gerbils eat insects!!
I said elsewhere, gerbils eat seeds but are also omnivorous. This means
that they may also eat other things like insects. Insects are a very
good source of proteins. But don't worry, they are not obligatory. If
you want to feed insects to your gerbils, go on reading.
is good for the gerbils?
Crickets and mealworm are the easiest ones to
breed and find in pet stores. Don't take the ones you find outdoors
around your house. With pesticides and all the chemicals found outside,
use the ones sold in pet stores.
to find them?
In most petshop or any place that sell reptiles.
You can buy them in bulk (you decide the quantities) or in box of 50 or
The mealworm, also called, Tenebrio, has an
average length of 1,5cm and has 6 small legs. They are not worms; they are the
larvae of the tenebrio, a black beetle. When adult, this coleopter is black or
dark shiny brown. Even if they have wings, they rarely fly. They are most of the
time, slow insects and won't escape too fast, even if you let their container
open. Before becoming an adult, the insect goes trough a transformation stage
called "Pupae". At this stage, the insect is in a kind of shell. They
are white/yellow and motionless. They will only move their tail if they are
is the different stage of the Tenebrio
- Pupae - Adult
Do not give pupae or adults to your gerbils.
- A plastic container or a glass jar. Make a hole on the top
of it (3-4 cm wide) and place a piece of mosquito net on the opening. If
you only drill holes in the cover, the air circulation won't be enough and
the worm will die.
- Dry plain oat for food. You can add fish food or any dust
of dry food for pets that you have. This will increase the nutritive value
of the mealworm.
- A piece of fruit or vegetable for water. (Once a week,
taken out the same day)
You can also place a piece of facial tissue in the container
and poor some drop of water on it just to make some humidity. Do this some
times a week.
Tenebrio larva or mealworm.
Place 2-4 cm of oat (and fish meal) at the bottom
of the container. Place the larva and add the fruit or the wet facial tissue.
Place your container in a tempered and dark place. (Not totally dark, but not in
the sun either) After a while, you'll see the white pupae and then some black
beetle. The adults will give you eggs and then very small worms after 2 months
This can be very long before you can see very
small worm crawl around. You may need many containers to obtain a big mealworm
hold your mealworm with something. Your gerbil may be so happy to have mealworms
that they may grab your fingers!
My gerbils do enjoy mealworms a lot! They become totally wild when they "hunt"
crickets may be a littel more complicated then mealworm, but the result
are seen faster. Crickets are jumping insects that normaly live hidden
the durt and under dead vegetation. They are vegeterian and will eat
pretty much everything. Leaves, dead wood, seeds, fruits, etc. Females
can be identified by the long tube they have on their abdomen. This is
not a stinger, this is a ovipositor, a tube used to borrow the eggs in
the soil. Male don't have that. Once adult, both will have wings even if
they don't fly. Males will use their wings to sing. The noise can become
a problem. Feeling like living in a crop field all year long can disturb
more then one! You can keep them in a room you don't use often.
the left, a female and on the right, a male.
Here are 2 videos of gerbils eating
and chasing crickets.