Category Archives: Nature and character of Gerbils

How do gerbils take care of their young?

Gerbils are born helpless, blind and hairless and so need the care and attention of their mother from the moment she gives birth to them.

The mother will create a nest for her young pups and then line it with fur from her belly to keep them warm.

A newborn baby pup will instinctively find their way underneath their mother’s warm belly where they will find her nipples that provide them with the nourishing milk that they need.

When a mother is nursing her pups, it is important that the family is not disturbed in any way because any disturbances will distress a nursing mother.

If she is greatly distressed, she may even engage in cannibalistic behavior with some of her young. It has been known before. This will be because of a deficiency in animal protein in her diet.

The pups will be hairless and so will need the continued warmth of the mother for the first few weeks of their lives until hair starts to grow.

Whenever the female leaves the nest, the male may intervene and snuggle up to the young to provide the warmth that they need.

The mother may also provide them with sufficient nesting material to keep them warm without the need of having a parent there in the nest.

When they are born, pups are without hair and will have their eyes closed.

Do not attempt to touch them during this time as they are incredibly sensitive.

Then after about four days, their hair begins to grow and will develop over their body.

It will grow more densely as time goes on.

During the earlier days of their lives, it is easier to determine their sex as there is less fur on their body covering up nipples.

Their eyes will begin to open after about three weeks.

They will then start to explore their surroundings away from the nest.

The mother will keep a close eye on them and bring them back if they happen to stray too far.

They will then start to look for their own food and seek out water themselves.

It is then that they start to gain their first semblance of independence.

It is important to remember that young gerbils become sexually mature at around four months old and so if they are around each other at this age, you may be getting more baby gerbils than you bargained for.

So before they reach this age they need to be separated out, males with males and females with females.





How do gerbils mark their territory?

Gerbils have an unusual way to mark their territory.

Other animals have different ways that they might do this to their surroundings.

Gerbils have a scent gland which they rub against surfaces which marks their territory. The scent gland is located on their stomach which they will then rub on the surroundings of their territory so as to mark it out.

When they enter a new cage it will be unfamiliar to them. It will also smell of something that is totally different to what they are used to.

If this is the case they need to establish the new cage as their home.

They way they do this is through scent.

Their scent is very important to gerbils as it allows them to differentiate space and territory.

It allows them to tell who is a friend and who is an enemy.

If they sense a gerbil who has an unfamiliar scent, they immediately become distrustful of them and they become an enemy to them.

This is the same with location.

An unfamiliar scent of a location will ward another gerbil off and tell them that they are not welcome there

The scent gland is a hairless oval patch located on the underside of an adult gerbil.

It is a slightly darker color than their skin and runs along the midline of the body.

It is easy to spot and regularly check on when you are handling a gerbil.

The scent gland can easily get scratched or roughed up so it needs checking regularly.

Checking the scent gland regularly should be a regular part of an owner’s regular checks on their gerbil, as scent gland tumors can develop if they are left.

Male gerbils use their scent gland much more than females do especially if they are in a large group.




How do you wash gerbils?

It may be confusing as to whether you need to help wash a gerbil.

They are animals and so need to keep themselves clean and free of dirt and grime.

Some animals wash in water, some clean themselves in the sand and others clean themselves with their tongues.

It really depends on what kind of skin and fur that they have and whether they can properly deal with drying themselves having been in the water.

Some animals cannot cope with having their fur wet and it will cause them problems.

Whereas animals such as dogs have no problem going into the water as they can self-dry themselves and it won’t cause them to get cold.

How do you wash gerbils?

Gerbils fall into the category of being water averse.

They do not like being washed in water at all.

However, the good thing about gerbils is that they do not need help in washing themselves.

They are extremely good at doing it themselves.

They wash themselves using their tongue and their paws.

How do gerbils show dominance?

In every cage there is a dominant and a submissive gerbil. Here are two behaviors which will show that will show where a gerbil is being dominant.

Grooming: where one gerbil will groom another. This is a strange one to see as you may not expect dominance to be shown in this way. The dominant gerbil will nibble and wash the fur of a submissive. On introduction the dominant gerbil will always groom the submissive gerbil first immediately after being introduced. It is done to make the submissive feel part of the family.

Mounting: A way one gerbil might show dominance over another is by mounting them. They will try and piggyback the submissive and basically follow them around.

How long do gerbils sleep each day?

Gerbils are rodents and so they will sleep differently to what we do.

Gerbils sleep in cycles which means they will sleep for short bursts before waking. They dont sleep for sustained periods like we do, they wake very easily and will go out and play, eat and drink before returning to their nest when they need to rest again. Younger gerbils will tend to sleep longer than older more mature gerbils and so you will see them sleeping a lot more.

How long do gerbils sleep each day?

This will range from 1-4 hours for each cycle depending on what they need. They may be awake for a similar amount of time.

Because they sleep in cycles you will often see them asleep during the daytime. Because of this it is easy to think that they just sleep during the day. Really they just have different sleep patterns to what we do as humans.

can gerbils swim?

So can gerbils swim?

It is not a natural thing for gerbils to swim. Unlike other rodents who swim, gerbils are used to very little contact with water as they are desert animals.

If they were thrown in maliciously they would do their best to swim. But as owners we shouldnt let them face this situation.


Can Gerbils And Hamsters Play Together?

Gerbils and hamsters are very similar in shape and size.

They both come from the rodent family.

Other rodents such as gerbils and hamsters are thought to be capatible and interchangeable.

So can gerbils and hamsters play together?

No they can’t unfortunately. This is because they are completely different in their character and nature.

Gerbils are very much social animals and love to live in pairs and large colonies. They enjoy being together and the social stimulation of each other’s company.

When they are housed by themselves they get depressed very easily and become more prone to health issues.

Hamsters on the other hand are very much solitary animals.

They much prefer to live alone.

They need their own territory and don’t like any other animal intruding on their ground.

If they are confronted with another animal they will most likely attack it.

This is because they see it as a threat.

Hamsters and gerbils have very different social needs and so should not be placed together.

If they are put together they will not get on and likely to fight, injure and may be kill one another.


do gerbils eat the things they chew

Do Gerbils Eat The Things They Chew?

Gerbils have the ability to chew and chomp on anything they see. It doesn’t matter what material it is whether cardboard, wood, plastic, cloth, even metals, they will have a go at chewing anything.

This is largely because as rodents, their teeth are constantly growing and so they need to chew stuff in order to grind them down. It means their teeth are kept at their proper length and they don’t start to hurt them at all.

Another by product of chew is that they can produce a fine and soft substance whenever they chew on stuff, which they then use for bedding. However, this is secondary to wearing down their teeth

So do gerbils eat the things that they chew?

This is quite an important question to ask, as they can chew some pretty indigestible objects.

However, the answer is that they don’t eat a lot of the things that they chew.

Gerbils are very good at self regulating themselves and they will not just eat objects without thinking about it.

They do have the ability to regurgitate or spit out what they are chewing.

However, it does them good to have objects such as paper towels, toilet paper, cardboard or toilet roll tubes in their cage which will help them chew things a lot easier.

It certainly is a lot easier for them to chew materials that are softer and more flexible than those that are hard and brittle such as plastic objects.

are gerbils nocturnal

Are Gerbils Nocturnal Animals

Are gerbils nocturnal creatures?

If you have a gerbil then you may notice that they are not very active during the day time.  They seem to come alive after dusk when the sun has set and the night has drawn in.

This tends to happen between 6-8pm and they suddenly become very lively.

Then in the early morning at dusk they start to quieten down and retreat back to their nests to rest.

This is why it is not a good idea to put their cage near your bedroom as their activity will keep you awake.

Its useful to understand the definition of nocturnal.

Nocturnal means ‘active at night’ (opposed to diurnal)  soure:

So yes they are nocturnal animals. Their desire to be active during the night time means that they are categorized as such.

However, they are also very light sleepers.

This is due to the fact that they are prey animals and can wake in an instant to dart away from danger.