The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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Gerbils are cute little animals that many people keep as pets. You might get a gerbil for your household if you feel like it’d be fun for your kids.
These little animals are great pets, but they aren’t really meant to be held. This means that you’ll want to give them to older children or ensure that adults supervise interactions with gerbils.
Those who are new to caring for gerbils might be wondering how they stay clean. Do you give them baths or are gerbils not supposed to get wet?
Keep reading to get more information about gerbils and whether they can get wet or not. You’ll feel much more prepared to care for your pet gerbil once you have all of the details.
Gerbils Aren’t Supposed to Get Wet
If you’re thinking about giving your gerbil a bath, then you shouldn’t do that. Gerbils are not supposed to get wet because it could be very dangerous for them.
You see, if a gerbil was to get wet, it would wind up getting very cold. This is a problem due to how small the gerbils are.
A gerbil that gets wet could easily experience hypothermia if you aren’t careful. This is why it’s generally recommended to avoid giving gerbils baths.
You might be wondering what you’re supposed to do if a gerbil gets dirty then. If a gerbil is particularly messy, then would it be okay to give it a bath?
While it isn’t generally recommended to bathe gerbils, there could be certain situations where it will be necessary. If you must bathe a gerbil, then you’ll need to thoroughly dry it after you’re done to keep it safe.
You’ll also want to take steps to keep the gerbil warm so that it doesn’t experience hypothermia. Always be careful not to let your gerbils stay wet due to how dangerous it can be for them.
Gerbils Are Meant to Bathe in Sand
Knowing that you aren’t supposed to give gerbils water baths might make you think that these animals will be a bit dirty. This isn’t necessarily the case because gerbils can keep clean by using a sand bath.
Many small animals will like having sand baths in their enclosures. This is essentially a little pit of sand that your gerbil will be able to roll around in.
The gerbil will be able to get itself clean by rolling around in the sand. The coarse sand will help to rub dirt and other types of debris off of its body.
When the gerbil is done with its sand bath, it’ll simply shake the sand off. This will look a little bit like a dog shaking water off of its body after getting wet.
Sand baths are very easy to get set up in gerbil enclosures. You’ll just need to change the sand out every so often to keep things in good shape.
In most situations, gerbils will be able to keep themselves clean using sand baths. So long as you provide the gerbils with what they need, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to worry about them getting overly dirty or stinky.
It’s imperative to have sand bath areas for your gerbil. A gerbil that doesn’t have access to a sand bath might have poop and food debris get stuck to its fur.
It also prevents the gerbil’s fur from accumulating too much excess oil. Overall, your gerbil is going to be much healthier if you ensure that it has a proper sand bath.
How to Set up a Sand Bath
Setting up a sand bath is going to be decidedly simple. You just need to buy a small container that will hold the sand.
You want something that will hold enough sand so that your gerbil will be able to roll around without falling out of the sand bath. If you’re caring for multiple gerbils, then you might wish to make the sand bath area a little larger.
Many people use dog bowls because they make good sand baths. You could also use glass jars or even plastic food storage containers.
If you want to get something that is specifically meant to be a sand bath, then you can do that, too. Pet stores sell small animal baths that are meant to be placed in enclosures with gerbils.
Once you’ve picked out an appropriate container, it’ll be time to buy the sand. You can get the sand that you need for sand baths from just about any pet store, and you can also purchase it online.
Getting the right stuff to keep the sand bath clean is crucial. It’ll be necessary to use a disinfectant spray or antibacterial soap so that the sand bath itself doesn’t become contaminated.
Eventually, when the sand gets too dirty, you’re going to want to go ahead and replace it. Just keep an eye on things and you should be able to tell when it’s time.
Tips for Cleaning Gerbil Sand Baths
Cleaning the gerbil sand baths isn’t too difficult when you know what you’re doing. You want to remove the sand from the sand bath and place it into a separate container.
Next, you’re going to soak the sand bath container in warm water. Scrub it using a sponge or some type of toothbrush.
You can use disinfectant for this as mentioned above. Rinse the bath after you’re done so that you can remove any traces of the disinfectant.
Let the sand bath dry by placing it somewhere that has good airflow. You could also dry it with a safe lint-free towel.
Next, you’ll want to filter the sand using a fine-mesh strainer. This removes any dirt and gives you a chance to discard sand that has clumped up.
You don’t actually wash the sand or anything, but you do need to sift it. Some will simply choose to replace the sand each time they wash the sand bath.
Gerbils Also Groom Themselves with Their Tongues
Another interesting thing to know is that gerbils also groom themselves with their tongues. You might notice your gerbil grooming itself and using its tongue to clean itself up a bit from time to time.
If you’re caring for multiple gerbils, then you might notice different grooming habits. Sometimes you might spot two gerbils grooming each other.
This is seen as a sign of trust between two gerbils. When gerbils groom each other, it’s a sign that they get along very well.
Seeing a gerbil grooming itself is also a good sign that it’s happy where it is. If you’re seeing the gerbils groom themselves, then you know that you’re doing a good job of keeping them content as a pet owner.
Now that you know that gerbils aren’t meant to get wet, it’ll be easier to take the right precautions. Don’t bathe your gerbil in water unless there is some unusual circumstance that requires you to do so.
Gerbils can experience hypothermia if they get wet. You’ll want to keep your gerbil safe, and this means avoiding water baths.
Your gerbil will be able to stay clean by using a sand bath. It’s easy to set one up in a gerbil’s enclosure.
The gerbil will also groom itself from time to time using its tongue. You shouldn’t have to worry about your gerbil getting dirty so long as you’re providing it with what it needs.