Gerbils should be kept indoors in a house suitable for their needs. Although they are able to withstand extremes of temperature their home should be placed out of drafts and not in direct sunlight. Try to keep them in a room that you are often in so that you can see your gerbils regularly. This will help them get used to you and you'll get to enjoy them more often just by seeing them regularly.
Gerbils like to burrow, and you'll find that they constantly re-arrange and reform these tunnels, keeping themselves fit in the process. The best houses provide gerbils with a deep bedding tray where they can build these burrows. A house with only a shallow tray is not suitable as your gerbils won't be able to burrow and they will soon kick most of the bedding out through the mesh.
There are several options for bedding materials on the market:
Although this is very cheap to buy, there is little to recommend it. Saw dust has been known to cause irritation to gerbil eyes and noses, so it is best to avoid it.
On the whole this is very clean, especially the dust extracted form and it does not usually cause problems for gerbils. It is best to avoid strong smelling shavings like cedar, or scented shavings as the oils in these materials can cause allergic reactions and eye and breathing problems. Gerbils will tend to chew on the larger pieces of shavings as part of their normal nest making activities. This causes the pieces to get smaller and hold together well for burrowing. If you mix this with some cardboard and paper the fibres the gerbils create from shredding will help bind the shavings together allowing burrows to hold together.
Shredded paper or card
This is very clean, and there is no risk of allergy or other problems, but paper does not provide a very attractive or gerbil friendly environment. Recycled card is mostly brown in colour, and can also look unattractive. However if you suspect that your gerbil is suffering from an allergy or other problem related to bedding material, placing your gerbils on paper bedding or card can help clear up the problem.
Straw and peat
This can be used to provide a more natural environment for your gerbils as it does allow more complex burrows to be built, but it does have many disadvantages. It is a heavy material, and it can be difficult to get the consistency right. Too dry and the gerbils cannot burrow and any tunnels made will collapse. Too damp and it can cause fungal infections, such as ringworm and can also cause chest problems.
There are several types of nesting material sold for small pets. Probably the best nesting material for gerbils is simple plain tissue or toilet paper. Your gerbils will very quickly shred it so that it becomes like cotton wool. They will line their nest with this soft material, and it will cost you almost nothing whilst enabling your pets to display their natural nest making behaviours.
Time outside their house
Your gerbils will really enjoy exploring the world beyond their home. Using the Qute bedding tray you can safely take them into different rooms to play and explore. Don't forget to be really careful if there are other animals in the house, especially cats. Also if you are letting your gerbils run loose in a room, make sure that there are no wires that they can chew or gaps under the door or in the floor that they could get through. In 2001 a child was innocently playing with her gerbil when it suddently disappeared through a small hole in a floorboard. It took the fire department 13 hours to get it out, not to mention the destruction of a 400 year old mahogany floor - one of only 2 in existance known to have been built by Leonardo da Vinci. If you do use an enclosed hamster ball then you should strictly limit the amount of time your pet spends in their to about 20 minutes. Gerbils are intelligent and do realise that they are enclosed and soon get bored.