Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for untame...

Twin Squeaks, again, has a great article on this.
Ramona sitting in my hand
It takes patience to help a gerbil gain this much trust.
Start Slowly
The key to taming a gerbil is to take things SLOOOOOWWWWWLY. Many people are discouraged that some gerbils are skittish when they first come home. However, once you earn their trust, gerbils are among the tamest rodent pets. In this tip, we look at three ways you can start to earn your gerbils' trust.

Three Taming Tips
Method #1: Take your time. Put your hand in the tank, palm down, for 2-5 minutes at a time. Do not attempt to pet or pick up your gerbils. Let them sniff, crawl on, and explore your hand. If one of your gerbils nibbles your hand, it is probably out of simple curiousity. Don't jerk your hand away. Instead, blow a quick puff of air at your gerbil's face and say, NO. Each time your gerbil nips, blow a puff of air. Soon, your gerbil will learn that hands are not something to put in his mouth.
After your gerbils have been comfortable crawling on your hand for several days, you may try slowly lifting your hand about an inch off the ground. Then slowly lower your hand back down. Once your gerbil is comfortable with this movement for several days, you may start to gradually lift your gerbil higher.

Peek and Trixie eating from Nathan's hand
Nathan's Peek and Trixie learn to trust him as they eat out of his hand.
Method #2: Put a pile of food in your hand and carefully place your hand on the floor of the tank. Let your gerbils come to see your hand as a giant food dish. Do not attempt to lift your hand. Simply let your gerbils sit next to or on your hand, rummage through the assorted seeds and treats, and have a snack. This teaches them to trust you and to associate your hand with good things.
Once again, if a gerbil nips your hand, blow a quick, gentle puff of air and say, NO.

Method #3: Create a play area for your gerbils. Many people have found that letting gerbils play in a dry bathtub or in a homemade playpen (with supervision) a few times a week helps tremendously with taming. You might fill a large plastic tub with bedding and toys so your gerbils learn that you take them to fun places. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for time-lapse...

Just a quick video of some time-lapse photography... 


Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for six...

Just six random pictures I found online and especially liked!

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for random...

Just a few random pictures that I thought were pretty neat! :)

I loved this human sized run-around wheel. :)  Isn't that cool!?

An ingenious animal playground. :P

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for quirky...

Julie Persons takes the cutest pictures of gerbils... and super creative too!

I love all her quirky hats. :)

Here are a few of my favorites...

Go check out her awesome photography!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for photography...

Here is a tip from Twin Squeaks Gerbils that I really liked. Enjoy!!
Mike and Toby peer out of their box.
One way to get better photos is to give your gerbils a small cardboard box during the photo shoot. (See Tip #6.)
Most of us like to have good photos of our favorite pets, but gerbils can be very difficult to photograph. This is because of their small size, because they live inside glass tanks, and because they move so quickly! In this tip, we'll provide some tips for taking better photos of your gerbils. Most of these tips are written with digital cameras in mind, but even if you use a film camera, you should find some helpful tips here.

1. If your camera has a macro mode, use it. Most digital cameras have a setting called macro mode. This setting lets your camera focus on closer things than it otherwise could. You may not need macro mode when you take a photo of a larger animal such as a dog, but when you photograph a tiny gerbil, macro mode can help your camera focus on the little guy.

2. If you're shooting through the glass walls of your gerbils' tank, shoot at an angle rather than straight on. If your flash fires straight at the glass, the light will reflect off the glass, and instead of seeing your gerbils in the picture, you'll see a bright blob of light. By shooting at an angle, the flash bounces off the glass and away from you.
Desert settings make a nice background.
Aquarium backgrounds with desert scenes make nice backgrounds for gerbil photos. (See Tip #3.)

3. Hang an aquarium background. There are many aquarium backgrounds available at your local pet shop. These will add some color to your photos and make them more interesting. Some of the best backgrounds for gerbil tanks are ones designed for reptile tanks! This is because reptiles, like gerbils, are at home in desert settings. You can often find aquarium backgrounds with sand, cacti, and desert plants.

4. Give your gerbils something to do. Give your gerbils a treat, a new toy, or a toilet paper tube before you start taking pictures. You'll have better luck getting a gerbil to sit still for photos if he's happily munching on a Cheerio or if she's busy tearing apart a toilet paper tube!

5. Press the shutter button halfway down and then wait. Your gerbils will probably move too fast for your camera to focus and snap the photo. You can get around this by pressing the shutt button down halfway so that your camera focuses. Then hold your camera still and wait for your gerbil to walk into the frame before you press the shutter button down the rest of the way.

6. Give your gerbils a small cardboard box. This is one of our favorite tricks. Give your gerbils a small cardboard box right before you start taking pictures. Your gerbils will crawl into the box to explore it. Aim the camera at the edge of the opening to the box, press the shutter button halfway down so that your camera focuses, and then wait for your gerbils to poke their heads out of the box. As soon as one of them pokes his or her head out, snap the photo.

7. Crop your photos. It's easier to get good gerbil photos if you don't zoom your lens all the way in. You can always use a photo-editing program later to crop the extra background out of your pictures so that the gerbil's up closer and framed better.

8. Take lots of pictures. Don't get discouraged if your gerbils often jump out of the way before your camera captures the picture or if you get some blurry shots. The more pictures you take, the more likely you are to get lucky and capture one really good picture. You'll also get better at predicting your gerbils' actions so you can plan where you need to focus the camera. Don't get upset if you don't get many good pictures. Just keep trying, and you're bound to get a few good photos of your gerbils!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for obtain...

O is for obtain... how to get some gerbils!!

First of all, there is the American Gerbil Society breeder list, with lists of all the registered breeders.  These are going to be wonderful, sweet, healthy gerbils.

Also, there are rescue sites, like petfinder.com.  Any gerbils you rescue is more likely to have behavioral problems, but can also be super sweet and loving. :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for nuts...

Our N is for nuts... another great treat for gerbils. :)

Nuts like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, and other such nuts are very enjoyable for gerbils.

When buying gerbils nuts make sure they are unsalted, and preferably raw, or uncooked. Raw and unsalted nuts are better for gerbils while the roasted, flavored and salted nuts can be very unhealthy to gerbils and cause them health problems due to lack of nutrition, disease and obesity.

Gerbils also enjoy seeds. Seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and other such seeds are awesome source of protein and energy for gerbils!
Again with the seeds, the should be unsalted, unflavored and preferably raw, or uncooked. 

Any flavored, salted, roasted nuts and or seeds in large quantities can be hazardous the a gerbils health and should not be given to them in large amounts.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for mottled...

Mottled is one of the many coloring patterns of gerbils.  Here are some quick pics of some mottled gerbils. :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for little...

Not especially creative, but gerbils are really little when they are first born. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for kabob...

Another snack idea...  kabobs!

These are super easy, and your gerbil will love them!!

Here is a list of the best things to put on their kabobs...

  • Red Pepper (or green/yellow pepper. Red has the highest vitamin C concentration)
  • Carrots - both the root and the green tops are perfectly safe for your guinea pig.
  • Apples - just make sure they don't have any seeds.
  • Oranges
  • Leafy greens like red lettuce, romaine, Boston lettuce, (be sure to feed leafy vegetables in moderation to avoid diarrhea, and feed spinach a bit sparingly to avoid potential kidney problems.)
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli (in moderation since it can be gassy and cause a gas pain)
  • Green beans
  • Grapes
  • Bananas
  • strawberries (in moderation)
  • oranges or clementines. A helpful way to feed these to your piggie if they're being picky is to scoop out some pulp from half an orange and leave some in it so they can lick it without needing to chew on it if they're not diggin' the texture.
  • cherry tomatoes in moderation

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for jumping...

Here are some videos of  an agility gerbil jumping!

This first one is great... love the music too. :)

This one doesn't have any music, because apparently the music was copyrighted, but the jumps are bigger than in the first one.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for illness...

Gerbils are playful and entertaining, but when gerbil illness strikes, the situation can be worrisome. Because gerbils are such small pets, an illness could turn fatal within hours.  Here are some basic dos and don'ts...

  • Call your veterinarian at the first sign of gerbil illness. Pet gerbils are stoic, so they won’t show signs of sickness until it has progressed significantly.
  • Separate your pet gerbil from other gerbils. Give it its own environment with clean bedding and plenty of food and water.
  • Raise the temperature around the pet gerbil by 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Make sure the cage humidity is low. Pet gerbils commonly get skin infections, so keep the environment dry.
  • Encourage your pet gerbil to drink water. Try using a syringe without the needle to administer water.
  • Try feeding it soft foods like strained cream of corn.
  • Give your pet gerbil a bath. If its fur is soiled, spot-clean with a wet rag.
  • Nurse your sick pet gerbil for a couple of days. Call your veterinarian immediately and ask for advice.
Pet gerbils are precious creatures and they should be with us for as long as possible. Always take your sick gerbil to the veterinarian and don’t assume the worst. In many cases, treatment is effective and your pet gerbil will return to its happy, playful self.

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for herbs...

Herbs are one of the many treats you can give your gerbil to supplement their standard diet.

Parsley ↓,

basil ↓,

coriander ↓, 

and dill ↓, 

are some of the best kinds of herbs to give to your gerbils.

As with all treats, be sure not to give them to much of anything at one time, or they could get sick. :(

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for gerbilarium...

Gerbils are naturally burrowing animals that originate from deserts, so this needs to be considered when providing them with a home. The best type of home for gerbils is a ‘gerbilarium’. This is usually a large tank filled with burrowing material (such as potting compost), with a wire caged area above it. A gerbilarium can be bought from a good pet shop, or you can make your own.

The gerbilarium should be as large as possible, so that the gerbils can get enough exercise. Gerbils stand on their hind limbs a lot, so it’s important that their home is tall enough to allow this. 

The gerbilarium should be kept indoors, out of draughts and direct sunlight, and away from busy or noisy areas (such as near a TV or music system) as this is stressful for the animals.

The burrowing material put in the base of the gerbilarium should allow the gerbils to create tunnels, so potting compost is more appropriate than woodshavings. The tank part of the gerbilarium should be nearly filled with potting compost to allow plenty of digging and tunnel-making. 

You should clean the gerbilarium out every two to three weeks, or more frequently if it is becoming soiled. Every three months do a thorough clean, wash the gerbilarium well and replace all the burrowing and nesting materials.