Gerbils: The Complete Guide to Gerbil Care – Book Review

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.

Do Cats Need Winter Boots?

It snowed last night for the first time this year in my area of Southern Ontario and it got me to thinking about boots,winter coats and the three kitties that call my place home.

“Get me some proper boots and you won’t lack for fur caps , nor for decent meals, nor for anything else” said the puss in boots to the son. When I think of “the puss in boots” from my childhood, I remember all the favorite reading times, and imagining that cat in boots. At the time it seemed strange to think of a cat in boots, but today with all the new and cute pet clothes available the thought is not that strange. There are actually boots for cats and pet owners are using them, but if you are thinking of purchasing them, then you should proceed with caution.

Pet clothes, including pet clothes for cats is becoming quite popular, and a number of different pet stores and pet accessory shops offer different types of clothing including in some cases, winter boots for cats.

The question is does your cat need winter boots? Well, if you live in cold climates and your cat goes outside, he may be able to benefit from winter boots. The problem is that cats have such an independent nature, and their claws are so much a part of the way they sense things that it may be difficult to get the cat to become accustomed to the winter boots.

As pets get older and that includes cats, they need extra help in keeping warm, especially if the cat goes outdoors. As they age when they go out on long jaunts their body temperature may start to drop when they come back in and start to cool down, so winter boots may be a temporary option until the cat warms up again.

There are certain pros and cons to having cats wear winter boots. It’s true that when there is snow and ice outside, your pets paws can freeze and the snow can pack in between it’s toes, and if there is salt out on the driveways then he can track that salt into the house and onto your carpets. But if you use winter boots on a cat and let him go outside unsupervised you are also taking away his defenses, because a cat uses his claws to defend himself against other animals, and when he has boots on, well, he just isn’t able to use those claws as well.

Cat boots can be used as a decorative style or as a way to warm his paws up when he comes back inside, but it’s probably not such a good idea to let him out on his own with cat boots on.

The pet clothing fashions are cute and can be used on cats. There are little sweaters and boots available, but should probably be enjoyed at home, and left off if your cat goes outside. The best way to let your cat avoid getting cold is probably by keeping him inside where it’s warm and toasty. Most of the time the cat will sniff outside when it’s really cold and turn his back and decide to stay inside anyway.

What Do You Feed Rabbits?

Rabbits are wonderful creatures that are soft and cute and make great pets. But they have feelings and needs like the rest of us, and it’s important that we know how to take care of them. Diet is one of the first things to get right. So what do you feed rabbits?

Rabbits need water. Lots of clean fresh water that is available to them at all times. Make sure your rabbit won’t be able to tip over its source of water.

Ok. But what do you feed rabbits?

The bulk of a rabbit’s diet should be made up of hay. Good quality hay. Timothy hay is a good choice for most rabbits. Rabbits need to have hay available to them at all times. They like to eat constantly to keep their digestive system going, and also to chew and wear down their teeth that are always growing.

You should also give them grass and other edible greens such as dandelion leaves. I would pick all sorts of edible weeds from my backyard and give it to my rabbits. Make sure that nothing you give them has been sprayed by pesticides or picked near a busy road. You can also get dandelion leaves and other dark, leafy greens from the store. But avoid lettuce.


Pellets are a great way for your rabbit to get some added fibers and vitamins to their diet. Rabbits love pellets.Give them about a handful a day.

What do you feed rabbits? What about fruit and vegetables?

Truth is that rabbits don’t eat as many carrots as Bugs Bunny. Fruit and vegetables should generally be more of a treat than a major part of their diet. Small bits of a carrot and a tiny part of a banana is enough for a day.

Be sure not to feed your rabbit food straight from the fridge as it is too cold and might upset their stomach.

Lastly I’d like to mention that it’s important to give your rabbit something to chew on so their teeth don’t get too long. Branches are a really good way to get them to wear down their teeth.

So make sure your rabbit has fresh water, lots of hay and lots of fresh leafy greens (not lettuce). Also give him some pellets and a small bits of fruits and vegetables now and then.

I hope this answered your question on what do you feed rabbits.