Pet Keen advocates for adopting before shopping. We understand there are many reasons for seeking a breeder or purchasing from a store, though, so we encourage it to be done the right way. Learn more.
While a lot of people go for cats or dogs when they get a pet, there are plenty of other pets available that can add a great deal to your life. Take gerbils, for instance. These tiny rodents are adorable and much easier to care for than a cat or dog (cheaper, too!). Gerbils can make good pets for older kids just learning to properly care for an animal (though they aren’t the best for very small children due to their size).
If you’re interested in getting a gerbil, your first thought may be to visit your local pet store. However, there are other places you can look at for gerbils, too. Here’s what you should know about the best places to buy a gerbil!
Gerbils as Pets: What to Know Before Welcoming One Into Your Home
Gerbils are one of the more inexpensive pets you can have, as they don’t require much in the way of upkeep. You’ll need a cage for your critter filled with everything they require, like food bowls, water bottles, nests, and toys. You’ll also need plenty of gerbil food on hand. Once you have your gerbil, one of the more vital things to do is hand-tame them. Gerbils will bite if frightened or injured, so getting yours used to being handled and held is key.
Gerbils are quite social and endlessly curious, making these tiny creatures fun to watch as they explore. And while gerbils aren’t nocturnal, they are fairly active during the night, so be prepared for the squeak of an exercise wheel at all hours if you’ve placed one in their cage!
Where to Adopt Gerbils
Adopting a gerbil is an excellent option, as many of these little guys end up in shelters and rescues due to people impulsively purchasing them and then becoming bored. Adopting a gerbil doesn’t only get you a new friend; it means you’re saving an animal’s life, too. Getting your gerbil from a shelter or rescue will be, in most cases, a bit cheaper than getting one via a pet store or breeder.
Shelters, in particular, will have gerbils that are familiar and comfortable with being in contact with people, which is helpful. Just be prepared for the possibility of filling out an application or going through an interview to get your pet!
1. Adopt a Pet
Adopt a Pet is an online adoption database that connects those seeking a pet with rescues, shelters, and private owners. The downside to this site is that there may not be any gerbils up for adoption near where you live.
2. Animal Rescue League
The Animal Rescue League is an example of an organization dedicated to helping rehome animals, adopt them out, and keep them safe. There may not be one in your state, but you can likely find an organization that does similar work.
You’re likely familiar with the ASPCA or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This national organization does a lot, including rescuing gerbils and other small animals, cats, and dogs. You can search their database to find shelters near you that have gerbils up for adoption.
Petfinder is another online adoption database similar to Adopt a Pet. You can use it to search for gerbils waiting to be adopted from private owners or shelters.
Where to Buy Gerbils Online
Purchasing a gerbil online can be risky (and more expensive than adopting). Not only are these animals not ideal to be shipped after purchase online, but online buying means you’re getting a pet sight unseen. You won’t be able to check the living conditions of the gerbil or its health. You also won’t get to interact with the animal until you get it, so you will have no idea what their personality is like. However, there are a couple of places you can go online to buy a gerbil if you wish.
Believe it or not, Craigslist still exists, and if you’re lucky, you might be able to find gerbils for sale on the site. Of course, we recommend being very careful using this site to maintain your safety and avoid scams!
2. Small Pet
Then, there are a few online stores like Small Pet that sell, well, small pets. You’ll have to do your own research for sites like these to verify how reputable they are.
How Much Do Gerbils Cost Online?
How much a gerbil costs online depends on where you get it from. You’ll likely find gerbils for extremely cheap (and possibly even free) on Craigslist, but if you’re purchasing from an online store, it can cost anywhere from $22–$150 depending on the type of gerbil you want and where it’s coming from.
Pet Stores That Sell Gerbils
Most pet stores will sell gerbils and other small animals, particularly big box pet stores (though your local pet store might sell these pets, as well). However, pet stores don’t always have the best living conditions, which could lead to health issues in the future for your pet, so you’ll want to be careful when buying a gerbil this way. Be sure to check whether gerbils are kept in a large, clean space with plenty of food, water, and toys. And look closely at the gerbils to see whether they appear healthy.
Unlike with a breeder where you can verify whether a gerbil’s parents were healthy, you can’t do that with a pet store, so you’ll lack some knowledge. Also, purchasing a gerbil from a pet store may be a bit more expensive than adopting one from a shelter or rescue.
1. Pet Supplies Plus
Not every Pet Supplies Plus sells animals, but some locations do, so if there’s one near you, check it out. You’ll have to visit your local store or call to find out if they sell animals, as they don’t list animals online. Just remember to check the gerbils’ living conditions carefully to ensure they’ve been cared for.
Petco’s a store you should be familiar with! This national pet store chain can be found in most places, so there’s hopefully one near you. Besides pet supplies, they also sell small animals, like gerbils. However, be forewarned that Petco has had mixed reviews on their ethics and care of animals. This can vary by store, of course, so try to find reviews of your local Petco before making any purchases.
PetSmart is also a national chain of pet stores that’s well-known, but you might not have been aware they sell a few small animals, along with pet supplies. Like Petco, though, PetSmart’s care of animals and ethics has received very mixed reviews, so check your local store carefully for the conditions of their gerbils before buying one!
How Much Do Gerbils Cost In-Store?
This depends on which store you’re purchasing from, but you can expect to pay $20–$40 for a gerbil from a pet store.
Gerbil Breeder Information
If you’re purchasing from a reputable gerbil breeder, then you can expect to receive a healthy, happy gerbil. Reputable breeders will know a lot about the animals they’re breeding and will be willing to answer any questions you have, including questions about the health of the parents. But do your research before contacting a breeder; gerbils are prone to pet mills and the like, just like dogs and cats, which equals unhealthy living conditions and sick animals.
When looking for breeders, see if they’re associated with organizations that have had them agree to a code of ethics. The American Gerbil Society is one such organization; the group monitors gerbil breeders in the U.S. and has them agree to an ethics code, while providing them with an expert community that helps them maintain excellent standards of care.
Tips for Adopting or Buying a Gerbil
When you’re adopting or buying a gerbil, a few things can help you in the process.
First, it’s ideal to get at least two gerbils, not a single one. Gerbils are social creatures, and they don’t like being on their own. Getting them a companion will keep your pet happier than if they were living alone. However, get gerbils of the same sex; otherwise, you can expect lots of baby gerbils running around!
While the cost of a gerbil usually isn’t a lot (unless you’re getting a fancy gerbil of some kind), you will have to purchase supplies for your pet, and those can add up (though it will still be cheaper than supplies for a cat or dog). Just a few things you’ll need include a cage, bedding, food and water bowls, toys, food, treats, an exercise wheel, and chew sticks. Be sure you’re in a position to get all your pet will need before buying one.
Finally, do your research. If you’re going to buy a gerbil from a pet store or breeder, it’s imperative that you do research beforehand. This can help you determine how reputable the store or breeder is and whether they provide healthy gerbils. A lack of research could result in getting a gerbil that only lives for a very short time.
Gerbils are relatively inexpensive pets that are incredibly social and lots of fun to be around. We recommend trying to adopt a gerbil from a shelter or rescue organization first, but you can also locate these tiny rodents at pet stores and breeders. Though fairly cheap, you’ll likely pay more to get one of these animals from a breeder or pet store. Wherever you decide to buy your gerbil from, do research to ensure that you’re getting a healthy, happy gerbil!
Featured Image Credit: Jearu, Shutterstock
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