How to Stop Gerbils Making a Mess?

Ever wondered how to stop gerbils from making a mess? Well, it’s a bit like trying to keep a toddler out of a cookie jar! But don’t worry, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeve. Stick around to discover how to turn your gerbil’s cage from a disaster zone into a tidy haven.

Why are My Gerbils So Messy?

Gerbils are naturally active and curious creatures. They love to explore their environment, which often involves a lot of digging, kicking, and burrowing. This can result in a gerbil cage that looks like a mini tornado has passed through. But don’t worry, there are reasons behind this seemingly messy behavior:

  • Gerbils Like to Dig and Kick: Gerbils have a natural instinct to dig and burrow. This is a behavior they would exhibit in the wild to create nests and escape from predators. In a gerbilarium or wire cage, this often means they’ll kick up a lot of sawdust or other bedding material. If the cage isn’t designed with a deep enough tray, they can’t kick around without making a lot of mess.
  • They Need a Suitable Place to Play and Chew: Gerbils need plenty of toys to keep them entertained. Cardboard tubes and wooden toys make great chewable playthings. However, as they chew and play, bits of toys and shavings can end up scattered around the cage.
  • Gerbils Burrow and Make Tunnels: Another reason gerbils are messy is their love for making tunnels. They’ll dig and move bedding around to create intricate tunnel systems. This can result in bedding being pushed out of the cage if there’s no deep tray or if the mesh on the cage is too wide.
  • Their Bedding Can Get Messy Quickly: Gerbils use their cage as a toilet, which means the bedding can become soiled quickly. They also tend to bury their food, which can lead to hidden stashes rotting and creating an unpleasant odor.
  • They May Use the Cage as a Toilet: Gerbils aren’t always picky about where they do their business. They may choose a corner of the cage, or they may just go wherever they happen to be. This can lead to soiled bedding that needs to be cleaned regularly to maintain a healthy environment for your gerbils.

Understanding these behaviors can help you manage the mess and keep your gerbils happy. In the next section, we’ll discuss what kind of cage you should use to minimize the mess and meet your gerbils’ needs. So, stay tuned!

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How to Stop Gerbils Making a Mess?

What Kind of Cage Should I Use?

Choosing the right cage for your gerbils is crucial in managing the mess they can create. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a gerbil’s cage:

  • Consider a Gerbilarium: A gerbilarium is a special type of cage designed for gerbils. It usually has a deep glass or plastic tank at the bottom for bedding, allowing your gerbils to dig and burrow without kicking bedding out of the cage. The top part is usually a wire frame with a lid, providing ventilation and a place to hang a water bottle and wheel.
  • Use a Wire Cage with a Tray: If you can’t get a gerbilarium, a wire cage with a deep tray at the bottom can also work. The tray should be deep enough to hold at least 4 inches of bedding for your gerbils to dig in. The wire bars provide good ventilation, but make sure the gaps aren’t too wide, or your gerbils might squeeze through.
  • Avoid Cedar Bedding: Cedar and pine bedding can cause respiratory problems in gerbils. Instead, opt for recycled paper or aspen shavings. These are more absorbent and less likely to cause health issues.
  • Recycle Cardboard for Toys and Tunnels: Gerbils love to chew and will appreciate cardboard tubes from toilet paper or paper towels. They can also use these to create tunnels. Just make sure there’s no glue or ink that could be harmful.
  • Provide a Water Bottle and Food Dish: A water bottle is a must to keep the cage tidy. It’s less likely to be tipped over than a water dish, and it won’t get bedding in it. A shallow, heavy food dish will also help keep food in one place.

Remember, the goal is to create a comfortable and stimulating environment for your gerbils that also keeps mess to a minimum. In the next section, we’ll discuss how to keep this environment clean and fresh for your furry friends. So, keep reading!

How Can I Keep Their Environment Clean?

Maintaining a clean environment for your gerbils is crucial for their health and happiness. It also helps to keep the mess to a minimum. Here are some tips on how to keep your gerbil cage clean:

  • Use at Least 4 Inches of Bedding: Gerbils love to dig and burrow. Providing at least 4 inches of bedding allows them to exhibit these natural behaviors without making a mess. It also helps to absorb urine and makes the cage easier to clean.
  • Spot Clean Daily: Each day, take a few minutes to remove any visible mess. This includes soiled bedding, leftover food, and any other debris. This will help to keep the cage tidy and prevent unpleasant odors.
  • Clean the Cage Once a Week: Once a week, you’ll need to do a more thorough cleaning. This involves removing all the bedding, washing the cage with warm soapy water, and adding fresh bedding. Don’t forget to clean the toys and accessories too!
  • Remove Soiled Bedding and Debris: Gerbils can’t help but make a little mess when they eat, play, and go about their daily activities. Regularly removing soiled bedding and debris will help keep the mess under control.
  • Wash Toys and Accessories: Gerbils also love to chew and play with their toys. Over time, these can become dirty and should be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria.
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Remember, a clean cage is a happy cage! Your gerbils will appreciate the effort you put into keeping their home clean and fresh. In the next section, we’ll discuss some strategies to prevent your gerbils from making a mess in the first place. Stay tuned!

How Can I Prevent Gerbils from Making a Mess?

While it’s natural for gerbils to make a bit of a mess, there are steps you can take to keep it under control. Here are some strategies to help prevent your gerbils from making a mess in the first place:

  • Provide Lots of Toys to Keep Them Occupied: Gerbils are active and curious creatures. Providing a variety of toys can help keep them entertained and reduce the amount of mess they make. Consider items like tunnels made from cardboard, hamster wheels, and chewable wooden toys.
  • Make Sure Their Cage Isn’t Too Small: A cramped cage can lead to more mess as your gerbils won’t have enough space to play, eat, and sleep in separate areas. Make sure the cage is large enough for your gerbils to move around comfortably.
  • Consider Female Gerbils Instead of Males: Some forum discussions suggest that female gerbils tend to be less messy than males. This could be an option if you’re still in the planning stages of getting a pet gerbil.
  • Use a Gerbilarium with Underground Tunnels: A gerbilarium is a type of cage designed specifically for gerbils. It usually has a deep base for bedding, allowing your gerbils to dig and create underground tunnels without kicking bedding out of the cage.
  • Place a Towel or Tray Under the Cage to Catch Debris: No matter how careful you are, some mess is inevitable. Placing a towel or tray under the cage can catch any debris that gets kicked out, making cleanup easier.

Remember, the goal isn’t to stop your gerbils from being gerbils. They’re naturally active and curious creatures, and they need to dig, burrow, and chew to stay happy and healthy. Instead, the aim is to manage the mess in a way that keeps both you and your gerbils happy. Good luck!


Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of our guide on how to manage and minimize the mess made by your gerbils. By now, you should have a good understanding of why gerbils can be messy and how to keep their environment clean and comfortable.

Remember, owning a gerbil – or any rodent for that matter – comes with its share of messiness. But with the right strategies, you can keep it under control:

  • Embrace the Mess as Part of Gerbil Ownership: Gerbils are naturally active and curious creatures. They love to dig, burrow, and chew. While this can lead to a bit of a mess, it’s also a sign of happy, healthy gerbils. So, embrace it as part of the joy of owning gerbils.
  • Balance Gerbil Happiness and Cleanliness: While it’s important to keep the cage clean, it’s also crucial to ensure your gerbils are happy. This means providing plenty of toys, a large enough cage, and allowing them to exhibit their natural behaviors.
  • Regular Cleaning is Key: Regular spot cleaning and weekly deep cleaning can go a long way in keeping the mess under control. It’s a bit of work, but your gerbils will appreciate it!
  • Choose the Right Cage: A gerbilarium or a deep-based wire cage can help contain the mess. Remember to avoid using cedar or pine bedding, as these can cause respiratory issues.
  • Provide Plenty of Toys: Toys not only keep your gerbils entertained but also help to minimize mess. They’ll be too busy playing and chewing to kick bedding out of the cage!
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Owning gerbils is a rewarding experience, mess and all. With a bit of patience and the right approach, you can manage the mess and enjoy the company of these adorable creatures. Happy gerbil keeping!

How to Stop Gerbils Making a Mess? – FAQ

Q: Are gerbils messy pets?

A: Yes, gerbils can be quite messy pets. They love to dig and chew which can cause a lot of debris in their cages.

Q: What are some typical messes gerbils make?

A: Gerbils often kick their bedding outside their cage, chew up their cardboard tubes, and scatter food around their cage.

Q: How often should I clean my gerbil’s cage?

A: It’s best to clean your gerbil’s cage at least once a week. However, if you have more than one gerbil, it may need to be cleaned more frequently.

Q: Can I potty train my gerbil?

A: No, it’s not possible to potty train your gerbil. They will go to the toilet wherever they please.

Q: How can I prevent my gerbil from scattering its bedding?

A: One way to prevent your gerbil from scattering its bedding is to provide a deep layer of bedding and to switch to heavier bedding material like CareFresh or aspen shavings.

Q: Why does my gerbil chew everything?

A: Gerbils have teeth that constantly grow, so they chew things to keep them from getting too long. They also chew to explore their environment and to keep their teeth sharp.

Q: What can I do to prevent my gerbil from chewing up its cardboard tube?

A: You can try providing your gerbil with other things to chew, such as apple wood sticks or other types of wood toys. You can also purchase chew-resistant tubes made from plastic or metal.

Q: What should I do if my gerbil scatters its food outside the bowl?

A: You can purchase a heavy food dish to prevent your gerbil from tipping it over. Alternatively, try offering your gerbil food on a flat surface like a tile or a rock.

Q: How can I stop my gerbil from kicking its bedding outside the cage?

A: You can attach a cage guard or tray to the outside of the cage to contain the bedding. You can also try providing a smaller quantity of bedding.

Q: Can I train my gerbil to use a litter box?

A: While it’s not possible to train your gerbil to use a litter box, you can provide a separate box with some sand in it for them to go to the toilet.