Fat-tailed gerbil (Fat-tailed gerbil or Fat-tailed mouse) information

Fat-tailed gerbil The fat-tailed gerbil as a pet

The fat-tailed gerbil (Pachyuromys duprasi) is also called fat-tailed mouse or fat-tailed gerbil. They are desert animals that naturally come from the northern part of the Sahara. The Fat-tailed gerbil is a very striking animal, with its round body, pointed snout and thick bald tail.

Head-body length : up to 10 - 14 cm
Body weight : 45 grams
Life expectancy : 3 - 7 years

Fat-tailed gerbils are crepuscular and nocturnal, meaning they are most active in the evening, night and early morning. Yet in captivity they are also regularly awake during the day.

Did you know?
Gerbils have no neck

How do you tame a fat-tailed gerbil?

Always read carefully before you decide to get a Fat-tailed Gerbil. They are very nice pets that are awake regularly, so they can also be seen during the day. Although the Fat-tailed Gerbil looks very sweet and cuddly, he does not always like to cuddle and being picked up is very scary, especially in the beginning. Because the animals do not see depth, they can run away from your hand if they are startled. It is therefore important that there is always a parent present who can help and support when children handle the animals.

A new resident should be approached calmly, especially in the initial period. The animal must first become familiar with its own enclosure and feel safe in it before it dares to approach people. Fat-tailed gerbils are quite shy animals that need time to get used to them. Give the animal time and try to make contact calmly by talking to the Gerbil. Giving treats out of hand often works well to gain the animals' trust. They let the picking up happen to them, as it were, they don't struggle.

Tip! Fat-tailed gerbils love dried mealworms

Housing for the Fat-tailed Gerbil

Fat-tailed gerbils need a spacious enclosure of at least 100 x 50 cm (LICG). A good enclosure gives the animals the opportunity to dig, but there must also be a sand portion of at least 1/3 of the enclosure. In the wild, Fat-tailed gerbils build beautiful corridors and they would like to continue to do so in captivity. A castle in the wild is located at a depth of at least 1 to 2 meters and is approximately 1 meter long. The depth of the castle depends on the ambient temperature. As temperatures rise, the gerbil digs deeper underground to reach the cool earth, a kind of natural air conditioning.

Fat-tailed gerbils are desert dwellers, which means that they also need a large sand area in their enclosure that is filled with bathing sand in the form of Chinchilla sand. The animals quickly develop an oily coat, which in the wild provides protection against environmental influences such as temperature and dry air. In our home, the Gerbils must always have a sandbox filled with chinchilla sand so that they can bathe as needed. If Fat-tailed gerbils are not allowed to bathe in sand, their coat will become very greasy within a few days and a fungal infection may develop.

Hamsterscaping is therefore also very fun for Fat-tailed gerbils.

At our home this translates into a spacious accommodation with digging possibilities and sand area! A terrarium is the best choice thanks to its closed nature. It is important that a terrarium allows good ventilation, so preferably it has two grilles (top and bottom). This is especially important in summer when temperatures rise above 25°C.

gerbil fat-tailed gerbil

What are suitable houses for a Fat-tailed Gerbil?

Fat-tailed gerbils are lucky! because almost all houses made for hamsters are a good size for this gerbil species. Fat-tailed gerbils are prey animals and do not like to walk around the enclosure openly, but if they occasionally come across a shelter they feel a lot safer. They love underground tunnels, for example a terracotta pipe system. Our advice is therefore to have at least two houses for the gerbil. A house where the gerbil can sleep and another one where he can hide.

What is a good exercise wheel for a Fat Tailed Gerbil?

The gerbil exercise wheel is a very important part of the design of the gerbil enclosure. Gerbils are active animals that like to run, often at night. This is because they naturally run a lot during the night in the search for food. So this is, as it were, in their DNA. In addition, scientific research has shown that running on an exercise wheel makes gerbils happy, digestion is promoted and the animals generally remain in good condition.

A running wheel for a Fat-tailed gerbil must have a diameter of at least 28 cm and consist of a closed running surface.

Which bedding is suitable for the Fat-tailed Gerbil?

A portion of sand is important for the Fat-tailed Gerbil, and it is also important that the ground cover is diggable for Gerbils , which means that they can make corridors and holes in it, which preferably remain standing. This can be achieved by choosing ground cover that is already diggable in itself or mixing ground covers with each other so that they can be dug. Examples of excavable ground covers include Humus and Holenzand , but also Cotton & Cotton . A nice mix is, for example, the mix of Cotton & Hemp Fiber , Cotton & Wood Fiber or a mix of Wood Fiber , Hemp Fiber and Hay. Ground covers such as Back 2 Nature are not suitable because animals cannot dig in them. The ideal height of the digging part is between 20 and 30 cm.

Which sandbox is suitable for fat-tailed gerbils?

Fat-tailed gerbils not only like to take a sand bath regularly, but they also really need it, as we have already described above. The ideal distribution of the enclosure is 1/3 sand and the rest a diggable ground cover. Sand has a degreasing and therefore cooling effect. Because sand has a degreasing effect, it also has a drying effect. Animals with skin problems should therefore not be given a sand bath. If the sand dries out the skin too much, it can become itchy, causing the animals to bathe even more. It is therefore important to monitor the bathing behavior of the Gerbils and to remove the sandbox if there are signs of skin problems (red spots, bald spots, scabs, wounds).

Do fat-tailed gerbils build nests?

Fat-tailed gerbils also like to make a nest, so they always need nesting material so that they can line their hole with it. Making a nest is therefore part of the natural behavior of a gerbil. Therefore, always give him 15-25 grams of nesting material. Nesting material must be nice and soft, absorb moisture and have fragile fibers so that the animals cannot become entangled in it. Materials such as cotton, hemp, toilet paper and hay are ideal.

Which Food is good for the Fat-tailed Gerbil?

Fat-tailed gerbils are (unlike other gerbil species) naturally insectivores. You can also see this very clearly from the shape of their snout, which is very pointed. The diet of fat-tailed gerbils must therefore consist largely of animal proteins. Unfortunately, there is no specific food available (yet) for the Fat-tailed gerbil, but fortunately the standard gerbil food supplemented with an insect mix is sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of the Fat-tailed gerbil.

Dental formula: 1003/1003 Orange yellow incisors. (Top to bottom incisors ratio = 1:3) Incisors continue to grow. Molars don't keep growing
Stomach: One-piece stomach with mucosal fold
Caecum: Small caecum with limited ability to process raw fibers. Caecal droppings are only eaten in case of a food shortage

The percentage of crude fiber in the diet should be a maximum of 10% for optimal digestibility and absorption of the diet.

A good diet composition looks like this:

Crude protein (Rp): 14-15.5%
Crude fat (RVe): 4% Susceptible to obesity, as well as obesity
Crude fibers (RVz): 4-7%
Calcium (Ca): 0.6-0.7%
Phosphorus (F): 0.4-0.5% (Ca-F ratio: 1.5: 1)

An optimal protein percentage for growing gerbils appears to be 16%. A magnesium or sodium deficiency can cause baldness and convulsions in Gerbils.

Which gnawing material is good for Fat-tailed Gerbils?

Fat-tailed gerbils have a natural need to gnaw. This is because Gerbils are rodents and have continuously growing incisors. It is therefore necessary that they can gnaw on something to wear down the teeth. If Gerbils have too little opportunity to wear down their teeth, the teeth may become too long or grow crooked, with all the consequences that entails.

Rodents use rodent wood to wear down their teeth. Because rodents' teeth are always growing, they need to be gnawed regularly so that they do not become too long and grow crooked.

Some Gerbils gnaw very actively on gnawing wood and others not at all. On the one hand it is a matter of taste, but on the other hand it is a matter of need. If a Gerbil has no need to gnaw because its teeth are kept at a good length through food, hay or other nibbles, it will gnaw less on wood. It is good to always provide natural gnawing wood so that the animals can always gnaw when they need to gnaw.

How do you recognize dental problems in the Fat-tailed Gerbil?

If you notice that your fat-tailed gerbil is very enthusiastic about taking the food, but then does not eat it, there may be something wrong with its teeth. Drooling can also indicate dental problems. If you suspect that there are dental problems, it is best to contact your veterinarian.

Reproduction of the Fat-tailed Gerbil

Fat-tailed gerbils are solitary animals, they only come together during mating season. Once young are born, the mother takes care of them until they are old enough to leave the nest, which is usually around 5 - 6 weeks.

The female is willing (in heat) and ready to mate every 7 days. This takes about 12 hours. If successful mating has taken place on these days, the young will be born after approximately 19 - 24 days. Females that are older than 6 months and have not yet had a litter usually no longer become pregnant.

The difference between males and females can be seen in the distance between the genital opening and the anus. This distance is greater for a male than for a female.

Sexual maturity : from 8 weeks
Breeding mature: females from 12 weeks
Number of litters : 3-4 per year
Litter size : average 4
Gestation period : 19-24 days
Birth weight : 2 - 2.5 g, nest stayers
Weaning time : from week 5 - 6 weeks

Health of the Fat-tailed Gerbil

Fat-tailed gerbils are generally quite healthy animals. The most common health problems are dental problems, obesity, and skin problems. We recommend checking the teeth regularly to detect any dental problems in a timely manner.

Skin problems can be largely prevented by providing the animals with sufficient and permanent bathing sand.

It is not necessary to treat the animals preventively with anti-parasite. It is not necessary to provide extra vitamins with a complete gerbil diet.

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