By Julie Campbell
Gerbils love to play. They chew, gnaw, dig, tear, and run throughout every waking moment of their days. To help them to get the most enjoyment out of this time, and to stop them from attacking their cages from a lack of â€œappropriateâ€ things to chew, it is important that you provide them with toys.
Gerbil toys can consist of just about anything. They will enjoy playing with almost any item you place in their cages. Traditionally, gerbil keepers have used toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes as home made gerbil toys. The glue on the cardboard is animal or vegetable based, so it wonâ€™t hurt your gerbil if any is ingested.
Though your gerbil will rarely tire of these same gifts day after day, they will be extremely excited when you give them something a bit different. The greater the variety of toys you share with your gerbil, the more fun they will have, and the more fun they will be for you to watch. Lots of toys make sure that your gerbil is never bored, and will reduce the chance of your gerbil becoming overweight from inactivity.
Giving gerbils different toys doesnâ€™t necessarily mean that you need to go to the pet store and buy something every time your gerbil needs something to chew. That can be rather expensive over time, and it truly is unnecessary when it comes to day-to-day toys. Instead, you can use the same materials youâ€™d usually use for gerbil toys â€“ for example toilet paper tubes, and alter them to make them a bit more fun.
For one thing, you can partially bury the tubs under the gerbilâ€™s litter to create a system of tunnels that are fun and exciting to exploreâ€¦and destroy! Be creative when you do this, connecting multiple rolls either end-to-end, or by cutting a hole in the side of one, and sliding the tip of another one into the hole. Multiple entrances and exits make for great adventures and hours of investigation.
Another trick for paper towel tubes and toilet paper tubes is to stuff them full of clean paper towels or uncolored tissue paper. This will give your gerbil lots of fun chewing and ripping.
To make sure that your gerbilâ€™s teeth are well maintained, give him or her lots of harder things to chew as well. This can include wood and pumice stone chews from the pet store, or any wood chews you can make yourself. Make sure that the wood youâ€™re using is untreated. One easy way to obtain untreated wood of the perfect size is to buy a bag of stir sticks (intended for coffee) from the local dollar store. You can either give them to your gerbil one at a time, or in bunches.
The trick with gerbil toys is to make sure that theyâ€™re safe, and to make sure that youâ€™re not overcrowding your gerbilâ€™s cage. One or two toys is a lot of fun, but too many toys leaves little room for your gerbil to maneuver around and may cause him or her to be injured accidentally.
Julie Campbell is a gerbil owner and enthusiast, and has gained a great deal of expertise through her gerbil keeping experience and extensive research. For more information about keeping gerbils, gerbil care, and information about gerbil products, visit her website at www.gerbil.5u.com.
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