Ferret vs Gerbil

Ferrets Vs Gerbils: The Difference

We often consider small animals such as ferrets and gerbils to be similar to each other, but the two species have many differences in their behaviour and habitat preferences. Here is a comparison of ferrets vs gerbils.


Ferrets are native to North American deserts, prairies and fields, anywhere with plenty of food and undergrowth to provide shelter. They can thrive in captivity as long as they get regular activity, mental stimulation and ample space. Gerbils, on the other hand, are native to southern Asia and can survive in arid or desert regions, such as the Mongolian desert. They prefer to burrow in away from the elements, and in captivity they prefer a regular exercise wheel and plenty of hiding places.

Activity Level:

Ferrets are very active animals, playing and exploring throughout their environment. They need regular activity and aerobic exercise to stay healthy and physically fit. Gerbils, on the other hand, can be more sedentary, preferring to scavenge for food and burrow into their environment.

Social Interaction:

Ferrets are social animals, that is, they prefer to live in groups, though they can live happily and comfortably alone. Gerbils are much more independent, but still need to interact with one another in order to remain healthy.


Ferrets are omnivorous, meaning they eat both meat and vegetation. They should have a balanced diet of wet food, dry food and treats. Gerbils are also omnivorous, but prefer to eat a diet of dried and crunchy foods such as nuts, seeds, and pellets.

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Dust Baths:

Ferrets often take dust baths, which involve rolling in the dust to clean their coats. Gerbils do not take dust baths, but they are adept climbers and will sometimes climb the walls of their enclosures, looking for escape routes.


Ferrets and gerbils both make wonderful pets, but their natural behaviour and needs can vary greatly. From their habitat preferences and social interaction to their diets and dust baths, there are distinct differences between the two. When considering either a ferret or gerbil as a pet, it is important to understand the differences between the two to ensure a happy and healthy pet.