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We adopted a pair of gerbils from our local shelter a few weeks ago. It's been 30+ years since I have had gerbils. Back then enrichment was not really common beyond some bedding to shred and tubes to chew. Among their in-cage enrichment, we got them a small sand bath similar to the one pictured below. They seem to enjoy bathing in the sand and particularly using the sandbox as a bathroom. There is almost no odor at all from the cage as a result.

The packaging of the sand says that gerbils and hamsters only need to bathe a few times a week. We are wondering if there are downsides to leaving it in their cage all the time.

Can they bathe too often? We clean out the feces and sand clumped from urine twice a day, so it is clean most of the time and replace the sand completely each time the cage is changed. Most of the concerns about leaving the box int he cage all the time (e.g., here) seem to suggest soiling the sand.

Sandbox

  • Well, at least in this kind of bath there is no risk of them drowning :P – JAD Apr 13 '18 at 7:34
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I think you should be fine leaving it in the cage. I've had gerbils and dwarf hamsters where I left their sand baths in the cages with no ill effect (I replaced the sand frequently as well).

You've mentioned you clean the sand daily and completely replace it from time to time, which is key. It's true they only need to bathe a few times a week but I don't think they will bathe "too often". Even when they have a constant supply of sand they will still only bathe when they feel like they need to. Like you mentioned, most are concerned because they soil the sand and may run the risk of infection/spreading disease to house-mates down the road.

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