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Introduction to Gerbils

By

Thomas M. Donnelly

, BVSc, DVP, DACLAM, DABVP(ECM), The Kenneth S Warren Institute;


Katherine E. Quesenberry

, DVM, MPH, DABVP (Avian)

Last full review/revision May 2020 | Content last modified May 2020
Topic Resources

Gerbils are known for their curious and mild temperament.

Gerbils are known for their curious and mild temperament.

Domesticated gerbils, Meriones unguiculatus, originated in the deserts of North Africa and central Asia and are sometimes referred to as Mongolian gerbils or Mongolian desert mice. Gerbils are relatives of mice and rats and have been bred as pets since the 1960s. Gerbils are known for their curious and mild temperament. Because they have almost no odor, require very little space, and are easy to care for, they make excellent pets. Gerbils are very social creatures, so they do best in the company of other gerbils.

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Squamous cell carcinoma is a common neoplasm in several species. Ocular squamous cell carcinoma is most common in animals with light pigmentation around the eyes, because sun exposure is one of several predisposing factors. This tumor is common in each of the following species EXCEPT:
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