Can I Use Shredded Paper For Gerbil Bedding? {What Are My Options?}

Would you like to use shredded paper for your gerbil’s bedding? What are your bedding options and which is the best? In this article, we’ll find out if shredded paper is a good option for gerbil bedding.

Can I Use Shredded Paper For Gerbil Bedding? Yes. Keep away from heavily inked paper. Gerbils chew bedding and you don’t want them ingesting the ink off the paper. Shredded paper is also not as absorbent as many other options available. 

What Is The Best Bedding For Gerbils?

The best bedding would be a combination of multiple types of substrates for your gerbil to rest or build tunnels. Look for a bedding that is:

  • ingestible
  • free of toxic chemicals 
  • clean without any dust
  • combined with hay, paper and aspen shavings
  • 6 inches thick
  • Easily replaceable every 3-4 weeks

Why Do Gerbils Need Bedding?

Gerbils need bedding to support a clean and comfortable environment for them to live healthy and satisfying lives in your home.

Bedding provides:

  • comfort for rest or activity
  • absorb waste and water
  • allow gerbils to build tunnels and nests
  • keeps gerbils warm
  • maintains a clean cage
  • adds safety from injuries on hard surfaces

Why Should I Use Gerbil Bedding?

Without bedding, your gerbil may have nothing to do. Imagine a gerbil in a cage that just sits there. Boredom and depression may result.

Now think of a gerbil building burrows, munching, playing and creating nests with durable bedding options ranging from paper to hay.

Certain bedding options may cause your gerbil to feel:

  • skin irritation
  • allergic
  • digestion issues

What Are Some Gerbil Bedding Options?

Paper is the easiest option and one that can be created instead of bought. If you have a slightly larger budget and wish to keep your gerbil as happy as can be, consider your options below:

  • Hemp
  • Hay
  • Corn cob
  • Potting soil
  • Sand
  • Aspen Shavings
  • Shredded paper


Hemp is a natural choice that is easily kept free of dust. It absorbs liquids and waste. The price is higher than paper of course, but you can mix it together or blend it with many other bedding options.


Hay is easily ingested and it’s clean. The warmth it provides keeps your gerbils cozy. The scent of hay is pleasing. Hay is recommended to be mixed with other beddings.

Corn Cob

Corn cob is easy to compost after cleaning. It’s a cheaper option, but keeps away odors. Gerbils have difficulty burrowing in corn cob bedding, but it’s possible to mix this with hemp, hay or paper.

Potting Soil

Gerbils will enjoy building tunnels with peaty soil. It’s packs heavily and keeps gerbils cool on warm days. Fungus can grow on it if left for too long. Potting soil can get messy.


Gerbils are naturally adapted in sandy settings. They are able to stay clean from germs, dirt and debris when using sand as a tool for bathing instead of water. Sand can get messy as well and it doesn’t help much with odors.

Aspen Shavings

Aspen shavings are present in many brands of gerbil or hamster bedding. Cheaper brands may irritate the skin of your gerbil. The scent is nice and detracts odors quite well. It is not as expensive as hemp.

Shredded Paper

Shredded paper is a very popular choice because it’s practically free. Please refrain from choosing newspaper due to its heavy ink that easily comes off.

Paper doesn’t absorb liquid well. It may not look as nice as hay or aspen shavings, but you can blend it with other bedding options.

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Should I Combine Gerbil Bedding?

It’s best to combine multiple options of gerbil bedding. Choose hemp or hay and mix it with paper. Plenty of store-bought options will premix them for you to use easily without any effort or hassle.

Paper is the cheapest choice and can make your purchased bedding last longer. You can mix aspen shavings, corn cob or sand with shredded paper to give your gerbils a choice of texture and options for tunnels or burrows.

Do Gerbils Chew On Their Beddings?

Yes. Gerbils would naturally enjoy munching, ingesting or turning their bedding into a pulp that they can use for tunnel building. If you choose wood or aspen shavings, your gerbil won’t be able to make tunnels unless you mix in paper or hay.

Dust-free options are best to make sure your gerbil doesn’t chew on harmful pollutants. Shredded paper that is free of ink is a great option for chewing while limiting dust.

What Is Carefresh Bedding?

Carefresh is a popular brand that makes safe bedding from reclaimed natural fibers. They claim that their bedding is the softest and most absorbent.

The odor control ability of Carefresh bedding and the variety of colors it comes in makes it very attractive to consumers. The colors are natural dyes and safe for your gerbil to chew.

Combine Carefresh with paper, hay, hemp or plenty of other bedding options to make it last longer and for your gerbil to create stronger tunnels.

Why Is Shredded Paper Better Than Corn Cob Bedding?

Shredded paper bedding is cheaper and easier for your gerbil to make nests or tunnels. Corn cob is harder to chew and may irritate your gerbil’s feet.

Paper is definitely cheaper, but corn cob bedding works well when mixed with paper, hay or hemp. The price of corn cob bedding and its lack of availability makes it a difficult choice against other bedding options.

Should I Use Shredded Paper Bedding For My Gerbil?

Shredded paper is going to always win when considering cost and ease of use. Pick up paper without ink on it for your best bet. Ink off cheap paper or newspaper can easily be ingested by your gerbil.

If you have access to a paper shredder, your life will get much easier when replacing shredded paper bedding every 3-4 weeks.

If you only use shredded paper, you will have issues with a lack of liquid absorption and odor control. You may have to replace it as often as every 10-14 days. Combining paper with other bedding options is your best choice.


Shredded paper is a suitable choice for gerbil bedding. As long as the paper is free of heavy ink and nontoxic, your gerbil will enjoy chewing on it.

You may need to perform spot cleaning twice a week to clean up any waste. A full replacement of the paper bedding needs to be performed every 2-4 weeks depending on the paper you use.

Blending shredded paper with many other options including hay, aspen shavings or hemp would be a great way to give your gerbil the best bedding possible.


Thank you for visiting for information regarding gerbils and plenty of other pets that we greatly enjoy caring for. Please check out more articles that may interest you. See you next time!