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Gerbils & Hamsters/Gerbil chewing plastic


I just brought my daughter a gerbil, and she is very concerned, because Diamond, the gerbil, keeps chewing on her plastic toys.  First she started with her plastic igloo and now with her plastic food container.  She is a sweet little animal,we just want to make sure that she is not hurting herself with chewing all this plastic.  I took the igloo out thinking that this would stop her, but it has not.  She has a wooden stick in her cage, but prefer the plastic.  Is there anything that I can do different?

Hi Sarina

Thanks for your question.

Gerbils chew all the time so it is very important to give plenty of things to chew. The best thing is cardboard - I get everyone to save their toilet roll tubes so that mine have a few of these to chew daily. I would suggest that you remove any plastic objects from her tank  and instead use a ceramic bowl for food. You can buy 'snack shaks' that are edible houses and are safe for gerbils.

Im assuming she is in a tank rather than cage - if so If you put lots of cardboard in daily it is a good idea to let it get deep then she will enjoy burrowing in it. Obviously you can't really do this if she is in a cage.  Glass tanks put a stop to chewing the tank - if her tank/cage is plastic you need to check it daily to make  sure she hasn't made any holes in it otherwise she will keep chewing it and might escape.

I hope this helps you.


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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