Mongolian gerbil – The rodents that we commonly call “gerbils” and that are sold as pets are actually gerbils of Mongolia ( Meriones unguiculatus ). They belong to the family of murids just like rats and mice. The true gerbils are rodents of the dipod family. But, given that everyone in Spain knows the gerbils of Mongolia as “gerbils”, we will call them in this way to avoid confusion
They are desert animals and in the wild they live in tunnels, where they protect themselves from extreme temperatures, although they do not hibernate. They eat basically seeds, herbs, roots, etc., but they are omnivorous and do not waste an insect if they can. They are very social and live in colonies usually composed of a male, a female and their young offspring.
As adults, its size is between that of a mouse and that of a rat, having a weight between 50 and 120 grams. Its tail is about the same length as its body and is provided with hair.
The original gerbils are of a color called “golden agouti”, which is brown with black and blonde frosts and with light-colored tummy, but based on crosses for decades, the breeders have achieved more than 30 different varieties of color.
They were taken to the field of research more than 50 years ago and outnumbered rats and other rodents in laboratory tests thanks to their great intelligence. His docility and easy care led some researchers to start taking some copies as pets and so began his life as a pet.
They are friendly animals with the human being, they do not usually bite if they are not mistreated or manipulated incorrectly, they are tremendously quick and agile, but above all, what characterizes them is their great curiosity. In addition, their different personalities make them fascinating animals to observe.
They are active both day and night, alternating periods of sleep and activity. They build nests to sleep and usually do all together, especially if it’s cold. It is not convenient to wake them up when they sleep so as not to irritate them.
In addition to eating and sleeping, they spend a lot of time playing with any object that you offer them, although sometimes they get tired once their curiosity is satisfied.
Roer is one of their main daily occupations because, like good rodents, they have teeth that grow throughout their lives and must wear them out so they do not think they are serious eating problems. Therefore, one of its ways to explore or play with something, is to destroy it with its powerful incisors that can kill most of the accessories of rodent cages that usually sell, especially if they are plastic. But what really fascinates them are the cardboard rolls of toilet paper and kitchen. Their favorite pastime is to destroy them, so everyone who has gerbils should store as many as they can for them to enjoy.
They also spend a lot of time digging, or at least trying, because in nature they build tunnels like burrows, so they can spend a lot of time scratching, which also helps them to wear their nails. If they are given the opportunity to do so, it is very curious to see how they use their hind legs to propel back the excavated material and how their head acts as a ram to remove everything that bothers them.
They are very clean and, not only groom themselves, but also do it to other individuals of their clan. In addition they do not usually have a very strong odor, so it is not necessary to clean their living quarters very often. They can hold perfectly three weeks or more without their cage or fish tank being very dirty.
They tend to crawl because they have an odoriferous gland in their belly that they use to mark with their smell all the territory, including the other individuals, all the objects within their reach and ourselves if we put their hands close. It’s their way of claiming everything for them. This behavior is more intense in males.
They are very athletic and not only because of how fast they are, but because of their great jumping ability, reaching to rise from the ground more than half a meter if they propose it. It also tends to surprise the ease with which they get on two legs, sometimes fully upright. They are also very good at climbing, which together with their intelligence makes them good “escapists”.
It should also be noted that some are scary, some more than others, and often run to hide or jump suddenly up because they startle. It does not have to be because of loud noises, because there are many times and they do not pay attention to them. Their way to warn other gerbils of what they consider a potential danger is to drum with their hind legs, although that noise is also made when they are courting to mate.
They have good hearing and that makes that a lot of the noise they make, they emit at frequencies that we do not get. But sometimes they are heard as if they were praying. Depending on the case, it may be due to fear, to protest something or simply to taste when they are groomed. They also have good eyesight and good smell.
The zeal of the females deserves a separate mention, since it changes their behavior completely. They enter a state of great desperation to mate with the male that, once caught the provocation, is dedicated to chasing the female and assemble it every few seconds. In fact, gerbils have the record of matings per hour in the animal world. The females usually have heat every four days and lasts between 12 and 24 hours.
Keep in mind that females are usually stronger than males and, if they see another female in heat, they usually try to prevent it from mating to maximize the chances of survival of their own hypothetical offspring. This can sometimes lead to fights and therefore it is not recommended in any case or have groups of adults of different sexes (except in the case of a male and female couple, of course), or groups of adult females over three (although some believe that three are already many). Neither should groups of males of more than four be held, because there may be conflicts of dominance as well. Similarly, gerbils should never be mixed with other animals, even if they are rodents.
Still, gerbils are social animals and if they are alone they are sad. Only in exceptional cases, such as elderly gerbils that have been left alone, it might be inappropriate to find a partner. Therefore, it is best to have them in same-sex couples, so that they are happy and avoid being raised. Even so, putting a partner in a gerbil deserves a separate chapter, since it is far from simple. It is a laborious process that only works in certain circumstances and that is called “split cage method”. We will explain this method later.
Also, it must be explained that if a clan of gerbils separates for more than 24 hours, it will be divided and if we want them to be together again, it will be necessary to study if they can apply the split cage method or not, but in no case case you have to risk simply putting them together.
It is not usual to bite the human being, but if they are bothered a lot or if we smell food, we probably receive a small bite as a warning or test, which will not pierce the skin. If they truly feel cornered, they can react in self-defense and hold us firmly, in which case we will have to blow them hard in the face so they can let go and clean the wound if they bleed us. There is no need to worry because gerbils can not infect any important disease.
We must also explain that gerbils have an escape method from their predators with which we must be very careful. If they are held by their tails, they pull hard and detach from it to be able to flee and save life. Therefore, it must be taken into account that under no circumstances should a gerbil be held by the tail . If it is done, the most normal thing is that the tail of the animal is amputated, so that part or all of the bone remains in the air and days later, after drying, they are detached, thus remaining for life.
Food and water
Gerbils are omnivores, but that does not mean they should eat anything. We can divide the food that is appropriate in several types:
Dry food and feed
It is the basis of your diet. We can buy a quality feed or we can simply manufacture the mix ourselves. Some people even resort to herbalists to mix all the basic ingredients.
We can take as a base food for hamsters and we can add cereals such as corn or “corn flakes”, wheat, oats, barley, etc. For example, a “muesli” type mixture that did not contain sugar could be worth it.
The seeds and grains are important and you can add to the above food for parrots, parrots or parakeets, but watching that in the end there is not an excess of sunflower or pumpkin seeds, as they make them fat.
Although they love them, it is convenient to restrict them , especially if our gerbils are overweight.
In addition, nuts (raw and unsalted) are also one of your favorite treats and therefore should not be given too much. However, they will enjoy walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, etc. when we offer them
- BUNNY : for gerbils (Rennmaus Traum)
- OXBOW : Healthy Handfuls
- JR FARM : Food for gerbils (Rennmäusefutter)
- SUPREM : Gerri Jerbos
Gerbils are less susceptible to diarrhea than other rodents, however they are not immune and therefore, they should be accustomed to all fruits and vegetables little by little. If the gerbil is not accustomed to eating vegetables and fresh fruit, it must be introduced following the 3 day rule.
It is essential that they take this type of food and it is usually recommended to administer it every other day, not as a supplement to dry food. Some believe that this does not require drinking water, but it is a serious mistake.
You can give them: chard, spinach, escarole, endive, broccoli, lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, watercress, arugula, cucumber, celery, carrot, turnip, alfalfa, zucchini, peas, red cabbage, apple, pear, peach, apricot, fresquilla, grape , strawberry, etc.
Insects and small invertebrates
They can be given from time to time crickets and tenebrios, which sell in the shops of animals and do not be scared if you ever hunt a moth, ant or spider, but can go perfectly without this type of diet if the feed has the correct amount of protein.
There are foods that can be given occasionally, such as bread, biscuit, cheese, yogurt or some dairy (although there are many people who defend that they hurt them), chips and the like, however it should not be done by norm but at most exceptionally.
They can also take some cooked foods, such as potato or rice.
Being desert animals, gerbils take little water, but even if they are fed fruits and vegetables, they need water at all times. They should therefore have a drinking fountain and the water should be changed every few days.
It is convenient to know how to differentiate between males and females because an error can become a long line of mouths to feed, so let’s give the clues how to do it.
An adult male has very visible testicles. They are two enormous bulges that are found under the base of the tail and that seem to have the shape of a cushion.
In case there are doubts, the fundamental thing to differentiate between males and females is to see the distance between the anus and the penis or vagina. If the genitals and anus are very close together it means that it is a female and if they are more separated it is that it is a male. However, when gerbils are not adults, differentiating them can be difficult for the uninitiated.
If the gerbils are babies without hair yet, the females can see three or four pairs of breasts in the belly.
Gerbils are not animals that need special care, however there are things that should be clarified.
Its temperature should be between 18 and 28 degrees Celsius and you should never leave them exposed to the open air or drafts. The fact that they get a little sun every day is good for them to absorb vitamins and for calcium to fix well on their teeth, but high temperatures are dangerous, so it should not be done in summer.
We can house them in cages, fish tanks, terrariums, etc. and as for the space they need, there are those who say that the minimum is 0.25 m² of surface per gerbil, but honestly, the better the more space we give them. Above all it is important that we think that an aquarium of many liters of capacity does not do much good if the surface in which they can move is small. Therefore, if space is available, in its living quarters, you can take advantage of the height to build more floors or structures through which they can climb. For this it must be taken into account that the floors must be able to allow them to stand upright on two legs and therefore they must have a minimum height of 15 centimeters.
There are people who defend the use of aquariums in front of cages, because they think they are less exposed to air currents, which are easier to clean and above all that do not allow out the substrate that gerbils will undoubtedly spread throughout the interior thanks to his excavator instinct. For those who decide to use them, there are all kinds of accessories to hang as drinkers, exercise wheels, etc.
About the cages, because there are many that are designed for rodents, but what at first seems well built, in a short time can be revealed as little effective. For example you have to think that single-story cages are usually very small and that multi-storey cages often use grid floors designed so that all the dirt falls down, but they are real traps for the legs of any small rodent. . Many fractures and amputations have produced these soils and, of course, must be covered with solid materials that allow them to step on without problems.
Gerbils bite everything from plastic to destroy it . If the cage is plastic or contains many toys of that material it will end up being totally or partially destroyed by the powerful incisors of the gerbils.
Anyway it is very easy to buy a large cage, parrots or other animals, and reform inside to become the home of our jerseys. Build a few floors, buy stairs for birds or use cardboard tubes that are very strong for access to plants, etc. They even sell “kits” to make those transformations, although they are usually made of plastic, unfortunately.
What you have to watch out for in the cages is that the bars on the walls are not too far apart so that they can put their heads or that they are too narrow and they can have some stuck limbs.
Regarding how to clean the cage, the best thing is water and a little soap next to an old toothbrush that are perfect to handle between the bars.
The substrate to use with our little friends is another cause of discord, since many preparations of wood chips for rodents are sold, which is inexplicable, since they have developed allergies to several types of woods, especially pine and cedar, and even worse if they are treated. If we want our gerbils to be healthy, we should avoid having suspicious wooden elements in their cages.
The best and cheapest is to use only toilet paper. They love it and they spend good times destroying it to fit it to their liking and to build a good nest. Newsprint is best not to use because newspaper ink is toxic.
You should not use cotton or fabrics either, as they will fray and cut them, and that is very dangerous because the threads are strong enough to cut mouths, fingers and even limbs in such small animals.
There is another type of substrate that is very good and can even be eaten without problems, which is the one made with ground or crushed corn cobs, also known in South America as marlo de choclo. In Spain there are brands that commercialize it, however we return to the problem of digging instinct if we have cages, since they can spread it to us everywhere.
Another issue to talk about is the exercise that our gerbils do.
To be healthy, the best thing is that they can enjoy out-of-the-box walks and in controlled environments, although there are many people who never take them out.
However, in order to get the gerbils to play, it must always be under our supervision and in gerbil-proof places, that is, without wires to gnaw, where they can not destroy anything important with their teeth and of course with great care of Do not step on them, that they can escape or that one of our other pets finds them. It can be done on bathroom floors (by lowering the toilet lids, which jump a lot and there has already been some drowning), on a bed, on a table not very high (putting cushions or pillows on the floor so that if fall do not get hurt), etc. It is necessary to clarify that those balls where the rodent enters inside and it is released to him by the house, find them quite stressful in general and above all, it leaves them exhausted and it would be necessary to be careful with them.
If we take them out to play, they will enjoy a lot of snooping around and it is easy to clean up what they can dirty. Even if your accommodation is a cage, what you can do is take out the entire cage to your game site and simply open the door. They alone will enter it again to sleep when they want, because they usually recognize that as their home.
To capture them, if necessary, it is best to use a medium length tube because the gerbils are fascinated by them and will end up going inside. It is much better than walking chasing them everywhere and ending up holding them in a bad way.
It is convenient to provide our gerbils with an exercise wheel. Some do not seem to like them very much, but others really enjoy them. Yes, there are wheels and wheels. The plastic usually last as long as they find their weak point and gnaw it, so it is convenient that they are metallic.
The size of the wheel should allow them to be stretched on it and therefore they are not worth those that sell for dwarf hamsters. A wheel between 20 and 30 centimeters in diameter is adequate.
Be very careful with the tails and limbs because, if the wheel does not meet minimum safety requirements, there may be amputations. The ideal is that the floor of the wheel is solid (without grid) and that the wheel does not have spokes. If our toy does not comply, it is very easy to cover everything with cartons, packing tape, etc.
Wear of the Teeth
To wear the teeth, cartons are ideal and also come those mineral and calcium stones that are sold in stores. Anyway, do not be surprised to see them bite the bars of the cage, either for the need to chew or to ask us to take them back to play. Mineral stones are dangerous if they are consumed too quickly, in these cases it is better to remove them.
You can also provide tree branches free of pesticides or untreated pine woods.
Bringing gerbils together
Cage method / fish tank divided
The question of how to gather gerbils is important, since many times we have a gerbil only because its companions died, because it was necessary to separate them from them or we simply realized that we had only one gerbil and would be better in company. There is also the case that two colleagues have been separated for more than 24 hours. In this case, they consider that their group separated and they must also go through the process to live together again.
We must bear in mind that gerbils are very territorial and will attack any intruder that enters their territory without being properly presented. That presentation must be done with a laborious method, called the split fish tank that has no guarantee of success. There is only one exception in which the method can be ignored, but in no case is it necessary to do it. Implementing the method in cages is analogous, although it can be more difficult depending on the type of cage.
Before starting we must say that this method is only effective when we try to collect two solitary gerbils and it is not valid for groups. That is, if what we want is to join a gerbil with a group, it’s not worth it. In fact, there is no effective method to collect groups of gerbils, although we will talk about an exceptional case later.
As the name suggests, the split fish tank method consists of dividing a tank into two parts, using some type of separator that prevents the two halves from communicating, but at the same time allowing the gerbils to be placed on each side, they look and smell. For example, it is better to build a separator with a metal mesh, but you have to make sure that it is going to hold the gerbils so there are no problems.
Once separated the cabin in two, all toys are removed so they do not distract and put a gerbil on each side. The method consists in letting them know each other for at least two weeks, period in which we will have to change them sideways every several hours. In this way the gerbils will be in contact, but can not be attacked until we see that they are calm enough to be able to try to leave them together.
The idea is that they get used to the smell of the other and that they do not consider their territory invaded. At the time of removing the division, it is advisable to provide some gloves to be able to separate them if they fight (they make a ball and bite each other). If the fight is given, you must return to the method for at least another week, before trying again. In any case, you have to watch them very closely during the following hours and observe their behavior for several days.
Apart from seeing that they are calm and do not attack, the signal that all is well is that they go to sleep together.
There are things that can help, such as that the process takes place somewhere quiet and where there are no more gerbils. It can also be good that when we finally join them, we do it in a new place, that they do not know and can not claim as their own. Taking advantage of the fact that they always tend to mark the whole territory with their odoriferous gland, their urine and their feces, we can also take advantage of that if we rub the gerbils by the “smells” of the other so that they can accept it better.
In any case, the split cage method is more or less difficult depending on the sex of the gerbils and their ages . The older the gerbils are, the more difficult it is to collect them and it is also the case that the jerseys are much more problematic than the males.
In this way we can say that, in general, joining two adult females is a very complicated task, while putting together a male and a female is usually the easiest (with one of the two geldings).
Couple adults with gerbils less than 2 months old
Before we talked about that there was an exception to the application of the method and is that if gerbils are not adults, do not have their own smell and do not usually seem a threat to gerbils that are.
Thus, gerbils less than two months have a great facility to be joined with other individuals and is usually so simple that it is normal that not only can be dispensed with the method of split cage (although it is advised to do a couple of days or more) , but that they can get together groups of children under two months with another individual or group already formed.
It must be said that many experts prohibit not only joining a group of non-adults with one of adults, but even discourage the one that is done with a single adult female since many times the females tend to attack the babies of other litters.
In the case of males, the opposite occurs, since they tend to be very protective with the small ones.
What is clear is that in no case can be dispensed is a strict supervision over the entire process.
Gerbils are little known animals, and therefore enter the category of exotic. That often makes people talk about them from ignorance and say uncertain things. The longevity of gerbils is an example of that, since it is usually defended that a gerbil lasts between 3 and 5 years, without clarifying anything else.
The truth is that a gerbil that has iron health could actually reach 5 years, but it is highly unlikely and would be something like saying that a person reaches 100. In fact, if the animal reaches the 4 will be a great success.
It should be clarified that a gerbil is old at 3 years, although there are even people who defend that they are at 2 years and 9 months and the normal thing is that gerbils that reach old age, die between 3 and 4 years .
The gerbils that we know as pets, are the product of captive breeding for decades and have also forced crosses that have weakened their genetics, either to get new colors, or to obtain defects and diseases that can be studied in laboratories.
The result is that probably the original gerbils captured from nature, could well have joined some good genes to the food and security that gives them the captivity to project their longevity until 5 years, but 50 years later, for their descendants that is almost An utopia.
The first thing to say is that we must be responsible with our pets. If we accept an animal in our family, we acquire basic responsibilities with it, among which are feeding, housing properly and taking care of their health. Therefore, we must recommend that whatever the animal species of our pet, we do our best to have located a veterinarian who can take care of it in case of illness or injury.
If our gerbil has a health problem, it should be taken as soon as possible to a veterinarian specialized in exotic animals. To locate an exotic veterinarian near your place of residence, consult the list of exotic veterinarians
What we have to recommend is to find a clinic that is as close as possible to our homes, because when a gerbil is sick, anything that stresses it will make it worse quickly and the transfer to a distant place to be treated can be even dangerous.
Having said that, we must say that the most important thing to keep our gerbils healthy is prevention, because even if a gerbil is sick, many times we will not notice until it is too late and little can be done for it. Therefore, we must observe the behavior of our gerbils at least once a day and periodically perform a basic check of their health.
This basic check should ensure that the following signs of illness do not occur:
- Straight hair, dirty and disheveled . Sometimes a gerbil gets messed up, but if it is not cleaned, it takes care of the fur in a clear sign of illness.
- Excess porphyrins in eyes and nose. Porphyrins are normally generated by gerbils and are reddish substances that are often mistaken for blood. If the gerbil spends seasons secreting an excess of porphyrins (cromodiacorrea) it can be due to another associated disease.
- Lethargy . If a gerbil is very lethargic, it is also a sign that things are not going well. Of course, gerbils spend a lot of time sleeping and more when they get older, but what we mean is when a gerbil moves little and is weak.
- Temperature . You also have to see that its temperature is normal, since a sick gerbil loses heat quickly. Its usual temperature is 38 degrees Celsius, but it can reach 30 degrees or less if we neglect it.
Very long teeth and nails . A gerbil with excessively long teeth can die of hunger when unable to eat and that is why you have to watch them well.
The nails can grow a lot, although it is not usual. We can watch that they are not prevented from walking correctly.
- Weight loss . Sudden weight loss is a clear indication of problems, either in the teeth or because of another type of disease. If a gerbil does not eat or eat very little, its reserves are depleted at high speed, because its metabolism is very fast.
- Very heavy and agitated breathing . Gerbils breathe quickly, but if we notice that it is difficult to breathe is a bad sign. It can happen to them during times of stress, but if it becomes habitual it is not normal. When you get old, it is normal for your breathing to become increasingly difficult.
- Noise when breathing . It is also a sign of cardio-respiratory disease if they make noise when breathing. Sometimes it’s like a “click”, but sometimes it’s stronger. If that happens and we do not treat it, our gerbil can die from the infection. We can bring the gerbil to your ear to check your breathing.
- Eat and drink little . We have to watch that our gerbils eat because if they do not, there are serious problems. We should try to give them their favorite treats and we should worry if they do not eat them. It is difficult to check whether they drink or not because they do so in small quantities, but if it is observed that the animal is dehydrated, it should be forced to drink water or give a porridge with a syringe.
- Wounds . If wounds are observed, they should be cured with iodine diluted in water (1/10). It is important that we observe their behavior in case the injuries are the result of fights. If necessary, gerbils should be separated to avoid greater evils. Fighting injuries are usually in the neck and tail.
- Lumps and warts . Gerbils have a tendency to tumors and warts, especially in the odoriferous gland of their belly, but they can also appear on the face, ears and other places. In the case of finding them you should monitor their growth and consult a veterinarian.
- Bad smell in the cage . We may simply need to wipe it off, but sometimes it is a sign that they have diarrhea and can become dehydrated.
- Balance problems . If you have problems with loss of balance it can be due to an infection in the inner ear, a brain tumor or cerebral infarcts.
In summary, we should observe the behavior of our gerbils at least once a day and check that they move well. From time to time we should also put them in your ear to check your breathing, check the smell of your cage or fish tank, examine your odoriferous gland, your nose, your ears, your teeth, your hair, your tail and your sexual organs.
Finally, we will list a list of diseases that we could find in our gerbils.
- Respiratory problems and cardiac insufficiencies: infections by viruses or bacteria (pneumonias, etc.), allergies, etc. and / or heart problems.
- Tails amputated totally or partially.
- Cerebral infarctions. They usually produce paralysis.
- Attacks or epilepsy. They can be caused by stress and the gerbil should be left in the dark, quiet and without noise until they are passed over
- Nose or ears with excess mucus (porphyrins). It is called cromodiacorrea and by itself it is not usually a problem, but a symptom of something more serious.
- External parasites If you have mites or other parasites, we will confirm this by passing a paper towel through your hair or wrapping them in it for a while. If we see parasites on the paper, we will clean the entire cage and put ourselves in the hands of the veterinarian.
- Diarrhea. It would be necessary to hydrate the gerbil and reduce its intake of vegetables. If it does not improve in 24 hours, it would be necessary to go to the veterinarian, since it can be for a more serious illness like the one of Tyzzer, that is mortal for the rodents.
- Too long teeth
- Heat hits.
- Problems in the inner ear. Tumors, infections and cerebral infarcts cause loss of balance.
- Bone fractures If the fracture is not serious, it will heal itself in a short time, but if not, an amputation may be necessary.
It is not going to be recommended in any case from these lines to raise gerbils or any other domestic animal. Unfortunately there are too many abandonments and precisely birth control is a necessity for the good of so many animals waiting to be rescued in kennels and animal associations and many others who die or simply spend their lives begging in the street. For all these reasons, the recommendation for the uninitiated is not to breed but to adopt. No matter how beautiful the experience of seeing them grow, it is as good or better to rescue other animals in need.
The clear option therefore is to keep these social animals in groups of the same sex, but we can also maintain male and female pairs if either of them is sterilized. It is clear that a castration is very expensive (more in females than in males), but its advantages are also clear, since the natural state of the gerbil is in pairs and we will avoid breeding without control. There are also benefits in the health of our animals, such as avoiding the recurring ovarian tumors in the pulses. However, it should be noted that not all veterinarians dare to sterilize gerbils and that there are many risks in operating such a small animal, since they can not be pre-tested to see their health status. In males, the sterilization operation seems a priori simpler.
That said, we must talk about the issue of pregnancy because many times we get pregnant females or there is a sexing error and they simply happen.
The pregnancy of a jerba lasts 24 days or so and from it can leave litters of between 2 and 10 gerbils perfectly, although they do not usually exceed 7. The litters of a few individuals run the risk of failing because they do not stimulate the mother enough to give milk, but if it is the case or if the mother dies, you can try to feed by hand every two or three hours using milk for kittens and a dropper or a syringe.
First-time mothers often have more problems getting their offspring ahead, and their chances are maximized if they have the help of other gerbils, but be careful, since one adult female could kill the offspring of another and an adult male would leave pregnant again to the mother in a matter of a few hours after delivery. A young female, for example, would be perfect.
We must bear in mind that, if they do not separate males and females, nothing more to give birth to a jerba can return to remain pregnant . If a jerboa becomes pregnant while feeding another litter, the implantation of the embryos will usually be delayed, so that delivery can be up to 40 days after mating, instead of the usual 24.
The young are born deaf, blind and hairless and almost double their size day by day, but should not be handled by us until 10 days, to avoid leaving a strange smell and are rejected or attacked by the mother. Little by little, they will grow hair, their eyes and ears will form and they will run around everywhere. Then they will open their eyes and after 3 weeks they will start to taste water and food, although they will continue to breastfeed until 4 weeks or so. Some say they are ready to separate from the mother as soon as they stop breastfeeding, but it is not good to do that, because although they can live alone, it is better to learn what is necessary from their parents until 6 weeks. That will help them in their adult life.
It is advisable to separate the litter in males and females before they reach 10 weeks. We will avoid an explosion of birth without control in the medium term, since the females will soon go into heat, although normally they will not procreate until a few months later. Even so, we can not allow the case to be repeated three or four years ago in the United Kingdom, where 550 totally unattended gerbils were found in a small bungalow of a few square meters.