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.
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.
Here are the best places to buy 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.
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:
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:
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