One of the comments I get from people, and by “people” I mean both people who own gerbils and people who don’t, is how tame and human my two gerbils seem. “They really think you’re a gerbil,” they’ll say in surprise. “I didn’t know gerbils acted like that!”
Until I started being more involved with the American Gerbil Society, I genuinely thought all gerbils did act like that and people either didn’t know much about gerbils or were flattering me. But when I joined and still had people messaging me going “I know someone who wants to have a relationship with their gerbils like you do, can I give them your contact info?” I realized I might have a tendency to raise unusually friendly gerbils.
For this Valentine’s Day and Tutorial Tuesday, I’ll be sharing with you my rules of socializing gerbils. As a disclaimer, though, I should say this – there is no single right way to socialize your gerbils. Gerbils are significantly less complicated to raise than dogs or children, but like dogs and children, they do have distinct personalities, and those personalities mean that what works on won’t necessarily work on another. If you raise gerbils the way I suggest, you will end up with unnaturally friendly gerbils, but they will also be much, much more needy and reliant on you. If part of what you prize about your gerbils is their independence, socializing gerbils the way I socialize gerbils is not for you. But if you want a gerbil who is deeply bonded to you, here are my rules for how to get there: