Any materials used for gerbil bedding should be digestible and non-fibrous. The following are commonly used choices for bedding materials:
- Pelleted/Chipped Paper Product Litter - Litter (pelleted or chipped) made from paper products is absorbent and is generally considered the safest type of bedding.
- Wood Shavings - Wood shavings are often used, and Aspen shavings are recommended. Cedar (some experts also say pine) shavings should not be used because they give off fumes that can cause nasal and bronchial irritation in your gerbil.
- Shredded Paper - Shredded paper is also suitable as bedding, but shredded newspaper should not be used because of the inks contained that type of paper.
- Dirt - Gerbils are sometimes housed in large aquariums filled with dirt, which reproduces a natural environment, and encourages gerbils to build intricate tunnels. Disadvantages of this method: gerbils are not easily reached for handling or examination, and a gerbil can die unnoticed in a tunnel.
In addition to bedding, your gerbil requires nesting material, which he will gather and make into a nest in which to sleep. Selection of bedding material is of utmost importance, because gerbils may die or be injured as a result of some unsafe commercial nesting products. Any materials used for gerbil nesting material must be digestible and non-fibrous.
- Paper Tissue - Shredded paper tissue, toilet paper or paper towels (unscented) are a safe choice for bedding material, and they are also inexpensive and readily available.
- Paper Nesting Product - Commercial nesting material (e.g. Paper Wool) made of paper is widely available. It is safe and gerbils seem to prefer it.
- Recycled Paper - This is a coarser nesting product, which is made of recycled paper and is also safe and popular with gerbils.
- Meadow Hay - Meadow hay and dried grass can be used as gerbil bedding, but anything that is used must not have been sprayed with chemicals.
- Fluffy Commercial Nesting Material - Do not use these materials! Many brands of fluffy cotton-type nesting materials sold in pet stores are unsafe for your gerbil: they have led to gerbil deaths by choking and intestinal blockage. They have also caused lost limbs by getting wound around a gerbil's legs and feet and cutting off the blood supply, thus "killing" the limb.
- Other Materials - Do not use fabric
scraps, but shredded cardboard is safe. When deciding what to use, keep in mind
that anything you use must be digestible and non-fibrous.