Can Gerbils Eat Celery?

Can gerbils eat celery

Celery is a vegetable that's loved by people around the world. This vegetable is loaded with large amounts of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, in addition to many vitamins and minerals. Some of the most prominent nutrients in celery are vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. With all of the health benefits that come with celery, you may be wondering: Can gerbils eat celery?

Due to a gerbil's sensitive digestive system, you can feed your gerbils celery, but only in small amounts. Celery contains a lot of water, so large amounts of it can be dangerous or fatal to gerbils.

What Do Gerbils Eat In The Wild?

To better understand whether gerbils can eat celery or not, it helps to know what they naturally eat in the wild. Gerbils have only been kept as pets for a short amount of time, so that means that they've been roaming free around Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia for thousands of years. Throughout these years, the gerbil's digestive system has become fine-tuned to efficiently process the food that they encounter most frequently.

This is why it's important to match your gerbil's diet to what they'd eat in the wild -- it's what their digestive systems are optimized for!

Gerbils are commonly referred to as omnivores, but they tend to stick to a primarily herbivorous diet. This means that gerbils can and do eat a variety of different foods, but they eat an overwhelming majority of plant matter. Due to this, gerbils are able to get all of their essential nutrients through a healthy mix of grains, vegetables, and fruits.

When in the wild, gerbils scavenge for their food and eat basically anything that they can find. While the exact diet of a wild gerbil varies depending on their region, they all stick to the same general types of food. The most common foods in a gerbil's diet are insects, bulbs, grasses, roots, fruits, seeds, nuts, and bird eggs.

Health Benefits & Dangers Of Celery

After looking at the natural diet of a gerbil, it makes sense why gerbils would be okay with eating some celery every once in a while. Gerbils don't necessarily have much access to celery specifically, but they can eat many fruits and vegetables that are similar.

One thing that you may notice about a gerbil's diet is that it's fairly dry. There are not many foods that gerbils eat regularly that have a high water content. Gerbils drink about 4ml of water a day, which can quite easily be surpassed by eating some foods that have a high water content. Unfortunately, celery is a vegetable that contains very large amounts of water.

Excess water consumption in gerbils can cause quite a few problems. Too much water in a gerbil's body can dilute the sodium and electrolytes in their body, resulting in hyponatremia. In addition to that, too much water can cause diarrhea, which can actually dehydrate a gerbil. Both of these scenarios can result in death, so excess water consumption needs to be avoided at all costs.

Despite these downsides, celery still makes for a nice snack in moderation. Gerbils seem to love the taste of celery, and the texture is also quite interesting and fun to bite into. On top of that, the nutrients that come with celery are still beneficial, despite the fact that gerbils can't process them extremely well.

How To Properly Feed Gerbils Celery

The main reason why celery isn't the best snack for gerbils is its high water content. Gerbils only need a small amount of water per day, and celery can easily give them way more water than their bodies can handle. So, celery can be a great snack to change things up, but it must be fed in moderation and with caution.

In terms of the amount and frequency of feedings, a small amount of celery given 2-3 times per week is generally a safe amount. When feeding gerbils celery, it helps if you cut it into very small pieces so that it's easy and safe for them to eat.

If you do choose to feed your gerbils celery, you first need to make sure that all of their dietary needs are being met. Although celery does have a good amount of nutrients, it's nowhere near a staple food in a gerbil's diet.

The most important aspect of a gerbil's diet is its high-quality seed mixture. This is the staple food of a gerbil's diet because it provides most of their essential nutrients in a very diverse and tasty mixture. Once you've ensured that your gerbil is meeting all of its nutritional requirements, then you focus on what treats to give them to supplement their diet.

Although vegetables are generally okay to feed to gerbils once a day, celery is so high in water content that it should be fed at about the frequency of fruit, which is 2-3 times per week. You may be able to feed your gerbils celery more frequently, but you should always err on the side of caution.

Good Celery Alternatives For Gerbils

Because celery contains so much water and doesn't deliver too many nutrients in a gerbil-sized serving, it's better to give your gerbil other foods as treats. There are, unfortunately, not many gerbil treats that exist on the market. Gerbils can nibble on treats meant for hamsters, but shouldn't eat them frequently at all. Instead, simply feed your gerbil some healthier fruits and vegetables as a more viable treat.