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Do Gerbils Need an Exercise Wheel?

Gerbil Exercise Wheel

It’s no secret: gerbils love food. And as prey animals, their instinct is to look for and forage for as much as they can find. They don’t discriminate. While loving food is awesome (and completely normal… I mean, who doesn’t?), it also means that exercise is totally necessary. A gerbil’s health and well-being depends on it.
Gerbils are naturally super active animals. They love to gnaw, entertain, and play; they’re always on the move. And because of their confined cage space (we always encourage free roam, though!), they need something to provide the exercise needed in their habitat; something they have access to 24/7. A gerbil exercise wheel is ideal to keep ‘em physically and mentally fit… and we recommend they have one.


Gerbil exercise wheels need to be solid… we don’t want their little (long) tails getting tangled up, which is extremely dangerous. (Wheels with rungs can actually amputate the tuft at the end of a gerbil’s tail… and gerbil tails do not grow back.) No one wants that. Aim for about 8 inches in diameter depending on gerbil size. This size wheel allows your gerbil(s) space to run with a comfortable angle. Have you ever seen a gerbil on a “too small” wheel? The angles are atrocious; awkward and irritating. If I were a gerbil with too small of a wheel? Number one, I wouldn’t want to exercise on it, that’s for darn sure. And number two? Even if I did use it, my back would ache for days. So think like a gerbil. Give ‘em what they need.


As long as the wheel is solid, you’re good. Remember, though, that gerbils will potentially gnaw on a plastic wheel and may accidentally ingest some of it, which can cause damage to the GI tract. You really need to oversee usage and make sure that your gerbil isn’t chewing on it. Metal gerbil exercise wheels with a mesh surface have tiny openings, but they’re so small that they don’t pose a risk to their tail.

Gerbils absolutely need physical exercise as well as mental stimulation. There are tons of good toys out there: seesaws, tunnels, bridges, run-about balls… basically just about anything (that’s safe and non-toxic), on which they can climb and explore. An exercise wheel, though, is one of the best ways to provide your small pet with the physical exercise and mental stimulation they need. And when they’re given a great option, they’re gonna live their best life. Go for the wheel. They’ll appreciate it. And you. 

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