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Where to Buy a Gerbil? (Plus an Overview of the Best Places)

gerbil mice in humans hand

Gerbils are among the most popular pocket pets. Generally inexpensive and easy to care for, gerbils can be found at a variety of brick-and-mortar stores, online stores, rescues, and private breeders.

Looking to buy a gerbil? Check out this overview of the best places to buy your gerbil.divider-mouse

Retail Locations of Gerbils

Pet stores sell a lot of different animals, including gerbils. Most gerbils you find in pet stores are young. If you visit a pet store, check the living conditions to make sure they’re cared for properly. Gerbils kept in poor conditions may develop health problems or behavioral problems.

Gerbils should have a large enough cage with deep bedding, food and water bowls, and toys for enrichment like a wheel or tubes. The cage should be clean and fresh-smelling.

For the gerbil itself, look for activity and healthy eyes and coats. Gerbils may live with other gerbils, so check for signs of fighting and resource guarding like scratches, bites, or gerbils looking defensive toward each other.

Unfortunately, you can’t verify the health of the parents at a pet store. Also, many pet store employees don’t have adequate knowledge of the pets they sell, so avoid asking for advice on housing or care. Do your own research.

African gerbil Meriones shawi_skifbook_shutterstock
Image Credit: skifbook, Shutterstock

Here are the best places to buy a gerbil:

  • Petco – is a pet store chain that’s found all over the country. In addition to pet supplies and food, Petco sells small animals like snakes, lizards, birds, hamsters, and gerbils. You can’t buy pets from Petco online, but you can visit the store in person to check out the gerbils and interact with them before purchasing. Petco has a mixed reputation for animal care and ethics, but it may depend on your local store. Be sure to read reviews and check into your local store, and pay attention to the care and conditions for the gerbils and other animals you see in person.
  • PetSmart – Similar to Petco, PetSmart is a nationwide pet store chain that offers pet supplies and live animals like reptiles, birds, and rodents. PetSmart does sell gerbils in the store, so you can visit the store in person and see the animals for yourself. PetSmart also has a mixed reputation for animal care. Check reviews for your local store and look at the condition of the store’s animals before purchasing your gerbil.
  • Pet Supplies Plus –  has stores nationwide and sells pet supplies and small animals, like gerbils. You can’t buy a gerbil online, but you can visit the store to check out the gerbils in person and get an idea of the living conditions and health.Pet Supplies Plus hasn’t been under fire for its animal care as much as the previous stores, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Do your research into the reviews and conditions for your local store before buying a gerbil.

Online Locations To Buy Gerbils

Most reputable pet stores and breeders won’t sell pets online. You may be able to make a deposit on a gerbil and have it shipped or flown to you, but that’s not ideal for the animal. Gerbils may become stressed in transport, so it’s best to pick them up if you’re buying from a different location.

In addition, buying online means you can’t verify the living conditions or the health and personality of the animals.

Gerbil Breeders

Agouti Gerbil
Image Credit: simbagolden, Shutterstock

Breeders usually know a lot about their animals. Ethical breeders produce gerbils and aim to place baby gerbils in suitable homes.

That said, gerbils are often subject to pet mills, or high-volume breeding operations that breed and sell animals for a quick profit. Animals kept in mills are often subjected to poor living conditions, inadequate veterinary care, excessive breeding, overcrowding, and health conditions.

Here are some things to steer clear of when choosing a gerbil breeder:

  • A high volume of gerbil pups available at one time
  • Poor living conditions and overcrowding
  • Ill-looking gerbils
  • Breeders that refuse to let you see the parents
  • Gerbils for sale under 5-6 weeks of age
  • Breeders who don’t seem to care about their animals or prospective owners
  • The American Gerbil Society (AGS) – is a national organization that monitors gerbil breeding. Registered breeders agree to a code of ethics and have access to an expert community. If you want to go through a breeder for your gerbil, search for AGS-registered breeders in your area. They are sparse, however, so you may need to travel to pick up your gerbil.

Gerbil Rescues

Image Credit: auenleben, Pixabay

Rescues and shelters often end up with gerbils, because people get these pocket pets impulsively and surrender them when children outgrow them or the novelty wears off. Shelters typically have gerbils that are comfortable with human contact, so you have a better idea of the personality and temperament of your future pet.

Shelters also have knowledgeable staff to answer your questions and help you decide if keeping a gerbil is the right choice for you. Keep in mind, however, that shelters and rescues often have screening processes to ensure they’re placing animals in forever homes, so prepare for an application and a possible adoption fee.

Here are some places to look for a rescue gerbil:

  • Petfinderconnects owners to private gerbil adoption or rescue organizations with available gerbils. This is merely a database, however, so you must do your own due diligence in choosing your pet.
  • Get Your Pet – is a database for private person-to-person adoption of all types of animals. You can browse the database of available pets to find gerbils up for adoption. Like Petfinder, however, you must do your due diligence in finding a pet.
  • The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) – is a national nonprofit organization that rescues dogs, cats, and small animals. You can search the database to find ASPCA shelters near you and see the animals currently awaiting adoption.
  • The American Humane Society – is a nonprofit organization focused on animal welfare, rescue and care, and other animal programs all across the country. Many American Humane Society shelters can be found in the US, so you can search the database for your local shelter or rescue and see if gerbils are available.
Image Credit: Pixabay


Bring Your Gerbil Home

Gerbils are great pets and offer years of love and affection. Gerbils may live for two to seven years, depending on the breed, so it’s important to get a healthy animal that you can enjoy for years to come. Though pet stores and shelters are great places to find your next pet, be sure to evaluate each individual option to see which is best for your needs.

Featured Image Credit:  Milada Vigerova, Pixabay

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