This Animal Welfare Foundation three-part video tutorial is from expert veterinary staff demonstrating the correct procedures for handling small mammals for clinical examination and medication. Its aim is to show that the primary consideration should be for the the welfare of the animal. This video guide will show you practical animal handling for a gerbil.
The techniques used to handle small mammals vary slightly with each species, however many of the general principles are the same. When handling all small mammals, a firm but gentle approach is advisable. This tutorial will outline recommended techniques for handling gerbil. The adoption of these techniques will help to minimise stress for the animals and help reduce the risk of bite injuries to the handler.
It is important that animals are aware of the handler's presence before attempting to restrain them, particularly if the animal is initially asleep. This will reduce stress for the animal and help to avoid bite injuries.
Handling and Restraint:
Gerbils and other rodents will often try to evade capture from handlers so removing exercise wheels, cover structures, and other furnishings from the cage prior to attempting to restrain the animals is recommended.
Never restrain gerbils by the tail as the skin of the tail as the skin of the tail is delicate and tends to tear easily. Gerbils should be cupped using one or two hands, or can be scruffed.
Handling for Injection:
Common routes for injection include the intraperitoneal and subcutaneous routes. As with all small mammals, small hypodermic needle should be used for injection and the volume of substance should be minimized.
These videos were made by the AHWLA (Assessing the Health and Welfare of Laboratory Animals).