Gerbils, despite being part of the rodents family are the cleanest among the clan with a very minimal odor. It’s because their kidneys excrete the least of waste.
They are a very sociable animal although their olfactory denotes a high sense of clanship. They’re also naturally curious that they could navigate through a maze. Amazing, right?
Their size of about 4-5 inches does not necessarily hinder them from being absolutely active and athletic. A male gerbil is called a hob while the female is called a jill. Their babies are called kits.
Overview of the Cost of Gerbils
This article navigates on the entire package of cost for having gerbil pets that can go as far as shelter, food and water consumption, transportation, hygiene, medical and even toys.
The possible costs of the actual gerbil are of course examined, as well as other factors such as legal issues with regards to owning a gerbil. Watch out for some essential tips as well.
One Time Expenses for Having a Gerbil
Gerbils for sale are available at pet shops, humane societies and rescue groups, private breeders, or from friends who need new homes for their baby gerbils.
Gerbil prices may range from $5-12 depending on the supplier. However, consider getting your gerbils from a reputable private breeder.
This is because gerbils are unlikely to be a source of money-making since there is not much in it, so private breeders usually grow them out of sheer affection. And from there, you’ll have your well-loved gerbil.
Petsmart.com sells gerbils at $11.99 each both for male and female at one size.
If you have already decided to buy a gerbil, make sure you have also considered other possible costs such as the following:
- Shelter Costs
A proper cage should have been already prepared the moment you bring your gerbil home. It should fit depending on the number of gerbils you are planning to live with.
The American Gerbil Society suggests that a ratio of gerbils to aquarium size should be observed. For starters, at least 10-20 gallon tank should be allocated to every two gerbils and 5 additional tanks for every additional gerbil.
Since it is natural for gerbils to dig, burrow, chew, and climb; the best habitat for them would be a glass tank instead of a cage. The commercial price of this ranges from $58.83 – $95.77. Make sure it has a good ventilation, too.
There are also second-hand glass tanks available online for a cheaper price ranging from $27.32-$40.98. But if you happen to have an existing fish aquarium, it would be perfect for some modification.
Do not be deceived by commercial tanks that are specially built for hamsters, rats or mouse but are also sold for gerbils.
For beddings, although gerbils can adapt to any environments they are set in, there are materials that may harm them still.
Cedar or pine wood shaving, for one, contains phenol that can cause respiratory and eye infections, liver damage, allergic reactions, and many other health problems.
Experts recommend Aspen, Corn Cob, or Carefresh that can be bought at prices ranging from $8.15 to $18.99.
For a cheaper option, you can make DIY bedding out of shredded tissue paper. Just make sure the paper has no prints on it.
Fill the tank 1/3 of the bedding if not for breeding while 2 inches for breeding gerbils.
Do not lose an eye on your gerbils, just in case they show any adverse reactions from the bedding materials. If so, consider other materials suitable for them.
- Transporting Cost
For a notorious master escape artist like gerbils, it is important to prepare a carry case that can withstand all its schemes.
A carry case with a size of 5.5-inch x 8-inch x 5.1 inches would be good enough and may cost $15.99 along with a travel water bottle. Make sure the case is placed properly in a car if a drive is necessary.
- License and Permits
No matter how cute these creatures are, you’d be surprised that there are still areas restricting their ownership.
If you live in California and Hawaii, you cannot legally own gerbils. This is due to the threat of ecological dysfunction posed by gerbils in a climate that’s similar to their natural habitat such as these two states.
Moreover, gerbils are also banned internationally in New Zealand and in Australia.
Gerbils and Freebies
One of the perks when you purchase your gerbil from a reputable private breeder is that you get to meet the parents from which your new pet comes from.
The experienced breeder would likely suggest proper housing, which brands of food to feed and other essentials beneficial for the pet.
Pet shops may quickly provide cardboard boxes right upon purchase knowing how active gerbils could be.
Meanwhile, online websites marketing gerbils for sale often come with accessories such as glass tank, toys, etc.
Notably, a $70.77 worth of brand new gerbilarium from petsathome.com already comes with a metal ladder, a platform, and a bowl.
Recurring Cost of Owning a Gerbil
- Food Costs
A significant fact to note is that gerbils do not hibernate, thus, constant food supply is a downright necessity even during winter. Not to mention, all the activities they could always be up to.
Gerbils are herbivores by nature. They like to nibble at seeds (e.g. sunflower seeds), vegetables and fruits.
Therefore, it is important to feed them food that best support their natural instinct. Gerbil foods that are made from high-quality ingredients (seeds, grains, pellets, etc.) cost from $8.99 to $15.99. Weight varies from 2 pounds to 4 pounds.
Food and chlorine-free water must be available to them day and night. Please note that gerbils should still be fed with fresh foods along with the commercial foods.
- Hygiene Costs
Gerbils are not much of a mess maker. Nevertheless, bacteria are a serious threat to them. Thus, periodical clean-up is necessary.
Avoid using ammonia-based products as they could alter your gerbil’s health even after being washed off. All you need is a mild soap that may cost $1.48 and water.
A reusable microfiber towel that costs around $4.79 would do good enough to dry and wipe the whole gerbilarium.
General clean-up of gerbilarium (food and water dish, bedding, glass, toys, etc.) should be done at least once a week.
As for the gerbils, you may clean them using a sand bath instead of water bath that can cost from $5.47 to $13.19 along with a grooming kit that can cost $3.04.
Always give your gerbils a daily check-up for any signs and symptoms of possible diseases.
- Medical Costs
Gerbils, at most unwanted times, may also fall ill just like any pet is. Medical costs should be considered upon having them.
A vet visit would usually cost around $30 and can even be higher depending on your geographical location, your choice of veterinarian or clinic.
Gerbils are typically well-conditioned animals, and with a proper care are unlikely to get ill. It is always better to bank on their maintained all-around health no matter what the cost than having them sick.
Providing your gerbils with stuff that gives them a mental and physical exercise is important for their well-being.
First and foremost, however, toys must be safe for them. Toys must not have holes and cuts that might have their head stuck or plastic that they could easily chew and swallow.
Wheels that may cost around $7.99 are always a good entertainment for your gerbils to shed their energy on.
A piece of an untreated wood block would be best for their ever-growing teeth that can cost $4.63. This toy is best for their teeth that just love to gnaw and gnaw.
Factors Affecting Gerbil’s Price
Gerbil’s prices are mainly affected by which supplier you purchased your gerbil from.
Pet shops normally market them at a higher price than the others while online websites are usually cheaper considering the inclusions of freebies.
Meanwhile, prices from private breeders vary from one breeder to another but are downright negotiable. The animal shelters’ prices, however, are indeed the least price possible among all the gerbil suppliers.
Tips in Buying a Gerbil
- The most vital is buying your gerbils from a reputable seller. Look for reviews and the gerbils must be tested to be free of disease or any illness.
- Consider buying more than one gerbil. The rule of thumb is a pair of the same sex (unless intended for breeding). Choose a pair wherein both are comfortable with each other.
- Be sure of your gerbils’ sex as it can be very tricky. Misinformation of their sex can lead to complicated situations.
- If you opt to buy your gerbil from an online seller, make sure to see the pet in person instead of having it shipped to you.
- Lastly, do not buy a gerbil out of sheer impulse just because you find them cute and adorable. Make sure you take the responsibilities of raising them properly.
Just like what Michael Morpurgo said, “Animals are sentient, intelligent, perceptive, funny and entertaining. We owe them a duty of care as we do to children.”