Gerbil features and habitat
Choosing a pet people often stop near the cells with gerbils . These rodents have a wonderful character. They are clean, easily tamed, trainable and look very cute.
Their curiosity and friendliness will delight you daily. Just by looking at the photo of the gerbil , all doubts about the decision to have her as a pet disappear.
To date, there are more than 100 species of these rodents. It is worth noting that only one of them was tamed. This is a Mongolian gerbil .
In their natural environment, these mice live in families. Therefore, if you decide to start this crumbs at home, you need to take a couple of individuals. Solitary existence may adversely affect her health.
The size of a gerbil mouse is from 5 to 20 cm. It weighs from 15 to 200 grams. The main feature is the tail. The entire length is covered with a fluff, and the tip is decorated with a tassel. Color coat — sand.
But thanks to the selective breeding, the gerbil today has many different colors. In the natural environment, the wool of this mouse is usually brown-sand color, which helps it to merge with the background around it.
The standard number of teeth in a gerbil is 16. Although the dental system is different in different species of these rodents. So some teeth have roots, while others have no roots.
Nature has taken care of protecting these little creatures. They, of course, cannot stand up for themselves in front of stronger animals, but they are able to foresee their meeting.
In this they will be helped by sharp eyesight, sensitive hearing, quick reaction and speed. Thanks to the elongated hind legs, these “fluffy” can move very quickly.
This animal lives in deserts and semi-desert areas. It can be found in Africa , Central Asia, India , Iran, Mongolia and parts of China . The gerbil’s habitat also covers some of the Mediterranean islands right up to Transbaikalia itself.
The gerbil gives its preference to areas with a clay, crushed stone and sandy soil structure, which is not devoid of vegetation. The largest population of these rodents is in Turkmenistan, on one hectare you can find about a thousand of their burrows.
Character and way of life
The houses of these rodents are built in the form of minks, or rather, a system consisting of a set of moves. The depth of one mink can reach 3 m. Gerbils live in colonies, so the construction of a mink house can be engaged in several generations in a row. The result of such a construction could be a labyrinth of moves with a length of 300 m.
Now let’s talk about the home for home gerbil . Such pets are not whimsical in care and living conditions. House animal is better to choose a spacious flooring of hay and straw. The thickness of this layer should be 15-20 cm, so that the mouse had the opportunity to dig.
Rodents are very thrifty. Even with the maintenance of gerbils in captivity, they still have a tendency to pull hay, grass and food into piles. Therefore, if the cell is lattice, choose it with a high pallet, otherwise the entire flooring will be scattered around the house. It is undesirable to choose a home for the animal in several floors, falling, he may get injured.
Such pets lead an active lifestyle. In order to please them, as well as to find the use of their energy, it is worthwhile to put a running wheel. Choose a wheel without crossbars, as during jog the gerbil’s tail can get between them.
These wheels are considered traumatic for mice . Your choice is better to stop on plastic or metal wheels with a mesh instead of crossbars. Another pleasure that will delight your pet, can be a walking ball.
In it, the gerbil of the house will be able to move around the obstacles. During such absenteeism, the whole body of the “little bully” is in tension, so the time of the raids should not exceed 20 minutes. It is desirable that in the cage present snags, wooden ladders or tunnels. They will make staying in a cage more interesting and rich.
Gerbils do not like to hide in the corners. They are always in sight and easy to get in touch with a person: they come to the call and safely take food from their hands.
When capturing or transplanting these babies, you need to take them by the tail, slightly lifting up to insert the sleeve of your other hand. It is very important during these actions not to take the gerbil mouse by the middle or the tip of the mouse .
The gerbil mouse includes: bread, legumes, hay, and green grass. From trees they like willows, poplars and lindens. If we talk about cereal feed, the favorite delicacy is the seeds of grains germinated or soaked in water. They will not refuse from beets, carrots, berries and sunflower.
The homemade gerbil menu can be diversified with cottage cheese, boiled egg, meal worms , and locust insects . The young are ready to try the most different food, even sausages. Do not forget about mineral dressing. At home, it can be chalk, eggshell or glycerophosphate.
Extreme living conditions have taught gerbils to be content with little. They do not need water. For the life of this mouse enough moisture derived from plants and fruits. In the usual habitat, gerbils feed on vegetation that is within their reach. Like all rodents, they store food for the winter.
Camel prickles, branches of various desert plants gather in their “pantries”. If there is not enough food, the gerbils will emigrate to other areas. In search of food, they settle down new places or adapt other people’s holes for their own living.
Gerbil reproduction and Lifespan
The gerbil breeding period is rather long. It begins in early spring and ends in late autumn. One female brings about 5 litters per season. Each of them consists of 4-5 kids. Pregnancy lasts 23 days.
Eyes and ears of mice open at 2 weeks after birth. After 12 days they will be able to eat on their own. Young gerbils become mature individuals after 2 months. The entire colony cares for the offspring together, even the males.
The behavior of the Mongolian gerbils during the breeding period is quite interesting. They create colonies that consist of 1 male, 1-3 females and their immature offspring. These flocks guard their territory.
Sometimes demonstration fights are held between representatives of this species. It is for this reason that you should not keep more than 2 representatives of different sexes in one cell.
In nature, gerbils do not live long, only 3-4 months . At home, gerbil can live for 3-4 years. Your pet’s lifespan depends on caring for it.