Gerbils enjoying berries because they’re sweet and tasty. Most fruits have lots of vitamins and minerals, which gerbils need in their diet. But that doesn’t mean you should feed your gerbil berries every day.
Gerbils can eat any berries that humans can eat. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, goji berries, etc are all safe for your gerbil. However, they contain lots of sugar, so they should be fed sparingly.
Berries are a good snack because of their vitamin content. So, if you want to feed your gerbil treats, then berries are a healthy choice.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Do Gerbils Eat Berries?
- 2 Are Berries Good for Gerbils?
Do Gerbils Eat Berries?
Both wild and captive gerbils can eat berries. Berries are a natural food source that grows on bushes.
In the gerbil’s wild habitat of the Mongolian steppe, there are lots of grasses and bushes to find berries on. So, it makes sense that they like to eat them.
Any commercially available berry is fine for a gerbil to eat, i.e. non-poisonous. However, they shouldn’t be a regular part of your gerbil’s diet.
What Berries Can Gerbils Eat?
Gerbils can eat any berry that you buy from a store. There are no berries that are toxic to a gerbil that you can buy to eat for yourself. That includes strawberries, blackberries, goji berries, blueberries, and more.
However, you should wash the berries before you feed them to your gerbil. There is a chance that they may have bacteria on them.
Can Gerbils Eat Strawberries?
Strawberries are the quintessential berry. Despite their name, they’re not botanically a berry, they’re a kind of aggregate fruit.
Gerbils can eat any strawberries, whether they’re ripe or not. None of them are poisonous, even if they taste bitter/unripe. Your gerbil may avoid eating an unripe strawberry as it doesn’t taste as good.
The leaves and stems on top of strawberries are edible, too. They aren’t poisonous. They are good for your gerbil because they’re tough and fibrous. Gerbils like fibrous foods because:
- They are good for your pet’s teeth. Your gerbil needs to keep its teeth trim, and tough foods help with that.
- They are good for your pet’s digestion. Gerbils need to eat lots of dry, fibrous foods for their digestive systems to work properly.
Can Gerbils Eat Blueberries?
Blueberries are available from almost any store, and have been for decades. Like the other berries on our list, blueberries are safe for gerbils to eat. They make a healthy snack, although not a suitable regular food.
Blueberries are one of the healthiest berries. They contain lots of vitamin C, although gerbils don’t need this. They also have lots of vitamin K, alongside reasonable amounts of other minerals and vitamins.
What holds them back, like most berries, is that they contain too much sugar. So, you can feed them to your pet, but not in large amounts.
Can Gerbils Eat Blackberries?
Blackberries are commonly available, but aren’t as popular as blueberries and strawberries. They aren’t harmful to gerbils.
One thing that your gerbil will like is how the blackberry can separate. Blackberries are made of tiny individual berries forming a larger aggregate fruit. These tiny berries can be pulled away from the fruit body.
Your gerbil will enjoy eating these tiny berries one by one. Also, each berry contains its own seed. This gives the berry texture, so your gerbil will have something to gnaw on as well. This makes blackberries a good choice.
Blackberries when picked fall straight from the stem. Unlike strawberries, the stem doesn’t stay attached. But if you picked wild blackberries and some stems did stay attached, don’t worry. These are edible too.
Can Gerbils Eat Goji Berries?
Gerbils can eat goji berries. Goji berries are native to Asia, but were only recently introduced to the Western world.
When they were, they were marketed as a ‘superfood’. That’s because they have a different nutrient profile to other berries. Nutrition Value state that they contain lots of vitamin C, they also have lots of vitamin A, and a surprising amount of iron and protein.
Something else that’s good about goji berries is that they’re often sold dry. Dried goji berries are shriveled and tougher, and contain lots of fiber. This is good for your pet gerbil’s teeth, and gerbils enjoy chewy, tough foods.
Can Gerbils Eat Raspberries?
Raspberries are like blackberries, but a different color. Gerbils can eat them without issue.
While the ones sold in stores are all the same, there are many different species. Some have larger or smaller individual berries forming the whole. All are edible and non-poisonous for gerbils.
Again, take care if you’re feeding your gerbil wild raspberries. All the same, issues apply as they do to other berries.
Can Gerbils Eat Barberries?
Barberries are a common wild berry in the U.S. While they can be found growing across the temperate regions of the Americas, they haven’t yet caught on as a mainstream edible berry. They are red and taste tart.
Gerbils can eat these too. The only problem is that you may not find them in stores. They may only be available wild. The New York Times state that they are equal parts invasive plant and a good means of enclosing property with hedgerows, so you may find many growing wild.
If that’s the case near you, be careful when feeding your pet wild berries. They could be sprayed with pesticide, be dirty, or contain parasites.
Can Gerbils Eat Wild Berries?
Wild gerbils by definition eat wild berries. So, pet gerbils can eat wild berries too. However, there are some things you have to watch out for:
- What kind of berry you’re feeding your gerbil. If you’re not sure what kind it is, it could be poisonous.
- Where the berry is growing. If the berry is growing at floor level, it could be dirty.
- Whether the berry has been sprayed with pesticides. This could poison your gerbil and make it sick.
Check whether the berry contains any parasites. Some berries have worms in them from fruit flies. These could grow into flies in your gerbilarium. This occurs with blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and more.
Are Berries Good for Gerbils?
While a gerbil will enjoy eating a berry, it’s like a sugary snack. Even though gerbils need to get most of their energy from carbohydrates, they still need lots of fiber, and not too much pure sugar. Here’s a table to explain:
|Benefit||How Are Berries Good for Gerbils?|
|Lots of energy||Gerbils need calories to survive. Berries are high in sugar, so have lots of calories for their size.|
|Lots of water||Wild gerbils get all of their water from their food. Berries contain lots of water. So, your pet will get its water from a natural source.|
|Lots of vitamins||Vitamins are necessary to support vital functions, e.g. the functions of the organs and the cells.|
|Some fiber||Berries are reasonably high in fiber, although not quite as much as a gerbil needs.|
|Low in fat and protein||Gerbils do need some fat and protein. But other snacks contain too much, which will make your gerbil overweight. Berries won’t do that.|
But with lots of sugar, berries can still be bad for your gerbil. And gerbils need a variety of minerals and vitamins, not only those found in berries.
Nutrients in Berries
The macronutrients of food are its carbohydrate, fat and protein content. This is the fuel in food. It’s what all warm-blooded animals need to produce body heat, create muscle and fat tissue, and survive.
Berries contain the right proportion of carbohydrates to proteins and fats. Here’s a table with data on strawberries, with information taken from Nutrition Value. Most berries have roughly the same nutritional profile:
|Nutritional Info||Amount per 100g|
|Carbohydrate (and Sugars)||7.7g (4.9g)|
Most of the energy in berries comes from their carbohydrate content. And most of those carbohydrates are pure sugar. Only some of their content is protein and fat.
However, gerbils need less protein and fat than they need carbohydrates. They need their calories to come from roughly 80% carbs, 15% protein, and 5% fat. As such, berries meet that need (fat and protein contain roughly double the calories per gram than carbs).
How Many Berries Can Gerbils Eat?
When a gerbil eats too many watery foods, it can experience diarrhea. Its stool becomes loose because it has too much water in its digestive system. This creates a mess, spreading bacteria and parasites.
Eating too much pure sugar puts stress on the pancreas. If an animal eats too much pure sugar, even if it doesn’t eat too many calories, it can become diabetic. So, your gerbil needs a more varied diet with more fiber and dried foods.
You can still feed your gerbil some berries. However, they should only be served as a snack. You should only feed half a tablespoon of berries at a time. These should be fed alongside half a tablespoon of regular gerbil mix.