Taming your gerbil starts with ensuring they are healthy and happy. Let any new gerbil settle in to their new home for at least a week before handling. Ensure the cage is in a good location that helps keep them relaxed. A noisy environment with lots of people and other pets moving around can be quite upsetting and your gerbil may feel more defensive in these circumstances.

  • Choose your moment: gerbils are much less active during the day and won’t appreciate being woken up from sleep. Wait until they are eating or playing before handling.
  • Spend time near the cage and use your voice so they become accustomed to you.
  • Don’t offer treats through the cage bars as this can provoke biting of fingers in the future.
  • Offer treats near your hand with the cage door open and wait for the gerbil to approach you.
  • Once your gerbil is taking treats from close to your hand, place the treat on your hand.
  • When the gerbil is standing on your hand to take the treat, work up to scooping up your gerbil for gentle handling. Keep them cupped in one hand with another over their back to prevent them jumping.
  • Ensure there is a soft surface underneath in case they fall
  • Let your gerbil explore your arms and legs while you are sitting down. You can offer treats at this time too to create positive associations.
  • It can take two weeks to two months before you have succeeded in taming your gerbil.
  • If you rush things or your gerbil is startled, they may bite or nip. Try not to create and frighten them even more. Return them to the cage calmly and thoroughly wash the bite with soap and water.