Can Gerbils Die of Loneliness? 6 Ways to Keep a Lonely Gerbil Happy

Gerbils were once a desert rodent, living in the sands of Africa and are part of the Gerbillinae family. They are now rodents we keep as pets, tiny and sweet creatures suitable for families and new pet owners. Gerbils are friendly and social creatures that need a lot of interaction. 

Can gerbils die of loneliness? Directly no, they can’t die from loneliness. However, they can die from other causes that comes from being alone such as; losing appetite, they stop grooming themselves, or on the contrary starts over-grooming themselves. These things significantly increases the risk of developing infectious diseases.

Gerbils are one of the pets that usually require two to maintain and keep alive, and for many reasons. They will not die from loneliness, but they do need a family or partner to help make them feel secure in your home. You will need to make sure you have enough space for two gerbils, not just one. However, if one of your gerbils dies, you may want to consider buying a second one for both of them to have healthy lives. 

How Can a Gerbil Die From Not Having a Partner?

Gerbils usually live together in the wild, so they are used to companionship all of the time. Taking this away could lead to health problems that they wouldn’t otherwise get from being in a group or with another gerbil. 

Gerbils groom each other and without another gerbil helping them groom they may stop altogether. Or not know which areas to groom, and this may lead to infection. Two create a home, and they feel secure. Without this feeling of safety, your gerbil may stop coming out to play, leading to less exercise. 

Signs of a Lonely Gerbil

There are a few distinct signs you will notice if your gerbil becomes lonely. Every gerbil is different, so you must get to know your pet to be able to tell if they are acting differently or in an unusual manner. 

  • Losing appetite – This is a pretty severe sign your gerbil is unhappy or lonely. If you recently lost your second gerbil, the living pet could take this bad and stop eating. This could cause other serious health problems. 
  • Quiet – Now, this may not be for every pet owner. If your gerbil is usually quiet, it may not be a sign; they are lonely. However, if they typically talk a lot to your or around you and then stop their noises, it could be a terrible sign. It all depends on your gerbil’s normal behavior. 
  • Sleeping Once you get to know your gerbil, you will notice their own sleeping patterns. If they are all of a sudden sleeping a lot longer than usual, it could be a sign your gerbil is depress from being alone. 
  • Pulled hair – If they do not know how to groom themselves properly, they may over-groom themselves. If you notice bald patches are blood in certain areas, this is likely the cause. 
  • Lack of interest – If your gerbil usually loves to play and exercise, this means they are happy and healthy. However, if they stop playing or find their activities annoying, it could be a sign of loneliness. 

You are your gerbil’s entire life, and this can be a huge responsibility. If one of your gerbils dies, it will be essential to notice any unusual behavior changes, and you will need to make sure your gerbil is happy. If you can’t afford to get another gerbil, you will have to be the one to take its place. You will have to hold, groom, and cuddle your gerbil to make sure they are feeling enough affection.

6 Ways to Keep Your Gerbil Happy While Alone


There are a few ways you can keep your gerbil comfortable while also keeping it alone. If a gerbil passes it away, it can be devastating, and you may not feel ready to buy a new one. This is also sad for the gerbil that is still with you. However, here are some tricks to keep them happy. 

1. Hold Your Gerbil Every Day

You should be holding your gerbil for 20 minutes at a minimum every day. You should allow them time outside of their cage with you so they can bond and connect with you.

2. Give Them Holes to Hide

Lots of rodents love to hide, so it is essential to give them a safe space where they can curl up and burrow. In the wild, these animals love to burrow, and it is essential to let them mimic that behavior in their cage.

Toys like this edible hideaway, sold on Amazon, is a perfect toy for gerbils in general.

3. Create Something For Them to Chew On

This can include paper, cardboard boxes, and chew toys from the store. Whatever you choose, just make sure it is safe for them and that there is no risk of your gerbil possibly choking. 

4. Provide a Exercise Wheel

Exercise wheels are a great distraction/game for your gerbil to do. They will love it, and exercise will help them let loose any extra energy.

If you’re looking to buy a wheel for your gerbil I recommend this silent one that’s sold on Amazon. Seriously, get a silent one. Even though it’s cute to hear your little pet(s) run around, often times silence is golden!

5. Provide Running Balls

Let your gerbil wander around your home in a way you won’t lose them. It allows them to explore and be interactive in your house. You can add in many new toys that will brighten your gerbils day up. 

6. Get Them to Their Vet Check-Ups

There are specialized vets for rodents, and once in a while, you will want to make sure that they get checked up. This will help you be aware of any physical problems you need to pay attention to. Paying attention to any physical problems will help you keep them healthier, and in return, they will be happier. 

You should be spending 20 to 30 minutes with your gerbil each day, and even that may not be enough, especially if they had a companion all day every day. You will have to adapt and notice what your gerbil wants and then give it to them. 

If all of this fails, you will want to consider buying another gerbil to introduce to your existing one. This may seem like a lot of work, but having two happy gerbils is much better than have a gerbil who is depressed and dying. 

Final thoughts

Owning a gerbil may seem like a little responsibility, but it is actually a big commitment. Having two gerbils are less work in some ways and more work in other ways. You will want to make sure to keep their cage clean and to keep their toys clean, which can be pretty time-consuming. 

If you have one gerbil, it is your responsibility to cater to all of your pet’s needs and being affectionate with them, so they do not get lonely. It is not something you should take lightly, and you should consider getting two instead of one because it is a sure way to keep them healthy together. 

There are many things to consider when taking care of your gerbil. You will want to think about the size of the cage you buy, and if it caters to space they will need, they love to play. You will also want to think about if you have enough time to spend with your pets, 20 to 30 minutes a day is a minimum you should be willing to spend with your pets, if this is too much it could be the wrong pet for you. 

Gerbils are sweet and intelligent creatures that love to play, explore, and burrow. Each gerbil will have their own needs and even have a unique personality that will grow attached to their owners over time. 

Once you own a gerbil, you will love them for their entire lives. They make excellent pets, and with the proper care, they will be happy and enrich your life. Gerbils may have feelings, and they will grow a strong bond with you as long as you take care of them properly.


I love animals! I grew up with everything from dogs and cats to rabbits and guinea pigs. I enjoy learning about pets and to share what I learn with others.

2 thoughts on “Can Gerbils Die of Loneliness? 6 Ways to Keep a Lonely Gerbil Happy

  1. Pingback: Can I Give My Gerbils Toilet Paper? (Is it Safe?) – Pocket Pet Central
  2. We have had our gerbils for just about a year and one of them has stomach problems we took her to the vet and her stomach was hard we may loose her and I am very worried we will loose the other one aswell this has really helped

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