Gerbils are very active animals, and they need an entertaining environment. Let your imagination be your guide.
A four by four makes a great toy. Have several large holes drilled through it. Ask whether the lumberyard will do the cutting and drilling for you. They are also cheap, as you can use scrap pieces. This will provide the gerbils with entertainment and a great chew toy.
WARNING: Be sure that the lumber is not treated!
Special wooden play/chew toys can be purchase at pet stores in the shape of cheese wedges or treasure chests.
Every time you finish off a roll of toilet paper add it to the aquarium. The gerbils will run in and out of the tube before settling down to a good gnaw. They love it, but within a few hours it will be shredded. For those having multiple tanks, you might find yourself getting these from family, friends, co-workers…anywhere you can to keep your gerbils “in cardboard”. Heavier cardboard boxes work well to climb on and nest in and will last longer.
You can use traditional wire hamster wheel in your aquariums. BUT… there are several precautions that must be taken before using them with your gerbil! First, to save on room hang the wheels from the wire tank lid. This keeps it three to four inches off the tank floor. A simple way to attach the wheel to the tank lid is by using twist ties. They work well, and are easily removed.
Second, tightly cover the outside of the wheel with a heavy masking tape (but not plastic or anything with embedded threads). Then carefully coat the inside of the wheel with bedding. This covers up the tape, and prevents the gerbil’s feet from sticking. See picture below.
Some gerbils love their wheel, and play in it for hours! Others are will have nothing to do with the wheel.
WARNING: Tails can get caught in uncovered wheels and be amputated.