How to hold a gerbil safely

Like a lot of small pets, gerbils can be nervous about being picked up. Often, they’ll prefer to be petted or given treats in their cage.

If you would like a small pet that loves human attention, think about getting rats or a ferrets instead.

Why are gerbils nervous about being picked up?

In the wild, gerbils are hunted by other animals. It’s natural for them to be a bit frightened by much bigger animals, like us humans!

If you’d like your gerbils to be less nervous of being handled, you’ll need to start picking them up from a young age.

Picking up your gerbil

Gerbils are small, delicate and fast moving so it’s really important to handle them carefully. Picking them up roughly could injure them – and they might bite you if they’re frightened.

Pick up your gerbil by:

  • Forming a cup with your hands on either side of your gerbil.
  • Scooping your gerbil up on your palm – be careful that they don’t just jump out of the top of your hands.
  • Hold your gerbil low over a flat surface. If they do jump from your hands they won’t fall far and injure themselves.

 Young children and gerbils

We recommend that small children don’t pick up gerbils and older children are supervised to make sure your gerbils are handled safely.