Except for rats, and only because I admired their cunning and survivability, I never had a gripping interest in rodents. The one time I really came in contact with gerbils had been when I was the class mother for my younger son’s second grade and the class kept pet gerbils in a type of a housing resembling a large aquarium. This book, however, changed my outlook on Gerbils when I picked it off the bookshelf in a local bookstore because of the attractive gerbil portrait on its cover.
Mongolian gerbils, the kind that are kept as pets, are sometimes called sand rats, desert rats, yellow rats, antelope rats, or clawed jirds. Other related gerbils are bushy-tailed jird, fat-tailed gerbil or duprasi, Libyan jird, and Egyptian jird.
Gerbils have the face of a squirrel and a tail resembling the tail of a rat. They are curious, friendly, and social animals. Because of their size, they make better pets for older children. They are also ideal for apartment dwellers because gerbils take up very little space. They should, however, be kept in a dry room with moderate temperature. The ideal place for gerbils’ housing is a sturdy table from where they can watch the owners.
Since gerbils have a social life, they should be bought in pairs. Gerbil babies are called pups. They may look cute, but a pair of gerbils that are a few months old would make better pets.
Gerbils are fairly cheap to obtain and easy to keep, but they require some know-how and understanding like other pets. Thus, “Gerbils: The Complete Guide to Gerbil Care” is just the book and probably the best book to read on the subject.
What truly impressed me, in addition to the writer’s expertise, are the wonderfully artistic, one-of-a-kind photos in the book taken by the photographer, Ellen Bellini. All the photographs complement the information in the book, adding visual pleasure to the book’s skillfully arranged contents.
The chapters of the book are:
1: Furry Mongolian Friends
2: Are Gerbils the Right Pets for You?
3: Finding the Gerbils of Your Dreams
4: Housing and Feeding
5: Taming and Handling Your Gerbils
6: Gerbil Health and Hazards
7: Breeding Gerbils
8: Fun with Gerbils
9: Exhibiting Your Gerbils
With 160 pages in paperback, the book has an appendix, resources page, a pretty informative glossary, and an index at the end. Its ISBN numbers are: ISBN-10: 1931993564 and ISBN-13: 978-1931993562.
The writer, Donna Anastasi, is the president of The American Gerbil Society. She has organized the first gerbil show in the United States. She lives with her family and her many animals in Southern New Hampshire.
This is a very informative book both for a beginner or an experienced gerbil owner. Besides being easy to read and fun to look at, it is a wonderful reference book for libraries and gerbil enthusiasts alike.