How to Know if Your Gerbil Likes You?

Realizing if your gerbil likes you or not is not as difficult as one may think. Anything new to them at first will make them a little timid, but they have their ways to let us know how they feel.

How do you tell if your gerbil likes you?

You can tell if your gerbil likes you by identifying positive body language, through different squeaks they make, and overall behaviors of the animal.

Taking the time to understand their signals could help you determine whether they like you or not. 

Knowing these signs will benefit the overall health of the animal, physically and mentally. Most gerbils have it better when they have another gerbil to socialize with, but they can tell you when they are unhappy as well with their mannerisms. 

Positive Body Language 

Gerbils can let us know how they feel with their body language. Signs or postures to look out for include: 

  • Jumping up into the air
  • Purrs like a kitten 
  • Come to you when you place your hand out to them

Jumping in the Air

These are signs that your gerbil likes you. When they see you and start jumping up in the air, that means your gerbil is excited to see you. This shows that they are happy you are in their presence. 

When you are playing with them, and they jump around, it signals they are happy to be socializing with you.  Gerbils are social critters, so this brings them joy, and you can tell they like you if they are responding with jumps. 

You will see many more ways to tell if gerbils are happy. Look here to find out. 

Purrs like a Kitten

If while you are holding them, for one, if they let you hold them, this is a big step of affection that they like you. However, you can be certain when they begin to purr while you pet them. 

They enjoy having their head and belly scratched, and they will reward you with gratification by purring. You will know they adore your love when their body starts to vibrate and purr with joy with every pet or scratch!

Come to You When You Place Your Hand to Them

Gerbils can be shy initially to their new home and surroundings, as most animals, and may not come to you at first because they are unsure. However, after awhile, they will get used to being near you.

When they begin to come to you when you put your hand out to them, that is a sure sign they like you and are comfortable being petted by you.

Vocalization: A Sign They Like You

Gerbils squeak and chirp to verbalize with one another, but they will also squeak at you to signal to you how they fell as well. They have different squeals for different moods. Studies have shown that gerbils vocalize in 13 different syllables. 

Some positive sounds include purring and yipping. Purring is a positive sound showing they like being held by you. Yipping is often associated with jumping in the air, motioning that’s they are excited to see you and be around you. 

High pitch squeals are common with baby gerbils calling out to their mothers. This is a positive signal and not something to be concerned about.

Negative Sounds to Be Aware Of

Additionally, there are negative sounds to watch out for. So you are able to tell if they are unhappy. Those sounds include the following:

  • Thumping 
  • Aggressive Squeak
  • Loud Squeak

Thumping is a warning signal to other gerbils when they beat their back legs into the floor to make a thumping sound. They do this when they feel threatened by loud noises or other possible triggers.

Aggressive squeaks show feelings of annoyance and irritation. If this occurs between two gerbils, be prepared to separate a brawl.

Loud squeaks signal fear. If your gerbil squeaks loud at you, it is a sure way to tell they do not like you yet. But it could also mean they are in pain. If this occurs several days in a row without your presence too close, a vet check may be in order. 

Overall Behavior 

In general, there are recurrent behaviors that your gerbil will display; studying the good from the bad can help you if you are having a difficult time getting your gerbil to like you. 

Positive Behaviors and Postures

Some signs that they are feeling happy and enjoying themselves include sitting upright with their arms at their side, greeting one another, grooming themselves, and borrowing or digging in their cage. 

If your Gerbil is standing upright with its arms at its side, that means they are relaxed and possibly even curious. They may do this when they see you come in the room. 

If you have two gerbils and they greet each other by touching each other’s face or noses, this is positive behavior. Another sign to notice is if your gerbil grooms itself or other gerbils. That signals they are relaxed, comfortable, and calm. 

You may think that borrowing or digging may seem like a negative behavioral trait, but really they love to borrow in shredded paper to create a cozy nest. They feel at home when they can dig and relax in their space.

Negative Behavior and Postures

Some negative behaviors you will want to look out for include standing with their paws pressed together if they push your hand away when your reach for them, arch their back, or if they are trembling. These negative traits can be valuable to notice in the event your gerbil is anxious and unhappy. You will at least have the opportunity to halt these behaviors if you know the signs. 

When they stand with their paws pressed together, it means they are stressed or on high alert. This could be caused by your presence or another gerbil. Loud noise also frightens them so they could do this when loud noises occur. 

If your gerbil pushes you away when you put your hand out to it, it is best to just leave it alone and try again the next day. It is best not to force them to play. This will only increase their stress level and will not benefit your relationship.  

When your gerbil arches its back, that is definitely a sign of anger. This may occur when two gerbils are fighting each other. When this happens, it is best to separate them in different cages or with a toy barrier. You can try to reintroduce them when they have both calmed down. 

If your gerbil is shaking, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re cold. Instead, this could mean they are frightened. Loud noises or other animals can cause fear in gerbils. So be aware of our gerbils surroundings to help identify what is causing them to tremble. 

Some gerbils try to escape. Find out much more about this in my other article I wrote for all of us to be aware. 

Things You Can Do To Get Them To Like You


When bringing home a gerbil, keep in mind their new home is going to intimidate them. So give them time and space to adjust. But there are certain things you can do to make them feel more comfortable.

For example, to begin with, placing their cage in a quiet area to avoid any loud noises from scaring them is a good start. 

Talk to them daily and make yourself known to them so they can get used to you. Just take it one step at a time. Watch for the negative signals, and don’t try to speed up the process. This will strengthen your bond.

Gerbils are social creatures. They like to have other gerbils to associate with for a happier life. Gerbils can become depressed like if they are alone. So consider getting two gerbils when you’re considering becoming a gerbil owner. And unless you plan on breeding them, stay with two gerbils of the same sex.

Things That Will Make Your Gerbil Like You 

Happy gerbils live longer, and they will like you more the better you treat them. Provide them with things they like to build a better relationship like:

  • Outside of the Cage Time
    • Supervised roaming time
    • Stay indoors 
  • Toys to play with
    • Anything made from cardboard
    • Strong Wooden Toys
  • Cage Accessories
    • Tubes for tunnels
    • Exercise wheels

The obvious, food and water, the essentials will keep your little critter happy as well. 



My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.