Gerbils are little critters with big personalities. They like to play, dig, chew, and fearlessly explore! And they’re unique from hamsters and other rodents with their sociability and extensive tunnel building.
But with so many “one cage fits all rodents” products out there, how do you make sure your fuzzy friends have their needs met in a way that lets them live safely and happily?
We’ve got you covered. Our experts have compared and contrasted, researched and tested, and compiled the top 7 best gerbil cages available online so that you don’t have to.
Best Gerbil Cages Reviews
1. You & Me Small Animal High Rise Tank Topper
Our top choice for best gerbil cages is the You & Me tank topper: a refreshing combination of reasonable price and thoughtful design.
We love the chew-proof metal design and super sturdy door locks. No escapees here! It’s perfect for those on a budget and an old fish tank, or folks looking to upgrade or add to their current set up.
As a bonus, it is also easy to close your gerbils into the upper level so that you can clean the bottom without too much distress.
However, new gerbil parents, please be aware that this cage is only the top part – it does not come with a tank bottom or accessories.
2. Little Friends Mayfair Gerbilarium Cage with Accessories
Those seeking an all-in-one gerbil house should look no further – Mayfair has you covered. This attractive gerbilarium comes with everything besides bedding and food to get your gerbils started out right.
With its glass base and metal topper, your furry, chew fiends won’t be able to get loose any time soon. And they may not want to, with all that room to burrow and play!
The wooden ramps and accessories may be destroyed eventually, but that’s just life with a family of super chewers. Also, it does not include a water bottle.
3. Ware Manufacturing Chew Proof High Rise Pet Cage for Small Pets
Another well-made cage topper comes from Ware. It is all metal and un-chewable, and the bars are sufficiently close together to keep your fuzzy buddies inside.
We appreciate that this topper comes with the necessities like food bowl and water bottle, but doesn’t go overboard so that the price is under $50
Please note: this wire topper does not come with the 10-gallon tank!
Also, we did notice that this topper doesn’t quite fit snugly on the tank. But it is easily remedied by some creative at-home modifications. Be sure to secure it if you have cats, or especially acrobatic gerbils.
4. Savic Habitat Cages for Gerbils and Hamsters
Savic makes a good, middle of the road choice for an all-inclusive gerbil home. New gerbil parents will love that it includes a chew-proof bowl and bottle, ramps for running, and plenty of space for toys.
And it comes with a deep base for tunneling substrate, though it is quite brittle plastic.
Due to the cage design, it is unlikely that your gerbils will chew their way out of the base. But never say never when it comes to a gerbil’s teeth!
If you have 4 or more gerbils, there is also a larger size available.
5. Kaytee My First Home Tank Topper
Kaytee provides another inexpensive, metal tank topper to maximize the burrowing space provided by a separate 10-gallon tank.
Some customers noted that their topper was a little wobbly after setting up. We advise having some zip ties on hand for assembly before you put your gerbils in.
We’re not a fan of how cheaply made the ramps and accessories feel. The ramps are slick and have no texture for your buddies to grip. Also, gerbils are likely to destroy this kind of inexpensive plastic, and it’s just a matter of time before the food bowl and house are goners.
6. SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set
Are you a seasoned gerbil owner looking to expand for a growing rodent family? Then take a look at this enormous, incredibly lightweight aquarium.
The acrylic is 17 times stronger than glass, half the weight of comparably sized tanks, and totally chew-proof. At 40 gallons, it can expand their living space enough for even the largest litter of babies and their two parents.
However, this option is NOT for beginners.
It does not include a top appropriate for gerbils and needs special modifications to be secure. And, since it’s marketed for fish, it does not come with any accessories or toys.
Gerbil Cages Buying Guide
Gerbil Needs & Their Natural Habitats
There are over 100 species of gerbil in the world, but most of the ones we’ve come to know and love as pets are the hardy and gentle Mongolian gerbil.
The natural habitats of Meriones unguiculatus are the semidesert steppes of Mongolia and China, as well as desert, shrubland, and grassland.
Gerbils are consummate tunnel builders and burrowers. They spend most of their lives inside a complex network of homemade tunnels, which can reach over 26 feet in length and have 10 or more entrances and exits.
And that brings us to their teeth. Gerbils love to chew anything and everything! That’s because their teeth never stop growing. They use their strong chompers to grind various materials into pulp, which they use to build and reinforce their tunnels.
Gerbils are also highly social animals and should be gotten in pairs at least. In the wild, they live in large social groups called “clans.” Just like you, they need friends and family to be happy and healthy.
They are also incredibly intelligent little critters. Besides social stimulation, they need plenty of exercise and playtime. A bored, under-stimulated gerbil will soon turn their smarts to escaping their cage and chewing things they aren’t supposed to!
Gerbil Cage Sizing: Too Big, Too Small, or Just Right
Your first consideration when choosing the best gerbil home is size and depth.
Because gerbils mainly live in their tunnels, the bottom of your gerbil cage should be deep enough to hold at least 6-8 inches of bedding to build in.
The best cage design tends to be a deep tank full of substrate with a wire topper secured above. This gives your gerbils plenty of room to live above and below the surface!
Next, get the correct size of enclosure for the number of gerbils that will be living there. Studies show that when gerbils are stuck in a small cage without enrichment opportunities, they get very stressed. Signs of a seriously bored or stressed out gerbil include compulsive digging and cage bar chewing.
The minimum cage size for one gerbil is 10 gallons, and experts recommend adding 5 gallons for each additional inhabitant. Two gerbils should be perfectly fine in a 15-gallon tank, three fit well in 20 gallons, and so on.
However, giving your furry friends more than the minimum amount of space is highly recommended. Even though gerbils are social, studies by the Russian journal of General Biology have also found them quite independent. Gerbils need friends, but also alone time!
That doesn’t mean bigger is always better. If a group of gerbils is housed in too much space, they may start to fight over territory or “declan.” 15 gallons per gerbil is more than enough room for your furry friends to have plenty of room and reduce the likelihood of declanning.
Gerbil Cage Security: Hairy Houdini
Consider also the security of the setup. Gerbils have a well-earned reputation as escape artists. And this is especially true of gerbils kept in small cages, or those devoid of toys and friends.
But even a happy gerbil may just be a natural Houdini! Here are a few tips to prevent escapes and dangerous consequences:
- Bars: Space between bars should be under 1 inch apart. The closer, the better.
- Locks: Doors should have a sturdy locking mechanism.
- Materials: Go for metal and glass when possible, which can’t be chewed through.
- Stability: Test the snugness of the fit of your cage’s wire topper, adjust if necessary.
Gerbil Cage Materials: To Chew or Not to Chew
Because they are chew-happy little buggers, the materials your gerbil house is made from are also incredibly important.
Those sharp teeth will make quick work of any wood or soft plastic. And any cage made primarily from either is a recipe for waking up with a gerbil on your face!
Materials that are impossible to gnaw through make the best gerbil cages: metal and glass are perfect. Hard plastics are a solid fallback, though not impossible for a determined fuzzball.
Gerbil Toys and Accessories
Another way to keep those strong toofers and crafty minds away from destroying their cage or escaping into the house is toys and exercise opportunities.
But the benefits of providing your gerbil with plenty of mental and physical stimulation are manifold and not simply good for dissuading escape attempts. Playtime and exercise support mental wellbeing, reduces stress, promote a healthy social life, and more!
Here are a few examples of great toys for gerbils:
- Exercise wheel: At least 7-8 inches in diameter, ideally made of metal. Gerbils don’t need a wheel as much as other small rodents, but some love having a wheel.
- Food bowl: You can dispense with this entirely and scatter feed your gerbils to give them some extra fun searching for their kibble.
- Chew toys: Look for hay or wooden chew toys that specify they are safe for gerbils. Avoid dyed, scented, or painted woods.
- Climbing toys: Such as swings, bridges, tunnels, balls, and hidey holes. Choose non-toxic woods or woven hay for chewability and grip.
- Sand bath: Gerbils don’t take regular baths. Instead, they roll in and scrub themselves with sand. Provide them with a large, heavy-bottomed ceramic or glass bowl with gerbil-safe sand about once a week. Or install a permanent bathtub and replace the sand regularly. Find more detailed information on sand baths on GerbilWelfare.com.
New gerbil parents will appreciate that many gerbil cages come with some toys, food dishes, and water bottles. But if you already have some of these items, check that they’re compatible with your new cage.
Comparing and contrasting current toys and accessories with those included in a prospective gerbil enclosure will keep you from having unnecessary duplicates and spending extra money.
Common Questions About Gerbil Cages
How Much Should a Gerbil Cage Cost?
That all depends on what type you will be purchasing. If you have an old, cleaned out 10-gallon fish tank, your cost for setting up your gerbilarium could be as low as $50 for a cage topper and accessories.
For quality, all-inclusive gerbil habitat will generally run you $100 or more. Any “total package” gerbil cages that are significantly cheaper may be of low-quality materials or design.
What Is the Best Bedding to Fill My Gerbil Cage With?
The perfect substrate is a topic of much debate, but we highly recommend Carefresh Shavings Plus Small Animal Bedding.
It’s 97 % dust-free, totally non-toxic, very absorbent, and made from a few different materials for superior tunnel building!
Will Hamster Cages or Enclosures for Similarly Sized Rodents Suffice for Gerbils?
No! Hamsters and gerbils have vastly different needs. Though a mouse or rat or gerbil may look relatively similar, their natural habitats are not, and their cages must reflect this.
Our buying guide above gets into more detail about gerbil specific needs, safety, and health.
Helpful Gerbil Cages Tips: Setup, Cleanup, and Maintenance
- Choose a Quality Bedding: Pick a safe, comfortable mixture of bedding to fill your gerbil’s cage with. Carefresh makes a great premade option. This video gives a great overview of types of bedding, as well as how you can start researching and experimenting with making your own.
- Regularly Clean Your Gerbil’s Cage: Clean bedding keeps your gerbil healthy, safe, and warm. Spot clean wet and smelly areas 2-4 times a week. Fully replace the bedding about once a month. The more gerbils you have, the more often you’ll need to clean.
- Don’t Clean Too Frequently: Replacing all the bedding too often can seriously stress your gerbils out. After all, those are the homes they built. Fully clean your gerbil tank about once a month. Give your furry friends plenty of time to build their tunnels and relax in between deep cleans.
- Carefully Choose Your Cleaner: Most small animals can have bad reactions to cleaning chemicals. And gerbils have particularly sensitive noses. Avoid fragranced cleaners, as well as harsh chemicals like bleach. Vinegar mixed with water is non-toxic, leaves no residue, and kills bacteria. Check out this article, How to Clean Out a Gerbil’s Cage, for more info.
And take an in-depth look at one example of a well thought out gerbil cage setup in this video from Pickles Pets!
Best Gerbil Cages Summary
Wanna know which are the best gerbil cages without all the details?
When paired with a separate 10-gallon tank, the You & Me Small Animal High Rise Tank Topper is our number one choice. It is cost-effective, super secure, and provides ample space for clans of up to 3 or 4.
And for folks interested in a one-and-done solution, the secure and spacious Little Friends Mayfair Gerbilarium Cage with Accessories is a perfect choice. New gerbil owners just need this Mayfair cage and a water bottle to get started with 2 or 3 furry friends.