The best gerbil cages must meet two key requirements: they must be able to keep these little escape artists IN and also keep them happily entertained.
This is a taller order than it may first appear, considering that gerbils will readily chew through even the best gerbil cage, especially one made of wood and most plastics.
If there is even a tiny aperture that can be made wider by chewing on it, you can count on your gerbil finding it, chewing on it, and then making his big escape.
But not to worry – we are here to help you find the perfect gerbil cages for your little fur love that are safe, secure and enriching.
Read on to learn about our top picks for the best gerbil cages!
Picking out the best gerbil cages
If you have never kept gerbils before, you are about to learn these tiny rodents have an amazing skill set – they are naturally great at digging, climbing, chewing and jumping.
This also means the best gerbil cages must conform to specific criteria to be suitable for these unique pets: be escape-proof, chew-proof, sufficiently roomy for each gerbil occupant and suitably enriching in their dimensions and setup.
Choosing the right gerbil cage size
One of the most important facets of choosing the best gerbil cages is the cage dimensions. You will need big gerbil cages even for just one gerbil and an extra large gerbil cage for 2 or more gerbils.
Since gerbils enjoy climbing and jumping as well as digging, you also need a cage with extra height and width so your gerbil can stay active.
For a regular large gerbil cage, aim for dimensions of 3’x1’x3’. This will house one or two small gerbils. Plan on adding 1’x0.5’x1’ for each additional gerbil.
If you opt for a fish aquarium, the 10 gallon size makes suitable gerbil cages for 2 gerbils. Add five extra gallons for each additional gerbil occupant.
Planning your gerbil cage setup
The best gerbil cage setup will always be a metal or glass gerbil cage.
While it may be tempting to select a plastic gerbil cage, gerbils can and will chew through most plastics in short order!
Digging and tunneling
Gerbils will naturally dig underground tunnels. In the wild, this provides much-needed protection from predators and a safe place to sleep.
A thick bottom layer of soil or peat followed by a thick layer of timothy hay or meadow hay will give your gerbils the necessary building blocks to make their tunnels.
Climbing and jumping
Climbing can be painful if the exterior walls are mesh or wire. Solid cage walls, however, are harder to climb and not enriching.
Adding stones, untreated wooden or cardboard boxes, bricks or blocks are great for climbing enrichment.
As a bonus, stones, wood and cardboard helps keep those incisors and claws nicely filed down.
You want to steer clear of traditional gerbil cages with tubes, since gerbils may chew the plastic to shreds and end up with injuries. Empty cardboard tissue rolls or PVC pipes make much safer tubes and tunnels for gerbils.
Nesting and hiding
Plain unscented tissue or paper towels inside a wood nesting box make a perfect place to retreat and rest.
Best glass gerbil cages
Most gerbil owners agree that the best gerbil cages are made of glass.
Glass is chew-proof and secure, easy to clean and sanitize, affordable and simple to outfit with enrichment toys, bedding and hiding areas.
Aqueon Aquarium Fish Tank Size 10
This simple, basic fish tank is made in the U.S.A. of glass with clear silicone seals with black trim.
Aqua Culture 10 Gallon Empty Aquarium
This simple, basic 10-gallon aquarium gives you the perfect start to your gerbil habitat.
Glass aquarium top covers
If you don’t plan to use a cage topper with your glass aquarium, either of these secure top covers will work with a standard 10-gallon aquarium. Which one you choose will be a matter of personal preference.
Exo Terra Screen Cover for 10-Gallon Aquarium
This is a secure mesh top you can use with it that will fit any of the aquariums mentioned below.
Aquarium Cover, Glass, for 10-Gallon Tank
This glass aquarium cover is another secure option for your gerbil habitat.
Best gerbil cage topper options
Toppers for the best gerbil cages – glass aquariums – can extend any regular aquarium into a fully-enclosed gerbil playground.
Once you add one of these cage toppers to any glass habitat base, you will find the combination can make really cool gerbil cages with multiple levels and lots of space for climbing, jumping, digging and tunneling.
Kaytee My First Home Tank Topper
This chew-proof wire tank topper fits a 10-gallon aquarium. It comes with an assortment of stain-proof plastic toys including two platforms, a connecting walkway and a hide.
They probably won’t last very long but are fun extras for an affordable price! The bar spacing is ½ inch.
Ware Manufacturing Chew Proof High Rise Pet Cage for Small Pets
This is another cage topper option that fits 10-gallon aquarium habitats. This one comes with a water bottle and a food dish along with a system of wire mesh platforms with a connecting ramp.
The wire is powder-coated and chew-proof. The bar spacing is ¼ inch.
You&Me Small Animal High Rise Tank Topper
This unique 10-gallon aquarium tank topper features a peak rooftop with a long wire mesh ramp system. It comes with a water bottle and a small food dish.
One thing that is unique about this tank topper is that it also has a wire mesh floor. So you can make two areas for digging and nesting if you are housing two or more gerbils.
Best gerbil cages
We hope you have gotten lots of great gerbil cage ideas from reading through this carefully curated list of the best gerbil cages!
Resources and Further Reading
- Block, K. et al (2018). Gerbil Housing. The Humane Society of the United States.
- Cunningham, V. (2018). Gerbil Accommodation. Wood Green The Animal Charity.
- Harris, D. et al (2018). Gerbils: Environment. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
- Morrow, J. (2018). Gerbil Care Handbook: Housing. American Gerbil Society.
- Porter, T. et al (2018). Caring for Your Gerbils. Blue Cross for Pets Charity UK.