Winner: hanging coconut
Gerbils love to hide. As prey animals, they take cover at the slightest sight or sound. Hideaways make them feel safe, which in turn makes them tamer and more trusting.
There are loads of good options available. Some double as gnaw toys or homes to nest in. My all-time favourite has to be the hanging coconut.
The coconut comes with a string to suspend it from the top of the cage and a cute little ladder. Inevitably, it very soon ends up hanging by a thread with its ladder in bits. Such is gerbil life!
The pros are obvious. The hard shell is very resilient and easy to clean. It’s also a cosy and comfy spot for gerbils to snuggle in. It’s such a joy when first one, then two tiny faces pop out. And it makes for fabulous photographs.
“I LIVE to destroy grass houses!”
“Cuddles in the coconut are the best!”
Runner-up: grass house
I nearly chose wooden playsticks as runner-up. As gnaw toys, space dividers, ledges or hideaways, they’re super-versatile. But grass houses are serious fun, so they edged it.
Getting their paws on a grass house can make gerbils almost delirious! A vampiric frenzy will follow, as they rip it to shreds. The resulting haystack then provides hours of entertainment as they line their nest with the best bits.
I’ve never seen one survive more than a few hours. Have you?
Which hideaways do your gerbils like? Have you ever tried making your own? Before leaving a comment, please read the comments policy – thanks!
Winner: any brown cardboard poster tube
Finally, something useful in the attic! All my brown cardboard poster tubes have been dusted off and repurposed. They’re the perfect size and shape for my gerbil playpen.
They’re multifunctional too. Trouble tempting a shy gerbil out of the cage? Use a tunnel. Escaped gerbil roaming free? Use a tunnel. Gerbils skittish in the playpen? (You know what I’m going to say!)
It simply brings out all of their natural instincts and behaviours, and makes them feel safe. And sometimes they’ll peek out and there you have it – the perfectly framed snap.
“I use it to hide from the paparazzi…”
“Love love love our hay tunnel. Delicious and nibbly!”
Runner-up: Pets At Home small pet hay tunnel
I can tell when a toy is a big hit, as the boys are all over it. So it is with a hay tunnel. They run through it, gnaw on it, nibble the hay, hide in it…
My older gerbils hold the demolition record for these tunnels. Half-gone and still going! But maybe the young pups will surprise?
Do your pets like tunnels and tubes? What’s their favourite type? Add your thoughts below. Before leaving a comment, please read the comments policy – thanks!
Winner: Pets At Home bedding recycled paper
This bedding wins hands down for me. This may be a teensy bit selfish…
Pithy and Boon always run amok with it, trailing it everywhere. They get tangled up in it and start to look like mini mummies. It’s all just too adorable!
On the plus side, the packaging boasts it is biodegradable and recyclable, with dust extracted. What’s not to like?!
“I rampage around with bedding on my head!”
“I offer little bits of bedding to Pithy. Cos I love him!”
Runner-up: Carefresh animal bedding
I don’t tend to use this as bedding alone. Rather as substrate. What do you use Carefresh for: bedding or substrate?
In any case, it always ends up mixed in with the paper bedding, along with chewed-up cardboard and wood shavings. The boys seem to love it, and it looks super-cosy too.
What’s your preferred gerbil bedding? Any new ones out there? Add your recommendations below. Before leaving a comment, please read the comments policy – thanks!