The gerbil is a rodent that lives primarily in Mongolia and China. They live in very dry regions in the steppes, deserts, and semi-deserts. They are very active animals that build their nests and tunnels underground. The gerbils that live in the wild have adapted to their environment perfectly. They sleep and rest underground because of the extreme temperatures during the night and the day. They are mainly active at dusk and dawn when the temperatures are rather moderate. Just like most rodents, gerbils are hoarders. They collect their food and cover it so that they have enough to eat when there is less available.
As a whole, gerbils cover their food to hide it and to keep it fresh. They save the collected food up for times when food is scarce.
Gerbils in captivity do not have to hoard their food, but they will still collect and hide it. If you don’t want them to hide their food in the bedding, you can scatter their food in the cage instead of using a food bowl.
When gerbils hide food in their tunnels you might get the impression that you don’t feed your gerbils enough. Gerbils eat several times a day, and as long as you grant them a healthy, balanced diet, you don’t have to worry about not giving them enough. It is more common to overfeed pet gerbils. Keep track of the appearance and weight of your gerbils and make sure that stay in shape.
How Do Gerbils Hide Their Food?
Many animals, especially rodents, are well known to hoard their food.
Animals in the wild do not always have access to food, therefore it is essential for them to hide their food for a time when they might not find enough such as during a long winter.
Having enough food will help gerbils to survive in the wild.
There are two different types of hoarding. One way to hide the food is to collect it all in one space.
Most rodents have several places where they hide a lot of food. This can be an issue if the places are hard to reach (e.g. under the sofa or behind a wardrobe) and they hid not only dried food but also fresh food such as fruits or vegetables.
The other way of hoarding is to hide food items in individual places.
How Can I Stop My Gerbils From Hiding Their Food?
Hoarding food is in the gerbils’ genes. They will never stop collecting and hiding food. But it is possible to avoid big bunkers of food in their tunnels if you have issues with rotten food in the cage.
As a whole, it is possible to scatter the daily ratio of food in the gerbils’ cage instead of offering them food in a food bowl.
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 🙂