Hamsters | Gerbils

Wild hamsters tend to live on their own rather than in groups. They are not social by nature and so, apart from breeding purposes, it is best to house them on their own. A metal cage will be strong enough to withstand the onslaught from a hamster’s teeth, and they will burrow into the floor of their cage, so a deep layer of bedding material is essential. Hamsters need fruits, especially apple, in their diet, and studies have suggested that hamsters fed on a dried diet have smaller litters.

An exercise wheel is a great idea for these active rodents, but make sure that it revolves smoothly, otherwise it will become a major source of irritation as it continually squeaks during the night. Hamsters are nocturnal in their habits and they can ‘travel’ five miles a day walking on their wheel.

Gerbils are also out and about in the evenings. Wild gerbils tend to live in arid areas and have adapted to the scarcity of water. By burrowing during the hottest part of the day, they protect themselves against dehydration. Then at night they venture forth to forage for seeds and similar foods that gain a covering of dew. This provides their vital source of fluids.

Gerbil populations are found throughout most of Africa and parts of Europe, extending across Asia into Mongolia and China and the fur coat colour of gerbils reflects their natural environment. Those living in sandy areas may have very pale fur coats for example. Like other creatures that live in open country with little natural cover, gerbils have very acute hearing, despite their rather small ears. The boney capsule that encloses the middle ear is greatly enlarged and serves to amplify even the smallest sound.

Unlike the solitary hamsters, gerbils are social creatures that live in groups. For part of the day they may even gather together and seal the entrances to their burrows, helping to keep the internal temperature slightly lower, and cause condensation of water droplets to form.

In our Hamster & Gerbil Section you will find a range of hamster and gerbil foods and other items such as bedding, bottles and bowls, toys and tubing, cages and runs, treats and accessories for your pet’s environment.

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