Gerbil Care Index
Choosing a healthy gerbil
What to look for when choosing a gerbil or jird, incorporating a weekly health check.
The Clickable Gerbil Quick Health Check guide
Use the clickable gerbil for a quick and easy health check, just click on the part of the gerbil you want to know about.
Scent gland tumours, other tumours and cysts
Both male and female gerbils possess a scent gland, which is a hairless, tan/skin coloured, oval patch of skin that is located in the central belly/abdominal region along the mid-ventral line of the gerbil. The male scent gland is slightly larger and he uses it more often, usually to mark his territory. A common problem with elderly gerbils is tumours of the scent gland and they most often occur in elderly males, however they are not unknown in females...
First Aid for Gerbils and Jirds
The problem facing anyone wanting to put together a basic first aid kit is that it is impossible to predict exactly what medecines or other equipment will be needed. After all you can't forsee what illnesses or accidents are going to occur. Invariably you will find that animals, quite inconsiderately, have an uncanny knack of falling ill or injuring themselves on a Sunday or else late at night, when it is difficult to enlist the services of a Vet. This is when a first aid kit can prove invaluable...
Cannibalism in Small Animals
I am often asked by people, Why has my animal eaten its litter?, I think this is so prominent in their mind because of the severity of the act - it shows the animal not as a fluffy pet but as the wild *beast* it is. It is unlikely that we will be able to give a certain diagnosis for the cannibalism but we can suggest reasons for it to better understand why they do it...
When deciding on accommodation for your gerbils it would be wise to remember that in the wild, Mongolian gerbils are inveterate burrowers and live in complex burrow systems that may stretch for several metres. They are not solitary creatures but live in fairly large communities. As well as running and burrowing, the gerbil also likes to stand up to view his environment. In this fully erect posture a gerbil may be 12 cms or more in height. Therefore when choosing and purchasing suitable accommodation we should bear these facts in mind...
The gerbil's field of vision is wide and is mainly due to the positioning of their eyes on the head. A human's field of vision is narrower than this because the eyes are positioned on the front of the head, which is dissimilar to that of the gerbil. The human's field of vision is around 180 degrees of a circle if measured laterally i.e. from side to side of the head. A gerbil's view of the world is much higher than this, being around 215 degrees. So the gerbil can see much more of its world at any given moment...
Red tears - Understanding Porphyrins
Many people ask why the gerbil occasionally has red tears around the eyes, and are often alarmed when they see these thinking there is blood in the tears. This isn't the case, and the red colouring is due to an organic compound known as porphyrin. Porphyrin is secreted by a horseshoe shaped gland called the Harderian gland, which is located behind the gerbils eyeball in the orbit...