Can Gerbils Eat Basil?

Can Gerbils Eat Basil?

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Some people like to grow basil in their backyard or in pots inside. Basil is a nice, low-maintenance herb that's easy to grow and takes up little space. It's best grown during the warmer months because it cannot handle frost. However, when you have a gerbil, your priorities might be slightly shifted. They enjoy chewing on plants, and this holds true for basil as well. So can gerbils eat basil? The answer is yes, but there are certain things you need to consider when adding it to their diet.

What is Basil?

Basil is a member of the mint family, and its genus name, Ocimum, means "smell." The species name basilicum derives from the Latin word for bay, which relates to the plant's resemblance to a bay leaf. Basil is native to southern Europe and northern Africa, but it has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years and has become naturalized in many parts of the world. It is an herbaceous annual that grows between 1 and 4 feet tall with heart-shaped leaves and purple flowers.

Uses of Basil

Basil has been used as both a culinary herb and as an aromatic plant since ancient times. Some foods seasoned with basil include tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, meat dishes such as hamburgers and lasagna, fish dishes like salmon or tuna steaks, soup stocks, rice dishes such as risotto or pilafs (rice pilaf), breads such as focaccia bread or rolls (rolls), soups such as minestrone soup or tomato soup (tomato soup), salads such as potato salad

Which Type of Basil Is Toxic to Gerbils?

Basil is a common herb that is used in many dishes. However, not all types of basil are safe for gerbils. In fact, some types of basil can be toxic to these small animals. The most common type of basil that is toxic to gerbils is African blue basil. This type of basil contains a chemical called linalool, which can be harmful to gerbils if ingested. If you have a pet gerbil, it's best to avoid feeding them any type of basil.

African blue basil contains linalool and other chemicals that may cause dizziness or nausea in pets when ingested in large amounts. 

What Types of Basil Are There?

There are three main types of basil: sweet basil, holy basil, and other varieties.

Sweet Basil

Sweet basil is the most common type of basil used for cooking. It has a mild taste and can be used for any dish. Sweet basil is available in both fresh and dried forms. Fresh sweet basil has a green color, while dried sweet basil is white to yellowish in color.

Holy Basil

Holy basil also has a mild taste. You can use it in any dish that you would use regular basil or mint herb in. Holy basil can be found in its fresh form as well as dried form. Holy basils are usually darker in color than sweet basils because they have darker green leaves than their sweet counterparts.

Other Varieties of Basil Plants

Other types of basil plants include lemon basil, Thai basil, purple Thai lemongrass, and white Thai lemongrass. These types of basil plants have different flavors than their common counterparts but they still serve as useful additions to your kitchen pantry!


Which Type of Basil Is Safe for Gerbils?

If you're looking for basil that's safe for gerbils, you have a few choices. Basil is a leafy green plant similar to mint and oregano, and it can be used in the same way—you just need to be careful about how much you give them.

Gerbils don't have the same stomach acids as humans do, so they can't eat as much of the plant as we can. If you don't use caution when feeding your gerbils basil, they could overdose on it and get sick.

The safest type of basil that you can give your gerbils is called sweet basil or Genovese basil. This is an Italian variety of basil that has no seeds or stems attached to its leaves, which makes it safer for gerbils than other types of basil might be (like Thai or Mexican).

You should never give your gerbils any type of wild-harvested basil, though—it could contain too many toxins and cause poisoning in your pet!

What Are the Symptoms of Basil Toxicity in Gerbils?

Basil toxicity in gerbils can be deadly, although it's not common. If you suspect your gerbil has been poisoned by basil, you should seek veterinary care immediately.

Symptoms of Basil Toxicity in Gerbils

The most obvious symptom of basil toxicity in gerbils is discoloration of the skin and fur. This can appear within hours or days after ingestion, depending on how much the animal has eaten. The discoloration may involve patches of darkening on the body or even all over the animal's body. The fur may also appear greasy and dull to the touch.

Other symptoms of basil toxicity in gerbils include:


-Diarrhea (with blood)


How Do I Treat Basil Toxicity in Gerbils?

If you have a gerbil that has eaten basil, there are a few things you can do to help it. First and foremost, watch for signs of distress. If the animal appears lethargic, or if it is unable to eat, drink, or move around, it's best to get it checked out by a veterinarian immediately.

The vet will likely want to see if there is any external evidence of poisoning—if you see any redness or swelling around the mouth and eyes—and will want to take blood samples to determine whether or not your pet has been poisoned. It's important to note that although most cases of basil toxicity come from human ingestion, some pets can also be affected.


The best thing to do is to make sure that your houseplants are supervised when your gerbil is around. Unfortunately, basil actually contains a toxic substance which can be harmful to small animals like gerbils. This doesn't mean they shouldn't eat it on occasion, but you'll want to make sure they don't have access to it whenever they want it. And never, ever give them an entire leaf at once. That would be asking for trouble. They can eat it without any danger though, as long as you supervise them closely and give them thin slices of the herb.

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