Gerbils are desert animals that are adapted to the environmental elements of being in the wild.
However, can you take your gerbil out on the grass to have a playful day out? If they eat the grass is it safe?
In this article, we will answer all of these questions, read on to get more informed.
Can Gerbils Go On Grass?
No, gerbils should not go on grass. Gerbils can play on fresh organic grass that you purchase specifically for their use, but you should not allow them to run on the grass in your yard. Yard grass poses multiple risks to your gerbil, including exposure to predators, pesticides, parasites, and the freedom to run away!
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Risks of Going On The Grass
Exposure to Predators
One big concern with letting your gerbil go on grass outdoors is the risk of predators. Birds of prey, cats, and various other predators can spot your gerbil and make a quick meal of them in seconds!
You can protect your gerbil from predators while outdoors by using an enclosed pen, but there are other concerns to consider too.
Exposure to Pesticides
People often treat outdoor grasses with pesticides and other chemicals. While these chemicals keep grasses free from disease and parasites, they are also toxic to many animals, including gerbils!
Just a tiny amount of pesticide can be fatal to such a small critter.
Exposure to Parasites
Outdoor grass also poses a risk of parasites.
Even when your lawn is free from visible parasites, it does not mean that there are no microscopic eggs or larvae that your gerbil can ingest or that can attach themselves to your gerbil.
Eventually, these parasites can cause severe illness or even death.
Freedom to Run Away
Lastly, allowing your gerbil to run on the grass in your yard poses the risk of them escaping and running away.
As unlikely as it may be that your gerbil escapes an enclosure outdoors, there is still a risk of it happening and if it does, recapturing your gerbil will be next to impossible.
Can Gerbils Eat Grass?
Gerbils naturally eat a variety of wild grasses in their native Africa, Middle East, and Asia, but these are not the same type of grasses that you would find in your yard.
For example, the Mongolian gerbil eats bristle grass and Lyme grass.
Gerbils should not eat grass from your yard, however. The biggest concern with eating grass from your yard is that your gerbil may ingest parasites, chemicals, and pesticides.
Grass hay holds more nutritional value than yard grass, and it has not been exposed to chemicals and pesticides.
Instead of yard grass, invest in grass hay that is processed and packaged specifically for gerbils to eat.
Organic Grass and Your Gerbil
Can gerbils use organic grass that you purchase specifically for their use? It is okay to allow your gerbil to run around on a patch of organic grass you have purchased exclusively for them, but it is still best not to let them eat it!
Gerbils chew on hay to sharpen their teeth, and they use it as a substrate to build tunnels and hiding spots.
Grass, on the other hand, does not sharpen teeth and is a poor material for building and burrowing because it does not hold any structure.
So, while you can buy an organic grass patch for your gerbil to run around in the safety of your home, do not expect them to make a meal of it!
Pet gerbils are best kept away from the grass in the yard because of the many dangerous risks it presents.
There are also many risks of the outdoors when you let your gerbil go outside such as exposure to many microscopic parasites that cause infections, high temperatures, and predators which can be stressful to a gerbil.
Because of these factors, it is best to keep your gerbil indoors where you can protect them from these elements and make them more safe, comfortable, and less stressed out.