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Are gerbils good pets for 10-year-olds?

A pet in a child’s life can be a good addition to teach them important life skills such as responsibility and empathy as well as bring them joy.

However, as a parent of a 10-year-old, you may be wondering whether they are ready for a pet gerbil, what the pros and cons of gerbils are and the considerations you should make before buying a gerbil.

Read on to know more about the answers and whether gerbils are good pets for 10-year olds.

Are Gerbils Good Pets for 10-Year-Olds?

Gerbils are good pets for 10-year-olds because gerbils are affectionate, highly sociable, low maintenance, and good companions for a 10-year-old. They are classified as one of the best starter pets for older kids. Children 10 years and over have the developmental capacity to be able to care for a gerbil, with supervision from an adult.

What Is A Good Pet For A 10-Year Old?

A good pet for a 10-year-old is a pet that a 10-year-old can have developmentally appropriate responsibilities in regard to their ability to care for them and a pet whose temperament allows good interaction with them.

Generally, 10-year-old girls and boys at this age have reached developmental milestones that enable them to start taking additional responsibility. This also being in consideration that each child grows and gains skills at his or her own pace.

A 10-year-old’s curiosity is growing, their attention span is increasing, judgment is improving, they can communicate, have a sense of right or wrong, fair or unfair, and understand how their behavior affects others.

This is a developmental stage where they can have a pet and care for it with the help of an adult as a guide.

The pet should also have key characteristics that will enable them to blend in well with a child of this age. These characteristics include:

  • Responds well to handling
  • Easy to train or teach tricks
  • Fun to feed
  • Affectionate
  • Friendly
  • Calm
  • Playful.

How Are Gerbils Good Pets for 10-Year Olds?

Gerbils are incredible animals. They are generally affectionate and bond well with their human owners. 

Owning a gerbil teaches 10-year-old valuable life lessons. These lessons are gained from the activities they take part in to care for their pet from daily feeding, cleaning, and provision of attention and affection. 

These important lessons include:

  • Responsibility 
  • Compassion
  • Patience
  • Loyalty
  • Self-esteem
  • Social Skills
  • Respect
  • Leadership
  • Coping with loss

Gerbils As Pets: Pros and Cons


Low care cost

Gerbil care costs are relatively low. This includes health care, food, toys, accessories, water bottles, bedding, and the cage. They are also inexpensive to acquire.

Affectionate pets

Gerbils are attracted to their owners and love being held by them. They are affectionate and make great companions.

They are clean animals

Gerbils are clean and like to keep their space clean as well. They use one area of their enclosure as a bathroom and the other for play and sleep. They are not messy and do not have a characteristic rodent smell.

Don’t usually bite

Gerbils do not usually bite. They are calm animals and do not intentionally inflict harm to their owners. They may only bite when not handled properly.

Easy to track

Since gerbils are in one enclosure, you can find them where you left them. It is easy to know where they are.


Need to be in pairs or groups 

Gerbils do not thrive well when they are alone. They are social animals and need to be in pairs, trios, or in a group. They become stressed or depressed when not with other gerbils.

Daily upkeep

Gerbils require daily upkeep to keep them alive and thriving. A pet owner needs to routinely provide them with what they need.

Short life span

Gerbils have a short lifespan of 3-5 years.

Sleep day and night but can be active at night

Gerbils are not nocturnal, however, they have periods during the night when they are active.

Is A 10-Year-Old Ready For A Gerbil?: What To Consider

Gerbils are great pets to have especially for children. However, before buying a gerbil for your 10-year-old there are considerations you should have to make sure taking on the new pet will be the right decision for your child and family.

You need to weigh various factors before going headfirst in getting your pocket-sized pet. Any pet owner needs to consider all factors before committing to taking care of a pet.

The following questions can help you make this decision:

Is a gerbil the right pet for your family?

One of the considerations to have is whether a gerbil will be the right fit for your family depending on your lifestyle and commitment to care for the pet. 

Questions to ask yourself include, can you commit to taking care of the gerbil for a long time? 

Do you travel often? What are the health care costs? Do you have space allocated for the pet? What benefits do they bring to your family and how will they impact your home environment? 

Is your 10-year-old genuinely interested?

Your 10 year old may have interests in different pets. One day they may love a cat, another day even a guinea pig or a dog. 

The interests are very valid however as the adult, gauge their interest in having a pet gerbil if they really are interested or just a short and passing interest. 

Care for any pet takes commitment. Is your child on board with having a gerbil? What do they want out of the interaction with the pet? 

This will help you to know whether you should really get a gerbil or not.

To what extent is your child willing to care for the gerbil?

There should be a realistic expectation on the activities surrounding the care of a gerbil and the responsibilities your child will take. 

You should talk to them about what it takes to care for a gerbil and also what they are expected to help with. 

Take note that you still have to supervise your 10-year-old when they get their gerbils. You will still be the primary caregiver. 

You will have to make sure that they are fed every day, handled well (also prevent them from falling over) and the cage routinely cleaned out. Are you willing to help take care of the gerbils as well? 

Consider also if your 10 year old follows through with other routine tasks around the home. Simple tasks such as remembering to brush their teeth can give you a hint if they are ready for a pet.

What is your 10-year olds personality?

Also, consider your child’s personality in matching them up with a gerbil. Gerbils are good first pets but also think about whether they are going to blend in with your child’s personality.

Questions to ask yourself include, will they be able to have patience and be calm to gently handle a gerbil? This will help you to know whether a gerbil is the right kind of pet for them.

Are you rushing with this decision?

The idea of having a pet gerbil sounds good but the actual day-to-day tasks may bring different feelings about it. You have to be ready for the lifestyle changes and everything that comes with it. 

To prepare them, you can take your 10-year-old child to a pet store to spend time around gerbils, where they will ask questions to give them a rough idea of what it takes. 

This will also give them a glimpse of the real thing.

Also be ready to have the tough conversation with your child about the death of a pet, in this case, a gerbil, to prepare them when it happens. 

This is important because children become very attached to pets easily and they need to also have an understanding of what might happen during their pet’s life and how to cope with it.

So, What Age Should You Buy A Gerbil?

You should buy a gerbil when they are around 6 to 7 weeks old. At this age, the young gerbil pups have been well nurtured by their mother and are able to be safely separated. 

Purchase them from a reputable pet store, shelter, or breeder. They will provide all the information required surrounding your gerbil and their health.


Having a gerbil as a new addition to the family is wonderful. Gerbils are good pets to have especially for children. 

A 10-year-old is old enough to have one and care for them with supervision from an adult. As a parent, you need to prepare your 10-year-old for the long time commitment. 

The benefits of having a pet for a child are several and adds a plus to having a gerbil.

Overall gerbils are good pets to have for a 10-year-old.


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