed them whole wheat and plain cheerios are optional treats.
A bowl with clean water is another addition. Make sure you add fresh water to the bowl every few hours. And wash the water bowl itself to get rid of stickiness from the bottom surface of the bowl.
#5. Summing Up
This sums up the initial cost of setup and supplies for your gerbil. Cage, cage supplies, food, bedding, and toys. The total cost of spending on all of these things is not more than 90 to 200 dollars.
You can expect to pay less or more depending upon what brand of food, bedding, toys you buy.
Cost of Medical Expenses
This is an ongoing expense when it comes to taking care of gerbils. You will take your gerbil to the vet as soon as you bring him or her home.
The vet will perform a general exam to make sure your gerbil is in good health. This shouldn’t cost you more than 20 to 30 dollars. Then you include any required vaccinations within the first few weeks. Generally, this is included in the initial medical expenses.
Later on, once your gerbil gets settled into his or her new home. You have annual or monthly health check-ups. Grooming, spaying, neutering, and unexpected medical check-ups.
Gerbils live for 3 to 5 years. And during this time, they are prone to certain sensitivities or health issues. Such as:
Digestive problems like vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and gas. This generally occurs because of improper food or allergies.
If you have more than one gerbil in your home, parasites like lice, fleas, and mites are quite common. Gerbils may also develop bacterial conditions or dental problems. Keeping their bedding and bowls clean is one way to avoid such infections from spreading.
Other more serious health conditions include ringworms, seizures, and respiratory disorders.
To avoid such disasters from occurring, make sure you take your gerbil for an annual checkup. Veterinary costs for gerbils are usually very low. Unless there is an accident or injury, medical expenses are not more than 50 to 100 dollars per year.
This includes dental cleaning, grooming, parasite treatments, and other check-ups. Only for emergency cases, such as accidents, injuries, or diseases does the medical cost go higher than a few hundred dollars.
How Much Does a Gerbil Cost – What You Need to Know Before Buying
Before you make the decision of buying a gerbil, here’s what you need to keep in mind.
1. Always buy in pairs
Gerbils are social animals. And they need proper communication and care. So it’s best to buy gerbils in pairs. You can buy gerbils of the same sex if you want to avoid unwanted breeding. If you do not mind little gerbil pups, and if you are ready to accommodate more space in the house for them. Then you can go ahead and buy a male and female gerbil.
2. Gerbils need plenty of space & exercise
Do not keep a gerbil in a small cage. They need chew toys, climbing toys, wheels, and plenty of extra space. They love to burrow, chew, run around, and hide. So make sure you fill the cage with sawdust, chewable toys, and other playthings.
Since they are social animals, it’s important to understand their body language. Gerbils may also become bored very easily. To keep them stimulated and active, add tunnels and tubes for them to dig around. Introducing new toys can keep them occupied and happy for longer.
3. They rarely fight
Gerbils are not aggressive creatures. But if you do see two gerbils fighting each other, you need to separate them immediately. Usually, two male gerbils will fight with each other. Scratching, biting, thumping aggressively. These are all signs of fighting or confrontation between gerbils.
Gerbils communicate with each other in many ways. But rarely does it happen that two gerbils may kill each other due to fighting. But it’s always safer to keep two fighting gerbils away from each other.
4. Keep the house clean
This includes keeping the gerbil’s cage clean and your home. It’s important to clean your gerbil’s cage once in a week. Whether or not you see gerbil’s poop or pee lying around. It’s necessary to keep the cage clean and odor-free.
If you have gerbilarium in the cage, it’s possible that the poop is hiding under it. Since gerbils have a habit of burrowing, they tend to hide their poop easily.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Do I need to trim the gerbil’s teeth?
A gerbil’s teeth are constantly growing. One way to avoid taking your gerbil to the vet for getting dental treatment for trimming is to buy toys. With something safe to chew on, a gerbil can keep his teeth trimmed and healthy.
Wooden blocks are safe for gerbils to use. Other toys or treats like dog biscuits are safe for gerbils. These things can prevent gerbil’s teeth from growing out of control.
But in case they do, it’s important to take your gerbil to the vet for trimming. If your gerbil is unable to close his mouth completely, this means his teeth need professional trimming. A dental check-up is necessary to avoid injuries.
2. Do gerbils need sand baths?
Yes, gerbils enjoy the occasional sand baths every now and then. This is an inexpensive expenditure. And you can come up with a permanent solution for it.
Purchasing a sand bath online or from a pet store is a good thing to do. Make sure the sand bath aquarium is clean and that you add fresh sand each time. Store-bought sand is affordable and hygienic for gerbils.
It won’t cause any itching or blockage. And a well-crafted sandbox can keep your gerbil occupied and happy for longer. Look for features that keep your sand bath clean and tidy for longer. A wooden sand bathtub for gerbil costs between 20 to 30 dollars.
You can also buy a plastic sand bath box which is even cheaper.
3. What kind of toys do gerbils love?
Gerbils are active even though they are tiny. So they need plenty of distraction even in their crate. Any toy or wheel you buy for your gerbil must be safe. Because gerbils are curious creatures and love to poke around in corners.
They might even injure themselves if the toys you buy have sharp edges. So make sure the toys are safe, gerbil-friendly, and with rounded edges and no sharp sides.
Once you’ve got that in mind, let’s look at all the toys you can buy for a gerbil.
Wheel: Gerbils love wheels. As long as it has a solid surface and wall, your gerbil is safe to run around on one. You do not want to buy a wheel with grills or holes on it. A gerbil’s tail or legs might get stuck on the surface.
A solid, medium-sized wheel is good enough for a gerbil to play with.
Hides: Hides are small cardboard boxes that act as hideouts for gerbils. A hideout house is a fun plaything for a gerbil. Opt for a material that isn’t made of something that a gerbil can easily chew down on.
If you want hides to last for a long time, go for wooden ones. Cardboard will easily diminish and you will have to replace it with a new one after a while.
Chew Toys: Chew toys for gerbils are one of their favorite playthings. A safe cardboard tube, paper towel rolls that gerbils can play with. All these things act as chew toys because gerbils have constantly growing teeth.
You can also buy chewable toys that make a sound when you squeeze them. Chewable toys made from untreated wood are safe and chewable for gerbils. Cholla, driftwood, grapevine. All these are safe alternatives for gerbils.
They won’t cause blockage, lead to injuries or accidents, or make a mess.
For smaller chew toys, you can opt for materials like wicker, plant fiber, or natural grass. These fabrics are good for gerbils to gnaw on. It won’t cause stomach distress. Nor would it lead to any poking or cuts when your gerbil plays a lot with it.
Climbing Toys: One thing gerbils love to do is climb. Wooden houses with different levels on them. Wooden ladders, swings, a birdhouse. All these things are necessary if you have gerbils in your home.
Make sure you do not buy pointy plastic climbing toys that are too high for your gerbil. Since they are used to chewing and burrowing, they should not be able to break down the toy into smaller pieces and ingest them.
Plastic toys or PVC tubes are good if you have an eye on them. Good and safer alternatives include dyed bamboo tubes, tunnels, and ceramic tubes made specifically for rodents to play with.
Digging: Lastly, gerbils love to burrow and dig around. So it’s important to add one section to their cage that is deep for them to dig around in. You can create underground tunnels and tubes for your gerbil. Fill these tubes or tunnels with gerbil-friendly bedding. It should be soft and deep enough for your gerbil to hide in.
4. Why is my gerbil thumping?
This is a common question among new gerbil parents. Gerbils usually thump when they are overly-excited or stressed. If you have two or more gerbils, they may also be communicating with each other.
So what does a gerbil thumping look like?
When your gerbil pounds his hind legs on the ground. Both of them. At the same time. It produces a thumping sound like ‘da-dum-da-dum’.
Usually, when one gerbil starts thumping, if there are others, they will start thumping too. So it’s a sound that becomes louder once your gerbils start thumping together. The intensity or duration of thumping depends upon each gerbil.
It can mean many things for gerbils. It’s a mating ritual sound, a warning sign, or a way of showing excitement or stress in sudden, emergency situations.
5. Do I need to spay/neuter my gerbil?
The cost of spaying or neutering a gerbil is not more than 150 to 350 dollars. This depends on the sex of the gerbil and also the location of the surgery.
If you go to an adoption center, you can get the surgery done at a cheaper cost. But at an animal’s hospital or clinic, the cost is usually higher.
When you have 2 or more gerbils at home, and they are male and female, it’s important to get them neutered or spayed. To avoid paying for this medical expense, you can buy same-sex gerbils.
To stop unwanted breeding, it’s best to get your gerbil spayed. Consult with a licensed professional to do the surgery. Usually, all the medical supplies including post-op care are included in the final cost of surgery.
Final Thoughts – How Much Does A Gerbil Cost?
So what do you make of this accurate and informative article? Do you think you can afford to buy a gerbil right away? It’s best to buy gerbils in pairs because they are social animals. They love to hide, burrow, chew, and run around.
If you’re buying a gerbil for the first time, there’s nothing more adorable than to see two gerbils chasing each other around. So if you’re thinking about bringing home a gerbil, always get two or more.
In western households, gerbils are considered the first pets. Children often grow attached to gerbils and learn compassion whilst taking care of them. They make great pets for children. And the fact that they don’t live as long means that gerbils are a short-time commitment.
Gerbils are fun, loving, and adorable creatures. Handling a gerbil is easier than say a cat or a dog. They are kind, stay healthy, and don’t need much in the way of maintenance. Just make sure you offer them healthy food, clean water, and plenty of toys to play with!
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