Gerbils may have mostly seeds in their diet, but they are omnivorous. This means that they can eat not only seeds and plants but insects too. Insects can be a good source of protein for gerbils.
Some gerbils will eat insects, some not.
Gerbils in wild will eat insects when they find them, because they offer a source of protein, moisture and nutrition.
What kind of insects do gerbils eat?
Gerbils usually are fed with mealworms, crickets, waxworms and superworms. But crickets and mealworms are the easiest to find in pet shops and are easy to breed. Note not to feed them with pupae or adult beetles.
Do I have to feed live insects to my gerbils?
You don’t have to neccessarely give live insects to your gerbils, but sometimes it is a good treat for them and they like to chase/hunt them too.
Where can i get live insects from?
You can find live insects in pet stores or the ones that are specialized in reptiles.
Many reptiles have to be fed with live insects, so insects like mealworms and crickets are bred for that purpose. If you buy insects in a pet store, you can be sure that they had no contact with harmful chemicals like pesticides.
Also note not to give insects you found outside your house to your gerbils, there is a risk of harmful chemicals like pesticides or bacteria to be on them.
What insects are better, live or freeze dried ones?
Some say that giving your gerbils freeze-dried insects is a safer way, because they are less messy to use and are quite nutritious.
But I preffer giving my gerbils live insects, they go crazy about them. I buy them at pet stores or from reptile breeders.
I tried giving freeze-dried insects to my gerbils but they didn’t show interest in them, so I gave them live ones and they love them.
What is their nutritional value?
As for the vitamin content it varies from species to species. Waxworms have a bit higher value of vitamin E, and vitamin A is in such small amount offered in live food that it’s negligable.
Calcium concentrations are low in insects and larvae, and there is often an imbalance in phosphorous:calcium ratio.
So it is best to give them to your gerbils a few per day. I usually give them 1-2 mealworms per day.
How do I feed my gerbils with live insects?
You can feed your gerbils with mealworms in a deep bowl, because they can sometimes escape and get burried in the bedding and later emerge as larger beetles.
Also you can hold the mealworms with something like tweezers for example. Your gerbils may get excited and grab/bite your fingers.
Luckily my gerbils know the difference so I feed them with mealworms by hand.
If feeding crickets I would advise to put them in a larger bowl or container with your gerbils so they can have fun hunting them. I tried that with mine and they had fun chasing the crickets but weren’t that into eating them.