Whenever we think about healthy food a salad is the first thing that comes to mind, and when you think salad, you’re thinking lettuce as a primary ingredient.
No two people would argue how good lettuce is for a healthy diet but is it the same for gerbils, can gerbils eat lettuce?
Unfortunately, gerbils should not eat lettuce, the water content in it is too high about 96%, gerbils being desert rodents have adapted to feeding on plants that contain very little water content so their bodies can not handle a water-rich food and will cause them diarrhea.
All water-rich foods are not a good food for gerbils, they sure are very nutritious, but gerbils just can’t handle them well.
It is very important to look for healthy fruits and vegetables to balance your gerbil’s diet but it’s not as important as choosing the best and safest brand for their main diet.
We recommend feeding your gerbils the Oxbow Garden Select Fortified Food (check current price at Amazon), it’s made of natural ingredients and it’s in the form of pellets which is great for gerbils that tend to get picky hen served seeds.
Can baby gerbils eat lettuce?
From the age of three to five weeks, newborn gerbils open their eyes and their teeth are ready to gnaw on solid food, however, they start to gradually mouth on food and keep feeding primarily on their mom’s milk.
Gerbil babies are weaned at the age of five weeks and can eat solid food like hay and seeds, but they have very sensitive tummies and can not handle water-rich foods like lettuce.
Gerbils are considered adults at the age of eight weeks and can eat whatever you’re feeding adult gerbils, but still, a large quantity of lettuce will probably cause them diarrhea.
Do gerbils eat lettuce in the wild?
Like we’ve explained earlier gerbils are considered desert species, hint the surname desert rats, meaning that their natural habitat has an arid climate.
In the desert where gerbils live the temperatures fluctuate extremely between night and day and summer and winter.
In this arid climate, it’s almost impossible for any water-rich vegetation to grow, if it does not freeze by the cold and very low temperatures it will get sunburned by the heat.
That’s why lettuce is never a food that gerbils will encounter in their natural habitat.
Is lettuce safe for gerbils?
The gerbil’s body has adapted perfectly to the arid climate in which it lives, it can survive on very little water found in the vegetation it consumes.
Gerbils keep most of the little water they get, that’s why they don’t pee very often and their feces are very dry, that’s why gerbils do no smell and make great and clean pets.
Gerbils are not used to consuming lettuce and all foods that have a high water content in the wild that’s why they generally get diarrhea when they do.
However, in very small quantities and when a gerbil is dehydrated, it is fine to feed gerbils lettuce.
Is lettuce good for gerbils?
Lettuce is brimming with good nutrients and it’s surely a healthy food just not for gerbils, it contains a lot of important nutrients but all of these can be found in other foods gerbils can eat.
Lettuce is a good source of vitamin A, it also has small amounts of vitamin C and iron.
lettuce is low in fiber but has high amounts of minerals, such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium.
The amounts of nutrients will vary depending on the variety of the lettuce as everyone is different, but what they have in common is the high water content.
That’s why gerbils can not eat lettuce although it contains a good variety of nutrients.
Do gerbils like lettuce?
Gerbils generally would eat anything you give them but they like crunchy and fatty foods like sunflower seeds.
If given a choice gerbils would not pick lettuce over other foods like seeds but they’ll eat it any way that’s why they should never have access to food they should not eat.
Gerbils love to gnaw on food and leaf vegetables like lettuce are not their favorites.
How much lettuce can gerbils eat?
Lettuce contains a lot of water and it’s not a good idea to feed it to gerbils especially in large quantities or as a primary food.
Lettuce will cause gerbils diarrhea if consumed in large quantities but in small quantities, it is not dangerous.
Lettuce can be fed to gerbils that suffer from dehydration, but not in small portions, other than that it is best to never feed it to your gerbils at all.
How often can gerbils eat lettuce?
Like we’ve explained earlier it’s never a good idea to feed your gerbils lettuce even in small quantities unless they are dehydrated.
So, gerbils should avoid lettuce all the time and never consume it to avoid any digestive problems like diarrhea.
Lettuce nutrient factsVitamins
|Folic acid||0.00 mcg|
|Pantothenic acid||0.142 mg|
|Vitamin A||8710.00 IU|
|Vitamin A, RAE||436.00 mcg|
|Carotene, alpha||0.00 mcg|
|Carotene, beta||5226.00 mcg|
|Cryptoxanthin, beta||0.00 mcg|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||2312.00 mcg|
|Vitamin B12||0.00 mcg|
|Vitamin B12, added||0.00 mcg|
|Vitamin B6||0.074 mg|
|Vitamin C||4.0 mg|
|Vitamin D||0.00 mcg|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.13 mg|
|Vitamin E, added||0.00 mg|
|Tocopherol, beta||0.00 mg|
|Tocopherol, delta||0.01 mg|
|Tocopherol, gamma||0.36 mg|
|Tocotrienol, alpha||0.04 mg|
|Tocotrienol, beta||0.00 mg|
|Tocotrienol, delta||0.00 mg|
|Tocotrienol, gamma||0.00 mg|
|Vitamin K||102.5 mcg|
|Calcium, Ca||33.00 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.048 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.97 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||14.00 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||0.155 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||30.00 mg|
|Potassium, K||247.00 mg|
|Selenium, Se||0.4 mcg|
|Sodium, Na||8.00 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.23 mg|
|Aspartic acid||0.139 g|
|Glutamic acid||0.178 g|
|Phenylalanine + Tyrosine||0.09 g|
|Methionine + Cysteine||0.015 g|
|Glucose (dextrose)||0.39 g|
|Saturated fatty acids||0.039 g|
|Butanoic acid||0.000 g|
|Decanoic acid||0.000 g|
|Dodecanoic acid||0.000 g|
|Hexadecanoic acid||0.035 g|
|Hexanoic acid||0.000 g|
|Octadecanoic acid||0.005 g|
|Octanoic acid||0.000 g|
|Tetradecanoic acid||0.000 g|
|Monounsaturated fatty acids||0.012 g|
|Docosenoic acid||0.000 g|
|Eicosenoic acid||0.000 g|
|Hexadecenoic acid||0.003 g|
|Octadecenoic acid||0.009 g|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acids||0.160 g|
|Eicosatetraenoic acid||0.000 g|
|Octadecadienoic acid||0.047 g|
|Octadecatetraenoic acid||0.000 g|
|Octadecatrienoic acid||0.113 g|
|Fatty acids, total trans||0.000 g|
Ways gerbils can eat lettuce
Lettuce is usually consumed raw in salads with other ingredients and seasoning, and it can sometimes be eaten as a soup.
In any form or shape lettuce contains too much water for gerbils to consume, so it’s better to avoid it especially if mixed with other ingredients.
Are there any lettuce varieties gerbils can eat?
There are many varieties of lettuce that can be found in food stores and markets all around the world.
These varieties can be different in shape and colors, leaf lettuce, romaine, iceberg, and butterhead are the most popular.
In terms of nutrients they can be similar with some variations in the amounts of nutrients found in these varieties but what they all have in common is the percentage of water content.
That is why gerbils can not eat any variety of lettuce in any form or shape.
What parts of the lettuce can gerbils eat?
Lettuce is most often grown as a leaf vegetable, but sometimes for its stem and seeds, none of these parts are good for gerbils to eat.
Although, in the wild gerbils can consume the roots of some plants, but lettuce which has long, narrow taproots is no good for them.
The whole plant is not poisonous for gerbils but like all water-rich plants, it’s hard for gerbils to digest it.
Conclusion: can gerbils eat lettuce
- Gerbils can not eat lettuce because it contains too much water.
- Baby gerbils can not eat lettuce.
- Gerbils do not eat lettuce in their natural habitat.
- Gerbils can not eat any part of the lettuce plant.
- Gerbils cannot eat any variety of lettuce.
- Gerbils cannot eat raw lettuce or in any form cooked or as a soup.
Other foods gerbils can eat
- Apples (without seeds)
- Almonds (not bitter almonds)
- Green beans