Hello! Recently, I post a temporary plastic shelter in my gerbils' tank for them until I could get a new wooden one. They've started to chew on the plastic one even though I put new toys in their tank for them to chew on, what could I use as a substitute for the gerbils until I could get a new shelter in a day or two?
I don't usually give my gerbils store bought shelters, they get multiple boxes big enough to sleep in (empty pasta, cracker, cereal, tissue, etc. boxes). They destroy some but always keep one intact enough to use as a sleeping place.
I've never given my gerbils boxes with printing on them: I don't know what's in the ink, and it could potentially be toxic (at least mildly so). Even with boxes made for food, regulations are generally laxer for surfaces that don't have direct food contact.
Obviously it is up to you with your own standards (I myself am quite fussy on the source of my cardboard) but I have been using food cartons for my gerbils for many decades and haven't noticed anything untoward throughout that entire time.
I do avoid freezer boxes, medicine boxes, egg boxes and anything dirty or contaminated with anything or anything containing any garden chemicals or equipment.
I also only use cartons that are from what I class as 'clean' places, so I don't use posted cardboard, warehouse cardboard or 'from a market' cardboard or anything I think couldn't have been stored on an 'outdoor' floor (including sheds, garages, etc).
I even at one point wasn't sure about using 'donated' toilet roll inners as unless they only use a wall roller, they have been touched inside or possibly dropped on the bathroom floor very close to the toilet? I'm still not 100% sure on these guys?
My gerbils often set up nest at the back of a giant cereal box - until they decide to chew so close to it that it collapses (twits)...
Is corrugated cardboard okay? I read somewhere (can't remember where) it may contain glues which could be contaminated with bacteria. I have used it before, with no apparent ill effects. I no longer give it my gerbils, (except cardboard bedding specifically produced for small animals), but I don't know if I'm being a bit too fussy!
Edit: I no longer use donated toilet roll inners either, it conjures up some rather disturbing images! I do use donated Kitchen roll inners.
I don't use corrugated cardboard because I've heard the glue thing too. Once in a blue moon I've given them some, but rarely. I have no fears about the food boxes though, I don't know that we'd survive without them lol. In any event they can't be too dangerous or I imagine my gerbils wouldn't be with us any longer.
I don't think I really see corrugated cardboard (unless that is the same as the postal cardboard?).
But then I think any cardboard could have glue in it - we really wouldn't know - but they don't EAT the cardboard anyways, so like you said Thelodar - there would be a lot less gerbils if it was a problem!
Yes, I remember those rolls being recommended! I have used corrugated cardboard from packaging in the past, not the outer cardboard box, but the bits you often find inside the box. Sometimes they were ready made tunnels. 99 % of the time it probably is okay to give corrugated cardboard and toilet roll inners to gerbils unless they're clearly dirty. I've never heard of gerbils being made ill by them but I'm a bit more cautious now. I think it depends where you get them from, if it's from a few trusted friends and family or if some have been collected from people you don't really know.
Yes, someone used to give me bagfulls from their work toilet which was used by the public too (eewww...) - and they were all loose in a pile in the loos - not on a roller!
I didn't stop taking them from them though as they would always give me other more usefull cardboard and shredded paper too in separate bags. Didn't want to start getting picky with them incase they stopped giving me any AT ALL.
I just threw to the toilet rolls in the recycling at home.