Gerbils are social animals, and they are known for living in pairs and groups of up to twenty animals. Gerbils housed individually may be prone to loneliness, depression, and other health problems.
Although they can live with other gerbils, they can be viewed by other more aggressive species as prey. Owning one or more gerbil as a pet is fun. But they need companions when you’re not around.
So, can gerbils live with other animals? No, other animals and gerbils cannot and should not live together in the same enclosure. This is because gerbils and other animals belong to different species. A gerbil should live with a gerbil. Keeping another animal with them in the same tank or cage may not be safe.
In this article, we’ll find out if gerbils can live together with other animals and look at how best to provide companions without stressing them out.
Why Gerbils Cannot Live With Other Animals
As said earlier, gerbils should live with fellow gerbils. No other animals living with gerbils in the same tank are said to be safe. If you are wondering whether you can keep gerbils and other animals together, you need to read the reasons below as to why it’s not possible.
We have used several animals in comparison with gerbils. Read on to get to know if they can live with the following animals:
Gerbils and Hamsters
In terms of personality, Gerbils are well known to be very active and territorial compared to other animals. Since gerbils are social, it means that they are okay sharing their territory with their fellow gerbils. If they notice any stranger, they attack them on sight.
Gerbils are always exploring, playing, or digging a tunnel.
On the other hand, hamsters are less active; they are solitary animals that prefer to live alone. They do not react to strangers in a friendly way. They have a habit of hiding from strangers as they are shy. They display an aggressive character whenever anything or anyone comes close to them.
Another thing that distinguishes the two is their sleeping habits. While some gerbils sleep partially during the day and entirely at night, hamsters spend the whole day sleeping and spend the whole night playing.
Therefore housing a gerbil with a hamster is a bad idea.
Gerbils and Mice
A lot of people wonder if it’s okay for gerbils to stay with mice. Ensure their friendly nature doesn’t trick you.
Gerbils and mice don’t belong to the same species; this means they cannot be housed together. They are both territorial and wouldn’t mind killing an intruder. Their social and behavioral traits are very different.
They are both aggressive to any threat in their surroundings. Gerbils are oversized while mice are small, which means that they are prone to fights, and in the process, a gerbil might hurt the mice. The two can also infect each other with deadly diseases.
Gerbils and mice can only live comfortably in different enclosures; therefore, avoid housing them together.
Guinea Pigs and Gerbils
Gerbils and guinea pigs are two different animals that belong to other species. If you own both, you may wonder if they can stay in the same tank. According to Animal behavior, gerbils formulate a strong social bond with fellow gerbils.
Gerbils and Guinea pigs don’t get along at any point. If placed together, they will fight each other for the available resources. They are both territorial and will tend to fight for space.
Gerbils like to take over and aren’t as scared as Guinea pigs. On the other hand, Guinea pigs are afraid of gerbils. When frightened, they will stop eating, freeze, shiver, lower their heads down, run away, or hide.
Some studies have shown that they can live together but not in the same cage. This is because they are rodent pets from different species, and they will definitely fight over available resources like food, space, and water.
If you are curious, maybe use the split cage method and find out if they will get along. Note that they won’t become friends or form a pair bond.
The Right Company for Gerbils
Gerbils need a companion for them to be comfortable and happy. If they stay alone, they may be prone to loneliness and depression. Playing with human beings will not satisfy their needs but will add them stress whenever the owner is not around.
Buying your gerbil, a friend of the same species, will be the best thing to do. At least they will have a fellow to interact with and do all the activities together. Gerbils are scent-oriented creatures. When they smell the scent of other animals, they get angry.
Getting two gerbils at the same time is much better than introducing one after the other. This is crucial because some gerbils might smell the scent of another new gerbil, and then term is as an intruder. That’s why it’s advisable to avoid mixing or matching your rodents.
Selecting Companions for Your Gerbils
Gerbils are adorable! However, you may get worried about keeping them in a home full of other pets. It shouldn’t put you off finding them a friend. Just like human beings, gerbils need partners to stay with but not of the same sex. This is because they are social, playful, and live well in large groups.
Placing them with those of the same sex may lead to a high rate of reproduction. Before selecting another animal for your gerbil, you will be required to do the following things.
You need to:
- Conduct constant supervision when they are with other animals to harm each other by fighting either knowingly or accidentally, even if they look friendly.
- Prevent other animals at home from accessing them because gerbils are scent-oriented. If they smell the scent of other animals, they might get stressed out. If they feel threatened, they may feel scared, leading to aggressiveness.
- Make sure that you maintain a positive interaction while handling them.
- House familiar adult gerbils together. Always make an effort not to mix them even though they are in separate gerbilariums.
- Keep them with other gerbils. Never keep them alone because they are social, active and inquisitive. Instead, keep them in pairs of 2 or groups of up to 15 because they are used to staying together even in the wild.
Can Gerbils Live Alone After one Dies?
Gerbils are fun animals to keep as pets, but they have a shorter life span. It all depends on the type of species, care, and genetics. When one fails to survive and passes away, you are left with one big problem of handling the surviving partner. Gerbils are active animals, and they do not like to be left alone.
If they are alone, they get stressed, cold, sick, injured, or depressed. The remaining animal may also die from certain conditions caused by loneliness. If the gerbil died due to an illness, take it away and wash the cage to prevent disease transmission to the partner left in the cage.
To replace the dead gerbil, pick out one gerbil from pairs living together. You may also pick the ones that are between six and eight weeks old. This will result in much more transition and make them comfortable.
Gerbils can only be left alone for up to one week. If you are going for a vacation, you can do the following things to make them feel comfortable.
- Ask a friend to help
- Find a gerbil sitter
- Bring your gerbil with you may be on vacation.
- Take it to a boarding service until you come back or until you get another gerbil.
With all this in mind, Gerbils and other animals should not stay together in the same enclosure. Putting them together will create trouble as they differ in many ways. They need to be kept in different tanks far from each other’s scent.
On the other hand, putting gerbils of different sexes together means that they will inevitably mate and produce more babies. Never should they be placed with other animals as they’ll be of a significant threat to each other.
Any rodent who is considered territorial or a predator should not be enclosed with other species due to the high risks of strange behaviors. Owning one extra gerbil means additional care costs. Therefore, gerbils should live with fellow gerbils or with kin if brought up with or by them.