Burrowing Box: a Tour of current Gerbil set up

AND this is my 50th post!

burrow box set up

I know, I know. Gerbils would probably be happiest with a tank full of substrate to burrow in. The longer and higher the better. But I think as Gerbils also love a change up in their environment to stave off boredom that having a burrow box now and then is good fun. So, I found a sizable and sturdy, thick cardboard box (mine seem to never have an interest in chewing through thick cardboard) and filled it up all the way with substrate and put a piece of driftwood on top so they’d have the “roots” to burrow between and under like in the natural environment and then left the rest of the place low level substrate, place their sand bath in there, and some tunnels and such. On top of that is a gigantic piece of driftwood to climb and perch and use as a ladder to get in and out of their burrowing box.

Well, I wasn’t too surprised but they love it! They have been spending a great deal of time in and out of their burrow box and climbing and jumping off and onto their driftwood “tree” and running about their flat area. And the sand box was an addition a week ago when I changed out their substrate completely and did a clean. They go to the bathroom in that just like my hamsters. So, now I have litter trained Gerbils! They also (like the hamsters) enjoy to groom in the box and do their zen type meditation it seems. Gosh I love these guys!

I also placed a lot of things for them to chew up and gnaw on within their burrowing box and tossed a handful of food for them to forage about inside. Having it so contained (smaller but much deeper burrowing space is much more fun for them so far. Pretty much, I think it’s mainly the idea that Gerbils like to have change to keep it exciting and the newness of this is making them come alive again.

Making these Gerbils happy and playful is always such a high light of my day. They had such dismal beginnings and now I feel like I’m giving them so much.

Let Mercury give you the tour of the sandbox/aka litter box, the food/treat bowl (a terra cotta pot), the overlook (very top of the driftwood), and now entering the burrowing box.


I tell my husband often – if these guys are so much fun can you imagine “normal” gerbils? Meaning – gerbils who were socialized and had more humane beginnings than these guys? The type who are more tame and hop on your arm and want to explore outside the tank and get to know their people? We’ve come a long way. And I know that by the end of this year we’ll have come and even longer way. Will it get to the point they are so tame they are hitch a ride on my shoulder? I don’t know. Maybe they never will. And that’s okay. If I didn’t have children I’d spend so much free time with them that they probably would have overcome quite more in a shorter period of time. At the same time the activity of my oldest child running about has done it’s job in getting them less skittish of our movement too. Without children I’d be working somewhere else all day.


6 thoughts on “Burrowing Box: a Tour of current Gerbil set up

  1. I had to tell someone I knew would understand my excitement. I scored my gerbils a 55-gallon aquarium for $40 off Craigslist today. I can’t wait to clean it and make a screen top. I found your blog through Hamster Central. I used your tutorial to make a cage out of a Christmas tree bin, and I also adopted my first hamster today.

    • I am so excited for you!!!A 55 gallon for 40 is a steal. I already want a bigger tank for my guys. I would love to see pictures of both your bin and tank set up for your critters. How is it going with your new hammy?

      • Well he’s using his wheel, eating, drinking and sleeping in his new wooden house, but overnight, he found the plastic wheel wells in the bin and chewed on one. I put up some playpen bars so he can’t get back to the wheel wells – I hope – until I can figure out how to wall them off permanently.

        Of course, with the 55-gallon tank sitting in the garage, I’m now wondering if I should move him into it, put my topper back on the gerbils’ 20-gallon tall and keep my open for another tank deal.

        I decided to upgrade the gerbils’ tank because I didn’t like the topper. They used it as a toilet, and the pee and poop ran done the outside of the tank.

        I might be able to solve that with a mason jar. I’ve read on The Gerbil Forum that if you do that, they’ll use it as a toilet.

        I’m torn.

        I may have to save up for a cage like the one you have for Penny.

        Is it escape proof?

      • A couple weeks ago after setting up a burrowing box so that I could have lower level substrate and driftwood on the other half of their tank – I was able to fit in a vintage rice pot (metal) and fill it with sand and they poo and wee in that pot! It’s a little tall but not so tall they can’t get in but high enough that they aren’t kicking a bunch of substrate into it or burying it. Now if I didn’t do the burrow box and the entire tank was for their burrowing that pot would be completely buried by now.

        I have so many ideas of what to do for their set up – but it requires measurements and making time for the hardware store. Something that seems impossible lately.

        Penny’s cage – the mamble/ferret kit 100 is escape proof in my opinion. It’s really big though – most people are shocked by how it’s bigger than they expected but you get so used to it eventually that it doesn’t seem all that big anymore. Also you need to use hammocks so they don’t fall because it is tall. But as for escaping – that cage is perfect for a Syrian. Half inch bar spacing and the base is nice and sturdy. It’s a well made cage. Totally worth the price. THe price seems to rise and fall. The other day the large on Amazon was 112 which is the lowest I’ve seen it in awhile. I got mine for 103. If it would fall back to that or lower I might buy another for Bob though he’s so damn clumsy which was why I took him out of it to begin with (had a fall) but I just feel bad that one is in the mansion and the other in a much smaller (though ample) cage. Not to knock the KEvin 82. Just – compared to the Ferret Kit/Mamble it’s just much smaller.

        The ferret kit cage in Medium is like the Kevin 82 in length but taller. I’ve considered that one as well because it has decent floor space but you can add levels and hammocks and not have it take up as much space as the large. But price wise right now there is only a difference of a few dollars for the two so it’s worth it to get the bigger if only for that!

        Well, I hope that you can figure out something for your hammy because it would be awesome for your gerbils to get that 55 gallon!!! Hopefully another deal with come your way for them too!!

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