Mongolian Gerbils: Keeping and Caring for Pet Gerbils

Mongolian Gerbils are small rodents in the subfamily Gerbillinae. They are from grassland, shrubland, and desert in Mongolia and the Russian Federation. The size is typically 110–135mm, with a 95–120mm tail and bodyweight 60–130g. The male Mongolian Gerbils are larger than the females. They are one of the most commonly known pets for households. Through proper care, they can live a healthy lifestyle.

Quick Facts

Scientific name Meriones unguiculatus
Gestation period Female 24 – 26 days (Sexually mature)
Mass 58 g (Adult)
Family Muridae
Higher classification Meriones
Length 11 cm (Adult)

Taking care of these little creatures is not a long-term commitment. But as a pet owner, you should give them the best possible care as long as they live. You can be easily attached to these adorable gerbils as they show affection to their owners like other pet animals. Everyone who will get a chance to have Mongolian Gerbils would be delighted. They are rewarding pets for the right person who appreciates everything about them. Their social nature is what makes them irresistible to a wide range of people.

mongolian gerbils

Mongolian Gerbil Appearance

When we heard about gerbils, the first thing that comes to our mind is their overall adorable appearance. Most of the rodent family are indeed charming in their ways. Mongolian gerbils are small-sized creatures whose looks are not intimidating at all. They are a gentle and hardy animal that has become a popular pet across the world.

Although all types of gerbils almost look the same, Mongolian Gerbils have some distinct qualities in appearance. They have large hairless ears and large eyes that are common to the gerbils. Their whiskers are no different from the other rodent members. These little creatures have long back, legs, and feet use for leaping. Their tails are long and with darker coloration at the end.

So typically, they are no exception. Still, they are all equally attractive creatures.

Mongolian Gerbil Colors

Typically, Gerbils are white, golden, lilac, and gray in their natural coloration. But based on research, there are approximately 40 different gerbil coat colors in the world as of today. They only have few typical colors. Their colors are obsessions because it makes them more fascinating to bring home as they too add colors to your life.

Mongolian Gerbils have only one color, which is the Golden Agouti. Have you ever heard about this color? These are reddish-black. If you see a gerbil with colors like this, then that is them. The color appears on the top with a cream-colored underbelly and legs.

However, due to the type of breeding, there are other existing colors for gerbils. Only genetics can prove the color because it is the most reliable source to determine the gerbils’ coat color.

Average Cost Of Mongolian Gerbil

You can see Mongolian gerbils everywhere as these rodents are the most common species available almost in all local pet stores. When you are with your child, and you passed by a cute Mongolian gerbil, then your child would probably go crazy about convincing you to buy that cute-looking creature.

So how much does it cost? Usually, the price range is between five and twenty dollars. Not bad, right? However, this varies depending on the local pet store. Some may offer expensive, and some may give it in a budget-friendly manner.

If you want to buy it at a low-priced, you can approach a pet rescue or adoption center. They’re are waiting for their potential owner. You did not only adopt a gerbil, but you also helped the Animal shelter organization.

Fat-tailed gerbils are the newest in the pet market, so expect them to be slightly expensive. They are costlier compared to the Mongolian gerbils, with a price range of twenty to forty dollars.


Like other animal creatures, Mongolian Gerbil has a required diet too. They need to have a nutritionally balanced diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In the wild, their natural diet revolves around grasses, such as Lyme and bristle grass. They can also be feed with mugrowt, and saltwort, all green sustenance. Mongolian gerbils also love seeds, roots, fruits, bulbs, and grains. There are sources said that they eat bugs, which is quite rare.

Their diet is simple in the wild. They are obliged to search for their food. While in captivity, they are fortunate to have someone who serves them the essentials they need for their body. These foods are seed blends. Before you buy this food product, make sure to read all the product labeling. If it does not mention gerbils, then it is inappropriate for them.

For a moderate diet, you can offer them carrots, apples, or broccoli. Fresh vegetables are suitable for your little guy once a day. But take note of fresh fruits because even though they produce vitamins, the maximum consumption should be three times a week. Avoid exceeding the given instruction as it is just for their own sake. Cut into tiny portions, and be more vigilant in feeding your Mongolian gerbils, as we probably think that some foods are nutritious to them. But in contrast, they can be hazardous to these little creatures. Do not give uneaten nor spoiled food to Mongolian gerbils.

Mongolian Gerbil Lifespan

Wild Mongolian gerbils can live between two and three years. Unfortunately, most of them die in the first year of their life. The Animal Diversity Web claims that their average lifespan is around three and four months. There are predators out there, a lack of food and water resources, and diseases that they get from the different animals in the wild. Overall, they tend to live shorter than those gerbils held in captivity.

In captivity, these little rodents can live up to five years. Their average lifespan is around three years. One of the reasons they only live shorter than five years is that they get sick or attacked by other pets. They can be receiving improper care and a bad diet that makes them weak. The only advantage of these little creatures is the non-exposure to vicious predators or fast-changing weather.

Mongolian Gerbil Cage

Mongolian Gerbils need a comfort zone in captivity. A place where they can play, eat, exercise with their other companions (if any). If you think a simple-structured cage will do, then you are putting their life at risk big time. Their home has requirements too. It is unnecessary to spend lots of money to provide them a comfortable shelter. There are alternative ways to do it by yourself. You can watch and learn the steps about the cage setup.

There are numerous styles and models of cages available to meet their preferences and requirements. A large glass tank with an escape-proof lid is ideal housing for these rodents. It allows them to dig. These are active social animals that should never be alone in their home. Give them pairs or groups that are essential for their grooming and social behavior.

The housing should be dust-free from wood shavings or other suitable absorbent bedding. It will help absorb the urine, and it is easy to clean. Choose a convenient place for these Mongolian Gerbils.

Mongolian Gerbil Behavior

Mongolian Gerbils are more than just their cute little gestures. Typically, they show gestures to express what they feel. On a regular day, you can see them always playing around. Since they are social animals, they prefer to have a cage mate. Together, they can chase each other, wrestling and boxing.

Although they are your loving creatures, they tend to fight sometimes. When you see them fighting with their cage mates, they may be playing just for fun or in serious trouble. Yes, they can be angry, especially when they do not like what their cage mate is doing.

Their behavior depends on how they observe their nature. If they are comfortable, they will give entertainment to everyone. If not, they can be aggressive towards you. To avoid it, you can read books or articles with relevant information about their behavior.

Pros Of Owning Mongolian Gerbil

Mongolian Gerbils have countless reasons why you should adopt them. They are attractive to everyone, especially for children. Home pet owner appreciates their presence as they add happiness to their home. These little creatures give you the kind of entertainment you need after a long tiring day.

To further elaborate, here are the pros of owning a Mongolian Gerbil.

1. They do not need much time outside the cage

Unlike other small mammals, Mongolian Gerbils do not need to spend much of their time outside their home. They are okay inside their spacious room together with their buddy. Letting our gerbils out for about ten minutes a day is enough for gerbils to exercise and convenient for pet owners as you are not required to use most of your time.

2. They are entertaining

These little guys can give you a hundred percent satisfaction within a day. They are fun to watch whenever they play, chew, climb, dig, burrow, and scamper. They give effortless adorable cute little things that are fascinating to watch.

3. Minimal time used to clean the cage

Owners do not need to clean their cages often. You can clean your Mongolian gerbil cage every other week since they are less likely to produce unpleasant odors. However, if you have groups of gerbils, you should clean them at least twice a week.

4. They do not usually bite

These adorable creatures do not tend to bite people. They rarely do it, and if they do, they feel threatened or scared. On a rare occasion, they might nip or bite to defend or escape a threat.

5. They are Crepuscular

They are awake both in the morning and evening. It only means you will be able to watch and play with your Mongolian gerbils more often.

Cons Of Owning Mongolian Gerbil

If there are pros, there are probably cons. Mongolian Gerbils aren’t perfect as you think. Adopting one may have still had some downsides. It is unavoidable since it naturally occurs. To know more about their imperfections, here are the cons of owning this cute animal.

1. Mongolian Gerbils should only have same-sex cagemates

If you place opposite sex gerbils in one place, they would probably produce plenty of baby gerbils that are not advisable when you only have a small cage. 

2. These gerbils will need some time to visit the Vet

There is a possibility where your Mongolian gerbils can get sick or injured. Unfortunately, not all vets can cure your gerbils, so finding an expert vet may take time.

3. They are prone to be attacked by predators

When you have pet dogs or cats at home, you may consider them as predators. So, make sure that you won’t let the other animals get near your gerbils. Do not isolate them in one room, or else expect the worst.

4. They do not live that long

Unfortunately, gerbils can only live for about three to five years. There is also a possibility that they may encounter sudden death during their first year if not executing proper care.

5. These cute rodents are not cuddly

Although Mongolian Gerbils are very friendly and cute in their little ways, sadly, they do not enjoy being held for too long. 

How Often Should You Feed A Mongolian Gerbil

In captivity, Mongolian gerbils are fed three to four times a day with food pellets packed with nutrition. You can see it on the label at the back of the bag or box, where it shows the details about serving size appropriate for your pet. They can eat seeds and fruits or vegetables as well. These cute rodents enjoy this variety of nutritious foods that they can eat in the wild.

They eat small meals throughout the day. Feeding them small portions of meals reflects on their eating habits in the wild. You should able to meet and cater all the meals that they need to gain healthy weight. If you find your gerbil fat or obese, then change the amount of food they eat.

Final Thoughts

In summary, Mongolian Gerbils are such a charming pet to everyone who has the chance to adopt them. They are indeed one of the best rodents you can get. These little creatures are friendly once you get to know them. They provide a crazy level of entertainment without spending too much money to maintain that constant fun.

They are a wise choice pet for those who have children at home. It can be beneficial to your child’s abilities. They get to experience taking full responsibility in caring for Mongolian Gerbil. They become responsible at a very young age so that when they grow up, they would not be afraid to face different responsibilities in life, and taking care of their family would be a lot easier.

Everyone who gets to own them should be devoted to feeding and caring for their Gerbil. It is a commitment they should attentively possess. Taking good care of this pet is like taking care of your child. Stay observant and do not let anything nor anyone harm them as they are all equally precious.

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