Can Gerbils Go Outside?

Can Gerbils Go Outside 1

You’re contemplating letting your gerbil outside, similar to a parent considering letting their child play in a busy playground for the first time.

The great outdoors can offer a rich sensory experience for your little friend, but this decision isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. There are potential hazards to consider, from predators to harmful substances.

And what about the risk of your gerbil escaping?

There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get started, shall we?

Key Takeaways

  • Gerbils are not suitable for permanent outdoor living due to their sensitivity to weather elements, specific dietary needs, vulnerability to predators, and the importance of indoor living for their well-being.
  • Outdoor playtime for gerbils should be facilitated securely and engagingly, such as creating a secure playpen or providing an exercise ball, while monitoring weather conditions and being aware of the risks of pesticides, parasites, and potential predators.
  • Handling a missing gerbil requires remaining calm, searching in quiet and secluded areas, placing food and water bowls to lure them out, leaving the cage door open as a familiar place, and being patient and persistent in the search.
  • Gerbil walks, using a leash or harness, pose risks including exposure to predators, potential injury and stress, strain on the gerbil’s back, increased risk of escape, and stress-induced health complications.

Outdoor Safety for Gerbils

While your gerbils can enjoy outdoor playtime, it’s critical to be aware of potential risks such as exposure to pesticides, and parasites, and the danger of them running away if left unsupervised. Gerbils have natural instincts to run and dig burrows which could lead to them getting lost or trapped outside. You can prevent this by creating a secure pen or using an exercise ball to contain their movement while they play. Scatter feeding can also help to keep your gerbils engaged and busy in a controlled environment.

Despite their love for exploration, gerbils aren’t suited for permanent outdoor living. Their sensitivity to weather elements and specific dietary needs make indoor living more suitable. Plus, they’re vulnerable to predators when outside. Always be mindful of the weather conditions before letting your gerbils out for playtime.

Gerbils: Playtime Outside

Moving from safety considerations, let’s explore the specifics of how to facilitate safe and engaging outdoor playtime for your gerbils. Although they do have an instinct to escape and dig burrows, it’s possible to create a secure outdoor environment for them.

Consider creating a playpen using sturdy materials, or provide an exercise ball for your gerbils. These options allow your pets to enjoy the outdoors while keeping them safe from potential predators. Remember, gerbils aren’t suited for permanent outdoor living due to their specific dietary needs, reliance on burrows, and vulnerability to predators.

While outdoor play can be beneficial, it’s essential to keep a close eye on weather conditions. Gerbils are sensitive creatures and they could become uncomfortable or even fall ill in extreme temperatures. Additionally, be aware of the risks of pesticides and parasites in the outdoor environment.

Permanent Outdoor Living: Possible?

Despite the appeal of allowing your gerbils to live outdoors permanently, it’s crucial to understand the potential risks and challenges this environment may present. Predators, inclement weather, and lack of control over their diet are just a few of the dangers that could threaten your gerbils’ well-being.

While it’s true gerbils are originally desert animals, they’ve been domesticated for generations, making them less suited for outdoor living. In the wild, gerbils have burrows to escape predators and harsh weather. They’re also social creatures, requiring companionship and interaction. In an outdoor setting, it’s difficult to ensure these needs are met.

Furthermore, gerbils are delicate. They can easily become ill from bacteria or parasites they encounter outside. Plus, they’re small and could easily get lost or escape from an outdoor enclosure.

While it may seem like a nice idea to let your gerbils live more ‘naturally’, the risks often outweigh the benefits. It’s usually best to keep them indoors where you can monitor their health, provide a balanced diet, and give them the social interaction they need.

Always prioritize their safety and well-being. After all, your primary role is to protect and care for them.

Handling a Missing Gerbil

Even with the utmost care and vigilance, there may come a time when your indoor gerbil goes missing, and it’s important to know how to handle this distressing situation effectively. First, remain calm and don’t panic. A gerbil’s instinct is to hide when scared, so your pet is likely still in the house.

Start by searching in quiet, dark, and secluded areas, as these are ideal hiding spots for gerbils. Look in corners, behind furniture, and even inside shoes. It’s also advisable to turn off any loud noises which might frighten your pet further.

Place food and water bowls around the house to lure your gerbil out of hiding. Opt for strong-smelling foods, like fresh fruit or gerbil treats, to attract your pet. Also, leave the cage door open as a familiar place may entice your pet to return.

If your gerbil is still missing after a thorough search, don’t lose hope. It’s possible that your gerbil could be hiding in a spot you’ve overlooked. Be patient and keep a close watch on the food and water bowls. With persistence and a little luck, you’ll likely find your missing pet.

Risks of Gerbil Walks

While it may seem like a fun idea to take your gerbil for a walk, there are several risks associated with this activity, including exposure to predators, potential injury, and undue stress. In the outdoors, your gerbil can become prey to birds of prey, dogs, cats, and other animals. Gerbils are also known for their escape artist abilities, which makes it risky to walk them on a leash.

Using a harness and leash for your gerbil walk might seem like a safe idea, but it can strain your pet’s back and cause lifelong injury. These tools simply aren’t designed for their small, delicate bodies. Moreover, the stress of being in an unfamiliar environment can lead to serious health complications. Intense stress can potentially trigger seizures, and even cause brain damage in gerbils.


In conclusion, while your gerbil can enjoy occasional outdoor playtime, it’s vital to keep safety in mind. Always supervise them and provide a secure play area to prevent escapes or exposure to risks like pesticides and parasites.

Remember, though they’re natural burrowers and runners, gerbils aren’t cut out for permanent outdoor living due to predators and specific care needs.

If your gerbil does escape, act promptly to ensure their safe return.

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