Most pet owners want their pets to be as comfortable as possible.
Often this means trying to match our pet’s environment to one they would experience in the wild, that’s especially true with small pets where we can control their whole little ecosystem within their enclosure.
I’ve seen people interested in giving their pets a more natural way to drink, rather than out of the little metal tube of a water bottle.
In this article, I’m looking at water bowls for gerbils, whether gerbils can use water bowls and what the advantages and disadvantages are of using a water bowl instead of a water bottle for your gerbil
Gerbils can drink from water bowls. Water bowls provide a more natural drinking method for gerbils and they put less strain on their neck than a water bottle might. However, water bowls can get contaminated quickly so the water must be refreshed often.
Is it better for a gerbil to drink from a bowl or bottle
I’ll start by saying that the most important thing here is hygine.
If you don’t think you’ll be able to keep on top of making sure your gerbils water bowl is alsoways fresh then just use a bottle.
90% of gerbil owners will find it way easier to use a bottle.
Water bowls do have advantages, but they can get contaminated very easily.
Water bottles much lower maintenance, but they aren’t as natural for the gerbil.
Advantages of a water bowl for gerbils
- They offer a more natural way to drink
- They reduce the strain on the neck of your gerbil
- Gerbils can quickly and easily drink from water bowls
Disadvantages of a water bowl for gerbils
- They can get dirty and contaminated very quickly
- The water needs to be refreshed very often, around twice a day
- Contaminated water can harm your gerbil
- The water can splash into the cage and bedding causing mess
Advantages of a water bottle for gerbils
- The water will remain fresh for much longer
- Little chance of the water getting contaminated
- The water can’t splash into the cage.
Disadvantages of a water bottle for gerbils
- They can be more difficult for the gerbil to drink from
- It takes the gerbil longer to get the required amount of water
- It can put a strain on your gerbil’s neck
Best type of water bowl for a gerbil
If you’re looking to try a bowl for your gerbil then there are some which work better than others.
You should consider these three factors when looking for an appropriate bowl:
- Weight – Ceramic bowls work the best as they can be shoved around as easily
- Height – Will your gerbil be able to reach over to the bowl easily
Light bowls made from plastic and aluminum can be easily moved around and that could cause the water to splash out of the bowl, or it might even be completely toppled over.
The best bowls for weight are made from heavy materials like ceramic.
However, it’s pretty difficult to find cermaic bowls with low enough sides for your gerbil to easily reach over.
Your gerbil should be able to drink the water without having to put their feet in the water itself.
The easiest item to use would be an aluminum tray. The downside is that it could be easily pushed around.
As a solution, you could place heavy objects around the tray, or even screw a few small screws into the platform around the tray.
How often does a gerbil water bowl need new water
The major downside to using a water bowl for your gerbil compared with a bottle is that the water can quickly become contaminated.
You will probably need to replace the water twice a day. Once a day would be an absolute minimum.
You’ll even often have to replace it more than that if it does become contaminated in-between.
To reduce the chances of contamination I would recommend placing the bowl on the highest platform in the cage. Make sure it’s secure so it can’t be pushed off and soak all the bedding.
If you don’t think you’ll have the time to change the water twice a day most days then I would recommend using a water bottle instead.
How to teach a gerbil to drink from a bowl
This is the easy bit.
Gerbils should instinctively drink from a water bowl.
If your gerbil still has access to a water bottle they may continue to use that for a few days, since animals tend to continue with what they know.
However, eventually they should give the water bowl a try.
You might want to place your gerbil near the bowl when you first introduce it to their cage so they can investigate it straight away, you could even splash the water a little with your finger.
Summary – Can Gerbils Drink From a Bowl
Gerbils can drink from a water bowl. This is a natural way for them to drink and puts less strain on their neck than drinking from a water bottle.
The main question to ask yourself before switching to a water bowl is will you be able to ensure the water doesn’t become contaminated.
You’ll probably need to replace the water twice a day most days, so if you don’t think you’ll have the time to do that you should stick with a water bottle for your gerbil.
For most gerbil owners, especially if young children will be looking after them, I would recommend using a water bottle as it is much easier and safer in the long term.