Mar 30 2015

March 2015′s Animal Of The Month – Gerbils

March is just about over and it’s time to say good-bye to the gerbil who was our Animal of the Month.  If you were following us on Twitter @ExoticPetVets, you will have seen our tweets about these friendly and engaging animals. Here’s a summary if you missed any of our tweets. Did you know?:

  • There are about 110 different gerbil species, but a Mongolian species (Meriones unguiculatus) is the most common pet.
  • In the wild, gerbils live in arid parts of Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and were once referred to as “desert rats.”
  • Importing gerbils is banned in New Zealand, Australia, California and Hawaii on concerns they threaten local ecosystems.
  • Gerbils typically have light-coloured bellies, but their coats have many colours, including brown, black, white and grey.
  • The lifespan of a gerbil is about 3-5 years.
  • Gerbils are good family pets if socialized from a young age.
  • Gerbils are territorial, but can live in pairs peacefully if they’re introduced at a young age and have enough space.
  • Male and female gerbils can form bonded pairs before eight weeks of age. Once they’re bonded, they shouldn’t be separated.
  • Gerbils engage in a behaviour called foot-drumming.
  • Gerbils will foot-drum to communicate with each other or when they’re scared or excited.
  • Gerbils don’t shed very much and don’t appear to be pets that trigger allergic reactions in people.
  • Gerbils are clean and because they originate from the desert, they don’t drink or urinate as much as other rodents.
  • Gerbils are friendly, active and curious and can be trained to sit on your shoulder.
  • Gerbils can be a challenge to hold as they tend to scamper about.
  • Never pick up gerbils by the tail as it could break or deglove, meaning the fur and skin are torn off the tail.
  • This degloving injury (a.k.a. a tail slip) is an adaptation of the gerbils’ anatomy that helps them escape from predators.
  • To pick up gerbils safely, use two hands to scoop them up from underneath.
  • Gerbils are hardy and disease-resistant animals, but should see a vet for a check-up once or twice a year.
  • Gerbils are unique among rodents as they’re the only ones who can have epileptic seizures.
  • A gerbil’s epileptic seizures are believed to be triggered by fright or by blowing in the gerbil’s face.

 

lracadmin | Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Location Hours
Monday9:00am – 7:00pm
Tuesday9:00am – 7:00pm
Wednesday9:00am – 7:00pm
Thursday9:00am – 7:00pm
Friday9:00am – 7:00pm
Saturday9:00am – 2:00pm
SundayClosed

By Appointment Only - Appointments start at 10 a.m. Drop offs and pick ups as of 8 a.m. For Emergencies after hours call: The Veterinary Emergency Clinic - 416-920-2002. *The doctors at the Veterinary Emergency Clinic may not always have the same intimate knowledge of, or comfort level in, dealing with certain species of animals as we do at The Links Road Animal & Bird Clinic. But they will always be honest with you and do the best they can to get your pet through an emergency.