WHAT FOOD CAN’T GERBILS EAT?
Like in all mammals, including us, there’s some food that we can not eat because for us it is either toxic, hard to digest or not digestive at all, and that can cause some serious problems. The same goes for gerbils. We can’t just give them anything to eat, we ourselves won’t eat anything that we see either, will we?
Gerbils can be picky with their food sometimes and probably won’t eat all the good stuf for their health, and will like something that isn’t really good for them like for example they love sunflower seeds but shouldn’t eat to much of them because the seeds contain a lot of fat. Or even worse chocolate.
Once I left a chocolate bar on my bed (unopened), and my gerbils somehow managed to escape their home and when I got home they were on my bed chewing the chocolate bar, luckily they didn’t chew a lot of the chocolate before I returned home, I immediately hid all the chocolate and candy so they have no access to it at all.
It is up to us that we provide them a diet as healthy as possible so that they can live a happy and healhty life. Ofcourse, it doesn’t need to be as strictly as said, treats are good for them too, but everything in its measures, some treats are given once a day and some once a week.
There’s a lot of food that gerbils can eat, but here are the ones that you should avoid so your gerbils can stay healthy without problems:
|– Black nightshade|
|– Clover is high in prussic acid (cyanide)|
|– Coltsfoot can cause cancer and is toxic to the kidneys of rodents|
|– Dairy products (gerbils are lactose intolerant and can’t digest milk)|
|– Dandelion (can cause cancer and is a diuretic)|
|– Deadly nightshade|
|– Garlic, onion, leeks and chives are dangerous and can cause haemolytic anaemia (abnormal breakdown of red bood cells)|
|– Kidney Beans (raw)|
|– Potato (raw)|
|– Potato tops|
|– Rabbit Mix (containing antibiotic ingredients)|
|– Rhubarb (raw)|
|– Rhubarb leaves|
|– Shallots (destroy blood cells)|
|– Tomato leaves|
*Edit: One of our followers posted that their gerbil accidentally ate their Pothos plant (Devil’s Ivy) which unfortunately resulted in its death. I just wanted to warn everyone who has decorational plants in their house and lets their gerbil run around to take caution, so you can prevent things like that from happening.*
The absolute nono’s:
Alcohol can kill your gerbil with just a drop. Avoid giving any kind of alcoholic beverages to your gerbils.
Avocado fruits have a creamy, greenish-yellow flesh containing a high amount of fat that is primarily monounsaturated fats (liquid at room temperature but start to solidify at refrigerator temperatures). Gerbils can get severe poisoning or it can even result in death if they eat avocado (leaves, bark, skin, or pit). Avocado contains a toxic fatty acid derivative which is known as persin. If eaten a lot it can cause poisoning, and even death.
Chocolate is toxic for many animals including rodents, and should be avoided even as a small treat, because it contains a toxic chemical substance called Theobromine and a small amount of caffeine. Toxicity of Theobromine depends on the animals weight, the type of chocolate and how much the animal took of it. Theobromine affects an animals heart, central nervous systema and kidneys. It can cause cardiac arrhytmias, seizures and in worst case a heart attack. Other sweets should be avoided too.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, tangerines, limes or grapefruit should be avoided (or given only in very small amounts – dried citrus fruit preferable) because of their acidity, which is to high for gerbils .
Coffee/tea and similar beverages contain a high amount of caffeince which is dangerous for gerbils (small animals), as they are already active enough, they don’t need any more substances for keeping them up and more active.
Vegetables/Fruit containing too much water such as lettuce and cabbage can have some dangerous laxative effects on your gerbils, so if you do feed your gerbils with them do it in small amounts.
Fruit seed from apples, oranges and peaches contain dangerous substances called cyanides, which can kill your animal.
Uncooked eggs can have a bacteria called salmonela, not necessary in them but more probable on their surface. To avoid that, cook the egg in boiling watter, that should kill the bacteria. If a gerbil gets infected with salmonela, one of the main simptoms will be diarrhea and it can be deadly. If you notice that somethin’s wrong, visit the vet asap. Be sure that you don’t touch the feces and wash your hands so you avoid getting infected too.
Note that not every food named here is a big danger for your gerbils. Some just have to be given less often and in smaller amounts, and others have to be avoided for sure, which you have already read above. Every person, owner, expert has their own theories of what a perfect diet is, what food to/not to use and how to overall care for a gerbil. I did my research and put my own opinions of bad food for gerbils here. Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with my list.