Pet gerbils should be very active, healthy and easy to handle. Although it's recommended to buy from a breeder, this may not always be possible, so if you are buying gerbils from a pet shop choose gerbils that are lively, curious and active. If they are asleep, ask the shop assistant to gently wake them and look at their reaction. They should quickly wake up and be interested in what is going on around them. They should have a natural urge to explore and investigate. Check their eyes, these should be bright and bold with no sign of discharge. Also check their rear ends to ensure no diarrhoea or staining. Avoid gerbils where the fur is sticking up roughly, the coat should be smooth. Also avoid any gerbil that sits hunched in a corner and does not investigate what's happening. If possible, get your ear close to the gerbil. There should be no clicking or squeaking sound as it breaths. If there is it is a sign of a chest infection and should be avoided.