Appropriate company for gerbils

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Ensure your gerbils have appropriate company


Portrait of single adult being held in an appropriate manner © Joe Murphy/RSPCA

Gerbils need:

  • To live with other gerbils, they should never be kept alone. They are happiest in same-sex pairs or small groups. Gerbils are sociable animals and, in the wild, group sizes range from two to 15 animals of all ages and sexes. Groups are founded by a breeding pair and extended by their offspring and other relatives. Housing gerbils together (PDF 93.3 KB).
  • Familiarity. Do not house unfamiliar adult gerbils next to one another. Even though they are in separate gerbilariums, they can find this stressful. 
  • The stress associated with handling reduced by making sure that you have positive interactions with them and gently habituate them to you. Handling your gerbils (PDF 93.8 KB).
  • Other animals in the home to be prevented from accessing them. Gerbils can find the presence and scent of other animals in the home stressful. Gerbils are prey animals, and although they can become accustomed to careful handlers, they may become frightened and aggressive if they feel threatened. 
  • Constant supervision when they¿re with another animal that may deliberately or accidently harm/frighten them even if you think they are good friends. This particularly includes dogs and cats which are natural predators.
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