Help! I think my gerbil is a murder!

Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2004 01:23 am
I own gerbils. My daugher brought home a female gerbil from school. If she lived, she would be a bit less than a year old. We had an elderly male gerbil at the time who adored her on sight.

From information I can gather, gerbils are very social animals. I also see intelligence in rodents and don't feel I need to call an exterminator just yet.

My male gerbil died, leaving my young female gerbil to live a solitary life. I felt this was cruel. I did everything from putting two cages side to side and scrubbing down the big gerbil cage. We also allowed the gerbils out of the cage every day for introduction before putting them in a cage together.

My new gerbil is not fully grown. My other gerbil was found dying with no apparent injury a week after feeling safe about putting the new gerbil with her for companionship. Now I have another solitary gerbil! I feel this is cruel to an animal to live like this. I bought her another female companion.

I am seeing horrible behavior out of her! I believe she did kill my original gerbil somehow. She is acting very aggressive towards the new gerbil, who is horrifed of her. Everything is fine until I cage them together. I hear squeaking from the newest gerbil and have removed her from the cage several times.

I believe that my companion gerbil did kill my adult gerbil, even with a size difference after seeing how horrible she is treating the companion I bought for her.

Is there any hope that these two will ever get along? Are gerbils not quite as social as I thought?

Thanks in advance for any help with this matter!!
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Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2004 08:15 am
I used own gerbils when I was younger so here are some thoughts on introducing new gerbils. Even though gerbils are considered social animals, you may have difficulty introducing a single older gerbil to a new one, as they are quite territorial.

Get divided cage, or use a cage within a cage, to allow the gerbils to see and smell each other with no contact. Place one gerbil in each side of the divider. Several times a day, swap the gerbils from side to side, so that the gerbils get used to each others' scent. Once the gerbils appear curious and not aggressive to each other, the divider can be removed (about 3 days, usually). Watch for 20 minutes, wearing leather gloves, so that the gerbils can be separated if fighting occurs. If the gerbils fight, go back to the divided cage stage and repeat. If two or three tries with the divided cage trick doesn't stop the fighting, they may never get along. If there is no fighting after 20 minutes, the gerbils can be left as long as you are nearby if any problems arise. If they cuddle up to sleep, they will likely be okay.

If possible, try to introduce a younger (i.e. less than 10 weeks) gerbil to an adult. This seems to work particularly well with males. Females may be harder to introduce. Divided hamster cages can sometimes be found, or you can divide an aquarium diagonally with a piece of wire mesh. The mesh should not be too open or the gerbils may be able to injure each other through the mesh. If you can't rig up a divided cage, you can place a smaller cage inside a larger cage. Simply swap the gerbils between the larger and smaller cages.
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Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2004 08:21 pm
Thank you so much for your suggestion! My gerbil cage is big enough to call it a condo. lol! Yep, I do spoil my pets rotten. I can easily divide off sections of this cage and still allow each gerbil plenty of space.

I have been switching off cages, sitting side by side, so they get used to each others scent. This isn't easy at all! My male was very accepting. I don't want any breeding, so I now have only female gerbils.

This apparently isn't as easy as I have been advised! I appreciate your help!!
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