How to tame a pet gerbil

Gerbils are timid and naturally afraid, especially when they’re first introduced into your home. When gerbils are learning about their new environment, they’ll display skittish behaviors and may not seem entirely comfortable. Therefore, taming a gerbil should calm it down.

Gerbils should always be trained in pairs or packs because they bond with each other. A single gerbil is likely to be stressed and nervous and therefore may be more difficult to tame.

Before you start taming the pet, give new gerbils a few days to adjust to their new home, keeping maintenance and interaction to a minimum. Follow these tips:

PEXELS | Lucas Pezeta

1. place their cage where they can see you

Gerbils soon get used to an environment full of humans if you keep them in areas where there is average activity going on through the day. Avoid areas with too much commotion and excitement which can be intimidating for them.

2. acclimate with your presence and voice

Leave them alone to get used to the activity in the house initially. Don’t immediately start teaching them how to behave. You can make a fist out of your hand and place it inside the cage for them to sniff and lick. If they try to bite you, you should not startle them by pulling it away immediately. Take out your hand gradually, without making any sudden movements.

3. how to handle a gerbil correctly

You should support them from the back by placing your other hand behind them. However, at first they might be scared by this action and run off. Therefore, keep repeating this action with them until they are comfortable with it.

4. reward with treats and work in small steps

Reward them with sunflower or pumpkin seeds as a treat, but don’t overdo it. When feeding, they might be too frightened to eat out of your hand. Feed them often by hand and wait for them to take it from you. Change the water and clean the cage whenever you have time so that the gerbils get used to you.

Once your gerbil happily takes treats from your hand, place a treat on your open hand to entice a gerbil to step up onto hand to retrieve the treat. Once your gerbil doesn’t hesitate to touch your hand, place a treat on your forearm and allow gerbil to climb onto your hand to get the treat.

5. let a gerbil sniff your hands

Don’t suddenly disturb them when they are sleeping. You should also be open to their harmless bites on your hand. They recognise other living creatures by the way they taste. Once they get used to your presence you will find them climbing into your hand.

6. handle pet gerbils regularly

Handle your gerbils regularly to keep them well socialized. Gerbils are active and curious and will appreciate daily time outside the cage. Avoid chasing or grabbing the gerbils to get them back into their cage if they have been out. Entice the gerbils back with favorite treats, or gently herd them back to the cage.

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