Mongolian Gerbils were first introduced to the pet industry in 1964. Their value as pets was soon appreciated and they are now found in pet shops around the world. It is illegal to purchase, import, or keep a gerbil as a pet in some areas due to the threat they pose to indigenous ecosystems and existing agricultural operations.
A common misunderstanding when purchasing a home for pet gerbils is that they can live in housing designed for hamsters and mice. This type of housing is unsuitable as they require the ability to be able to dig tunnel systems. The plastic structures of hamster and mouse cages are inappropriate for gerbils as they can gnaw through it very quickly. Plastic can cause serious health issues for the animal if ingested, therefore many owners refrain from having any plastic in the tank and rely entirely on wooden toys. While there is conflicting information from gerbil societies regarding habitat size, a common rule of thumb for aquaria is 10 imperial gallons per gerbil.