Gerbils are small, social rodents that have become very popular household pets. Gerbils are small, furry and playful, with a lifespan of about 3 1/2 years. They are typically around 4 inches long and weigh about 3 ounces.
Indigenous to northern China, Gerbils were originally brought to the United States in 1954 to be used in laboratory research. They quickly became popular and were soon introduced to the mainstream public as pets. Gerbils are so social that they may become depressed if they do not interact with other gerbils on a regular basis. One way to keep a gerbil happy is to make sure it is living with another gerbil of the same sex and with which it has grown up.
Gerbils communicate with one another by making squeaking, grunting and clicking noises. Male gerbils help raise their young pups, unlike many other rodent fathers who pose a threat to their young. Gerbils can be trained to do tricks and flips. They have a very good sense of hearing and smell, but they have poor eyesight. Their teeth continue to grow throughout their lives, so they need to have something on which to chew. Gerbils are herbivores, so they consume only plant material. Some great snacks to feed a gerbil include seeds and fresh, non-citrus fruits.