You’re unable to care for your gerbils anymore. Giving up your gerbils is never easy, but sometimes it’s necessary. You’ll want to ensure your gerbils find the right home and are well cared for.
The best way to get rid of gerbils safely is to take them to an animal shelter. Some pet stores or breeders will also take in gerbils. If you’d rather sell your gerbils, you can place a classified advert.
We’ll explore the different places that you can give up gerbils for adoption and how to sell gerbils for money. We’ll also look at whether releasing gerbils into the wild is a viable option.
What If I Can’t Keep My Gerbils Anymore?
It’s not practical to keep a pet if you’ve realized you can no longer care for it. There are many reasons why you might feel you need to get rid of your gerbils, such as:
- Allergies. According to Clinical Allergy, pet gerbils can cause asthma and rhinitis in some people. It’s possible to develop a gerbil allergy at any point during your life.
- Moving house. Many rental houses and apartments don’t allow pets. If you’re moving somewhere new, you might have no choice but to give your gerbils up.
- Money troubles. Gerbils aren’t the most expensive pets to keep, but they do cost money. The cost of food, bedding, and vet visits can add up.
- A change in circumstances means you’re unable to care for your gerbils properly anymore. For example, a more demanding job, a new baby, or a health problem.
- Gerbils don’t get along. If declanning happens, two gerbils that used to live together won’t be able to anymore.
You should always try your best to keep your gerbils if you can. But in some circumstances, you may have to make the hard decision to give your gerbils up.
Do Animal Shelters Accept Gerbils?
The best way to get rid of gerbils is to give them to an animal shelter. Animal shelters take in unwanted animals and find them new homes. Most shelters will accept gerbils. There are also some dedicated gerbil rescue centers and small animal shelters.
Giving gerbils up for adoption at a shelter is a straightforward process. All you have to do is search for a rescue center in your area and give them a call.
- Ask the shelter if they can take your gerbils. If they can, they’ll give you a time to drop them off.
- Give them your details, such as your name and contact information.
- The staff will ask all about your gerbils, such as their age, sex, and any health problems. They’ll also ask whether your gerbils have been spayed or neutered.
- You’ll sign an animal surrender contract, and then hand your gerbils over. The shelter staff will look after them while they search for a suitable new home.
- You can contact the rescue center as often as you like to find out how your gerbils are doing.
The rescue center won’t be able to tell you who adopts your gerbils due to privacy laws. But shelters have strict guidelines so that all animals go to good homes. If your gerbils lived together previously, the shelter will try their best to rehome them together.
How to Choose a Gerbil Rescue Center
Not all animal shelters are the same. Before giving your gerbil up for adoption, visit the shelter, and find out the following information:
- Is it a no-kill shelter? Some shelters euthanize animals that they can’t find homes for.
- Is the shelter licensed? The federal government doesn’t regulate animal shelters, so licensing varies from state to state.
- Do the animals look healthy? Ask to see their current animals, and check if they look healthy and happy. They should not be in cramped conditions or demonstrating signs of stress.
- Is the shelter clean? A clean, tidy, and well-maintained animal shelter is a good sign.
- What is the shelter’s adoption policy? Good shelters have a strict adoption policy. Potential adopters must be screened and their homes examined to make sure they’re suitable.
The shelter employees should be friendly and open, and willing to answer all of your questions. If you don’t think the shelter is right for your gerbils, try somewhere else.
What If There Are No Gerbil Shelters Near Me?
If there are no shelters near you that will accept your gerbils, don’t worry. There are other ways you can find your gerbils a new home.
If you bought your gerbils from a breeder, they may be willing to take them back. Contact them and explain that you cannot keep your gerbils anymore.
Even if your gerbils didn’t come from a breeder, it’s worth searching for gerbil breeders in your area. Most breeders will be happy to accept your gerbils and find a good home for them. They’d rather do that than have you abandon the gerbils or give them to someone irresponsible.
The breeder probably won’t give you any money for your gerbils. But they’ll take good care of them until they can find them a new home. If your gerbils are unspayed or unneutered, they may opt to keep them to breed from.
Most gerbil breeders treat their animals well. But some breeders are profit-focused and treat their gerbils poorly. Always visit the breeder’s home first to inspect how well they treat their current pets.
If you bought your gerbils at a pet store, you may be able to return them. This is particularly likely if you haven’t had your gerbils for long.
Most pet stores will take back your gerbils if you explain that you can no longer care for them. You may not get a refund for them, depending on how long you’ve had them. But your gerbils will go on to find a new home, which is the most important thing.
You may be able to give your gerbils to a pet store even if it’s not where you bought them. Most pet stores will help to find a new home for an animal if you ask.
Unfortunately, some pet stores aren’t willing to take gerbils over four months old. This is because adult gerbils are hard to sell. Most people are only interested in buying baby gerbils.
Before you give your gerbils to a pet store, check their policy on unsold pets. Some pet stores will euthanize animals that haven’t sold after a specified time frame.
Friends and Family
If you can’t find a rescue center, breeder, or pet store that will take your gerbils, ask friends and family. You may be able to find someone willing to take your gerbils on. As a bonus, if your gerbils go to a friend or family member, you’ll be able to visit them.
Only give your gerbils away if you know the person well and you’ve visited their home. Taking care of gerbils requires time, money, and effort, so choose someone you know to be responsible. They should be over 18 and have experience taking care of small animals.
How to Sell Gerbils
If you can’t give your gerbils to a shelter, pet store, or breeder, consider selling them. You will need to be selective about who buys them and ensure they know how to care for gerbils. There are many places to advertise gerbils for sale:
- Leave flyers in your apartment building or around your neighborhood
- Leave an advertisement on a notice board at your school or workplace
- Ask local veterinarians to put up an ad in their waiting room
- Classified advertisement websites, such as Craigslist, Gumtree, or Oodle
- Dedicated pet rehoming websites, such as rehomeyourpets.com or animal.direct
You may be able to sell your gerbilarium and accessories at the same time, including food and bedding. Being rehomed will be less stressful for your gerbils if they can stay in the same cage.
If someone is interested in buying your gerbils, ask whether they have experience with small animals. You should be confident that they’re not purchasing them on a whim.
Bring your gerbils to their home instead of having them come to yours. That way, you can check the environment is suitable. If they have other pets, look to see that they’re healthy and well cared for. If there are young children, cats or dogs, confirm that the gerbilarium will be kept out of reach.
Tell the new owners everything they need to know, including your gerbils’ sex, age, personalities, and health problems. Recommend a gerbil-savvy veterinarian if the buyer hasn’t got one in mind.
If you have more than one gerbil, do not sell them separately. According to Current Zoology, gerbils form strong pair-bonds and naturally live in groups in the wild. Gerbils can become depressed or anxious if they live alone.
Should I Give Away Gerbils for Free?
If you’re struggling to sell your gerbils, you might be tempted to give them away for free.
If you know the person and feel sure that they’ll treat your gerbils well, this is fine. But never give your gerbils away for free to someone that you don’t know well.
Unfortunately, people who adopt free animals don’t always treat them properly. Some people only care about profit rather than the animal’s welfare. People have been known to adopt free rodents to:
- Use them as food for their other pets (e.g. snakes)
- Send them to laboratories for use in animal testing
- Breed from them and sell their babies
- Re-sell the animals for profit
According to KSAT, a woman in Texas was arrested in 2012 for this. She took in free animals, kept them in poor conditions, and sold them to make money. She killed the animals that she couldn’t sell.
Take your gerbil to a rescue center instead of giving it away to a stranger. But if you have no choice, charge a rehoming fee. Anyone serious about adopting them will be happy to pay.
Can You Release Gerbils into the Wild?
If you have to get rid of your gerbils, you might wonder: can gerbils survive in the wild? It’s not unreasonable to think that setting gerbils free would be a good idea. But unfortunately, releasing pets into the wild is never the right thing to do.
Gerbils are exotic pets originating from Mongolia. There are no wild gerbils in the U.S., so they don’t form a natural part of our ecosystem.
Being desert creatures, gerbils aren’t designed to survive in a temperate climate. Gerbils aren’t used to high humidity or cold weather, both of which can be deadly for them.
If your gerbils did survive the weather, they would most likely be eaten by wild animals. Many predators, such as hawks, foxes, cats, and coyotes, would prey on gerbils. There’s also a chance that your gerbils wouldn’t be able to find enough to eat, especially in winter.
Releasing introduced species into the wild is also dangerous for the environment. They might compete with native species for food or threaten plant populations.
This has been known to happen in the U.S. For example, according to the United States Geological Survey, Burmese pythons have become an invasive species in Florida.
In many states, it’s illegal to abandon animals or release exotic pets into the wild. If you’re caught, you could be faced with a fine. You’re much better off finding a new home for your gerbils instead.