What Do Gerbils Eat in Nature? (Detailed Explanation for Owners)

What Do Gerbils Eat in Nature

Are you dying to know what gerbils chow down on in the wild?

I understand, you're fascinated by these tiny, furry creatures and want to know every quirky detail. 😄

Well, guess what?

I've got the secrets you're craving.

Let's dive in!

What Do Gerbils Eat in the Wild?

In the wild, gerbils chow down on a variety of grasses, roots, bulbs, seeds, and leaves. They're not picky eaters; they go for an omnivorous feast. That means they gobble up everything I just mentioned, plus they indulge in grains, fruits, vegetables, and insects.

So, if you want to keep their tummies satisfied while in captivity, make sure to serve them a mix of grains, seeds, nuts, and veggies.

Now let’s delve into their behavior.

Gerbils are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed during daylight hours, busily scuttling around with a purpose.

What Do Gerbils Eat in the Wild?
Gerbils dig different things. To satisfy their natural appetite, give them a mix of stuff like grains, seeds, nuts, and veggies. Scatter some treats around for them to search and have fun in their home.

They're always on the lookout for bugs and love collecting plant goodies like grasses, seeds, grains, specific roots, and even branches laden with fruits or berries.

To trigger their natural patrolling instincts, scatter their preferred treats all over their enclosure.

However, make sure that you regularly clean out any stale stash since these little guys appreciate fresh food!

So, if you're a pet owner, show your gerbils some love by offering them a menu that mirrors what they'd find in the great outdoors.

It's the key to keeping them thriving, content, and entertained. 😊

Main points I'll expand upon further down this article:

  1. Gerbils require a high-quality and balanced diet for optimal health.
  2. Remove stale or hoarded food from their enclosure.
  3. Gerbils obtain most of their water from insects and survive in low-moisture environments.
  4. Corn should be given in small amounts every other day.
  5. Additional protein can come from cooked meat, eggs, and tofu.
  6. Treats should be limited to control weight gain.
  7. Commercial pellet mixes provide necessary nutrients.
  8. Grains and seeds can be added for supplementation.
  9. Regular cleaning of their habitat is essential to remove hoarded food.
  10. Safe fruits and vegetables can be given as snacks, but certain ones should be avoided.

And now, let me discuss the essential nutrients that are crucial for a gerbil's diet!

Gerbil Dietary Needs (Nutrients, Vitamins, and Minerals)

Those who own gerbils should be knowledgeable about certain crucial facts regarding their feeding habits:

  1. Check and remove any old or stored food regularly to keep it fresh and prevent health issues.
  2. Gerbils mainly get their water from insects, so ensure to create a dry environment for them to thrive in.
  3. While corn isn't super nutritious, you can still give them small amounts as an occasional treat.
  4. When choosing gerbil food, go for a mix that has a good balance of carbs, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals - this covers all their dietary needs.
  5. Pellet mixes designed specifically for gerbils usually provide all the necessary nutrients. However, adding grains and seeds like oats, barley, wheat, flaxseed, and pumpkin seeds can bring some extra benefits.
  6. Clean their habitat regularly and remove any food they've hoarded to keep things tidy and prevent spoiling.
  7. For snacks, fresh fruits and veggies are great options. Go with leafy greens, carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries - all safe choices. 🥦
  8. Avoid citrus fruits, grapes, and rhubarb because they're toxic for gerbils.
  9. Finally, ensure they always have access to clean and fresh water. A drinking bottle fitted with a metal sipper tube is best. You can use chlorine-free tap water, bottled drinking water, or tap water that's been sitting out for 24 hours.

Your gerbil will have a healthy and contented life by adhering to these suggestions, which provide a nourishing and balanced diet.

Gerbil Dietary Needs (Nutrients, Vitamins, and Minerals)
For your gerbil's diet, you want a mix that has carbs, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. You might also think about throwing in some oats, barley, wheat, flaxseed, or pumpkin seeds for extra goodness.

Now, you might be wondering what other foods you should avoid when feeding your gerbil.

Let's explore some toxic and unhealthy options and learn how to properly handle these curious little creatures for their longevity and wellbeing...

Gerbil Dietary Do's and Don'ts

Owners should be aware of certain important guidelines for feeding gerbils:

  1. Avoid toxic or unhealthy foods: This includes eggplants, citrus fruits, garlic, onions, wildflowers, cheese, bread, sweet spreads/jams, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol.
  2. No grass from the yard: Keep in mind that grass from the yard can be contaminated with pesticides and fertilizers, so it's best to avoid giving it to your gerbil.
  3. Scatter food loosely: To prevent fights over food, scatter it loosely over the substrate in their enclosure. This allows them to forage naturally without competition.
  4. Offer treats sparingly: While gerbils can enjoy treats like apples, chestnuts, raisins, and prepared popcorn, these should be offered sparingly and prepared correctly to ensure they don't become a staple part of their diet.
  5. Supplement with safe fruits and vegetables: Some owners choose to supplement their gerbil's diet with fruits and vegetables such as carrots, bananas, and grapes. These can provide additional nutrients and variety.
  6. Avoid dangerous or toxic foods: Just like with humans, gerbils should not be given foods like chocolate, caffeine, or alcohol, as these can be harmful to their health.
  7. Handle with care: When interacting with gerbils, handle them gently to avoid causing stress or injury. Good hygiene is also critical to prevent the spread of bacteria.
  8. Prevent interactions with other animals: Gerbils should be kept away from cats and dogs to avoid potential harm. They should also be protected from dietary issues, such as accidentally ingesting toxic foods meant for other pets.

The well-being and lifespan of your gerbil can be secured by adhering to these guidelines of things to do and things to avoid.

Gerbil Dietary Do's and Don'ts
Gerbils in the wild are precise foragers, so scatter their grub loosely to imitate their natural groove. A few treats like apples and chestnuts won't hurt, but be stingy with 'em. Stay away from poisonous munchies (yes, cheese too!) and never share grass or snacks our pals can eat.

Note: If you're curious about whether it's safe to feed gerbils berries, check out my article on Can Gerbils Eat Berries. You'll find all the information you need!

Optimal Commercial Diet Choices for Gerbils

Natural Diet ComponentsOptimal Commercial Diet Choices for Gerbils
Seeds and NutsLook for pellet mixes that contain a variety of seeds and nuts, such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and almonds. These provide essential fats and proteins for gerbils.
Fresh VegetablesOpt for pellet mixes that include dried vegetables like carrots, peas, and spinach. These vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals for gerbils.
Grasses and HayChoose pellet mixes that contain hay and dried grasses. These help to provide the necessary fiber for digestive health.
Insects and BugsSome pellet mixes include dried insects and bugs like mealworms. These are a good source of protein for gerbils.
FruitsLook for pellet mixes that incorporate dried fruits in small amounts. Fruits like apples and berries provide additional vitamins and natural sugars to the diet.
Grains and CerealsOpt for pellet mixes that contain grains and cereals like oats and barley. These carbohydrates provide energy for gerbils.
Natural HerbsSome pellet mixes include dried herbs like parsley and dandelion. These herbs can contribute to a more varied and enjoyable diet for gerbils.

You should look for specialized pellet mixes made specifically for gerbils, as these offer the necessary nutrients for their optimal health.

You must find a mix that meets all requirements.

The main components of gerbil food are nuts, seeds, corn flakes, and dried vegetables, however, there is more to it.

Your gerbils require a diverse diet that includes beans, seeds, grains, and dried vegetables in order to imitate their natural eating habits.

Optimal Commercial Diet Choices for Gerbils
You gotta pick the right grub for your gerbils, buddy. Get those special pellet mixes with nuts, seeds, corn flakes, and dried veggies. Take it slow, introduce new stuff over a week or so, swapping out a bit at a time till their bowl's full of the fresh batch. No sugary or fake-colored junk, alright?

Don't rush into changing their diet abruptly; instead, introduce new food gradually, allowing them time to adjust, similar to introducing a new friend.

Incorporate small portions of the nutritious alternatives as replacements for their old food and give them 7-10 days to become accustomed to the change.

Repeat this process until their bowl is solely filled with the new food.

When purchasing food, pay attention to nutrition labels and avoid products high in sugars or artificial colors, as these are not suitable for gerbils.

The key to maintaining a healthy diet for your gerbils lies in providing variety and a mix that is balanced nutritionally.

And if you're looking to add some protein options to your gerbils' diet, I have a few suggestions for you!

Do Gerbils Eat Insects?

While gerbils can consume small insects, such as mealworms, crickets, flies, beetles, or grasshoppers, there are some important things you need to know:

  1. Exercise caution when feeding insects to gerbils to ensure they are safe and disease-free.
  2. Insects can supplement a gerbil's diet with protein, but it is not necessary for their survival.
  3. Offer a variety of different insects to provide optimal health and variety in their diet.
  4. Make sure the insects are clean, disease-free, and suitable for pet consumption.
  5. Choose insects specifically intended for pets to eat to avoid potential contact with poisons or contaminants from wild bugs.
  6. Feeding one or two mealworms or crickets per day is usually sufficient, while larger insects should be given sparingly.
  7. Feeding live insects in a separate enclosure can provide enrichment and exercise for gerbils.
  8. If your gerbil doesn't enjoy eating insects, there are pre-made food mixes available that contain animal protein.

In the wild, gerbils have a preference for insects such as flies, worms, crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, and insect larvae.

But what about their dental health?

How can you ensure that your gerbil's teeth stay strong and healthy?

Well, let me tell you, it's not just about their natural diet!

Promoting Dental Health and Natural Behavior

To keep your gerbils' dental health in top shape and ensure they engage in their natural behavior, provide them with an assortment of safe chewing alternatives.

Promoting Dental Health and Natural Behavior
To give gerbils what they eat in the wild, you can give them chew toys made of cardboard or coconut shells. But don't stop there! Gerbils go crazy for branches from fruit trees, seagrass toys, and yes, even banana leaves! When you keep them busy doing what they naturally do, it not only makes them happy but also keeps their teeth strong and their bodies healthy.

This may entail cardboard, soft paper, wooden toys, fruit tree branches, coconut shells, hay bars, pumice stone, banana leaves, and seagrass playthings.

By offering this smorgasbord of options, you not only mimic the gerbils' original diet but also ward off boredom and keep them thoroughly entertained.

Engaging these furry critters with varied toys elevates their in essence well-being, which is a significant aspect to consider.

And that's all for today, folks!

Before you leave, may I ask you something? Did my blog post turn out to be helpful for you? If it did, I would be extremely grateful if you could share it with your loved ones. You can instantly share it by simply clicking on any of the social media sharing icons. Thank you so much!

Until next time,

-Alex Amber

Alex Amber

Hi there! I'm Alex, and this is my blog, Gerbil 101. As you've probably guessed by now, this is the go-to blog for all things gerbil, covering topics from gerbil care to food, drink, health, behavior, and so much more. I truly hope you find my care guides useful, as I put a lot of time into writing them!