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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Selecting a Gerbil

By Katherine E. Quesenberry, DVM, MPH, DABVP (Avian) ; Kenneth R. Boschert, DVM, DACLAM, Associate Director, Division of Comparative Medicine, Washington University

Gerbils are available at many pet stores, or they can often be obtained from a local breeder. When selecting a pet gerbil, you should look for one that has smooth glossy fur, clear eyes, and no obvious signs of trauma such as limping or hair loss on the body or tail. There should be no discharge from the eyes or nose, and no signs of diarrhea in the gerbil’s environment. Healthy gerbils are usually lively and curious. If any of the gerbils show signs of illness such as matted fur, a hunched posture, or dullness, you should look elsewhere for your new pet.