With your new gerbils in the cage, you cannot wait to pick them up for the first time.
Make sure to give your gerbils some time to settle in, before you try to pick them up. Gerbils can be very shy, especially when they come from a pet store. And they can also be very quick, therefore you should be extra careful when you handle them.
As a whole, be gentle and patient with the gerbils when you pick them up for the first time. The best way to pick up a gerbil for the first time is to let the gerbil come to you. It is also possible to use some kind of box and let the gerbil go inside and lift the box.
Before you pick up your gerbils, you should make sure that they already got used to your hand. They should have had a chance to sniff on your hand and to pick up some food from your hand.
Otherwise, they will be frightened if you simply go ahead and grab them. A frightened gerbil might even bite you.
Your own energy is very important when you handle your gerbils for the first time. Gerbils pick up your mood quickly, and if you are jerky or even scared to pick them up, your gerbils will be hesitant, too, because you are not taking charge and the gerbils don’t really know what to do.
This does not mean, that you are supposed to be bossy and rough with your pets. You are about to pick up tiny animals, that might not be used to being handled.
You have to be gentle and never grab your gerbils. This could lead to extremely shy pets because they will always be afraid of your hand.
There are various ways to pick up a gerbil.
Let the Gerbil Come to You
The best way to start with is to let the gerbil come to you. You can put some food on your hand and just put the hand in the cage.
After a while, your gerbils will come to you and maybe even hop on your hand. If you want to further encourage the gerbils to stop avoiding your hand, you can remove the toys from the cage.
Once your hand is the most exciting thing in the cage the gerbils can play with, they will come to you. You can slowly lift your hand and put it back on the ground in the cage.
Do not try to get the gerbil out of the cage right away. It might jump off and hurt itself. Only lift your hand inside of the cage with the gerbil on it, and lower it again to give the gerbil the option to jump off right away.
After doing that a few times, your gerbils will learn that there is nothing to be scared of when you lift them.
Use a Box to Pick Up a Gerbil
Another way is to use some kind of box to pick up a gerbil. If you want to relocate a gerbil to another cage or a play area, you can put a cardboard box with one open side in the cage.
Gerbils are super curious and it won’t take long until a gerbil explores the box. Once the gerbil is inside of the box, you can slowly lift it and relocate the box with the gerbil inside of it.
Scoop the Gerbil Into Your Hands
One more way to pick up a gerbil is to use both hands as a shovel to gently push the gerbil into the hands.
If the gerbil keeps jumping away, you can scoop the gerbil onto your hand by slowly pushing it towards the walls. Don’t be rough and make sure that the gerbil is not scared.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂