What To Do When One Gerbil Dies {Will Others Be Ok?}

Does one of your gerbil pass away? Are you unsure about what to do when one gerbil dies?

This happened to me a few years ago, Whilst its sad for us, its also sad for the gerbils left behind.

In this article, I’ll cover everything I did to keep the other gerbils as happy as they can.

What To Do When One Gerbil Dies

When your gerbil dies, you should dispose of it and clean the cage. This could be by dumping it in a trash can, or you could give it a befitting burial by burying it in your backyard.


Can gerbils survive alone?

Gerbils cannot survive alone because they are social animals that love to be in the company of other Gerbils. A lone gerbil could become sad and eventually end up depressed. Thus, this little creature needs members of its species to survive.

Gerbils are not wired to be a lone animal that can survive alone. They need other gerbils they can play and associate with. In the absence of this, however, the pet might become depressed.

Like other animals, including humans, depression in gerbil would shut down immunity, exposing the body to other ailments.

When your gerbil suffers from too much ailment due to a weakened immunity caused by depression which is also caused by loneliness, it may end up dead.

Therefore, Gerbils can’t survive alone. However, some Gerbils (very few though) are not like other gerbils. They prefer to be left alone.

You’ll know if your gerbil is like that if it doesn’t live in peace with its partner, no matter how hard you try. If the gerbil becomes more active and agile after being left alone, it likely doesn’t like a company. You may find this among female Gerbils, but some male also exhibit the trait.

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Should I get another gerbil after one dies?

You should get another gerbil after one dies and introduce them properly to each other. Although it might be difficult for the two to get along at first, they’ll eventually understand each other and live in peace.

Before you get another gerbil after one dies, you may want to investigate the cause of the death. If it’s a natural death, then you may get another pet. However, if it died due to a contagious disease, you should disinfect the environment and ensure that the other gerbils aren’t infected as well.

If they are, the new gerbil could be infected too.

You should also check if the gerbil didn’t die as a result of cannibalism. If it was, it is unsafe to introduce another gerbil in the same cage as the cannibal gerbil; it could kill it too. If you confirm everything to be fine, then it is best to get a new gerbil to keep the company of the lone gerbil.

Do Gerbils Grieve?

Gerbils grieve after the loss of their partner. Since they’re used to being in the partner’s company, the demise of such a partner puts them in a lonely state which could result in depression.

Gerbils are emotional animals, and you could tell from their actions when they grieve. A grieving gerbil will be less active and bored. In other words, it will be lethargic. After losing a partner, the following signs show that your gerbil is grieving:

  • It sleeps more than usual
  • Lose interest in playing or exploring
  • It stays longer in its burrow than usual
  • Loss of appetite
  • trying to escape (see here for why this happens}

For an animal to play around and eat well, it needs to be in the right state of mind. Once the state of mind is altered, they automatically lose interest in all these. Also, to wake up energetically, the animal needs a good state of mind as well.

It automatically loses this energy when it Grieves; thus, the resin for sleeping longer than usual.

Your bond is crucial. See why your gerbil likes you so much right here.


The grieving might continue for months, and the animal could end up sick. As a pet owner, you want to avoid this. Therefore, once a gerbil loses its partner, you shouldn’t waste time before introducing another gerbil to keep the company of the dead one.

This will help to shorten the grieving period since the pet now has a new friend to relate with.

If one gerbil dies, will the other eat it

If one gerbil dies, the other can eat it. When a gerbil dies and remains indisposed, it might begin to smell, attracting predators. Therefore, gerbils eat the remains of other gerbils to keep predators away.

Gerbils are omnivorous; thus, they do not depend only on plants for their nutrients; they eat flesh too. Hence, it’s not strange finding them exhibiting cannibalistic traits.

Once they discover that another gerbil is dead, they eat up the remains so the smell of the dead body doesn’t attract predators that might put them in danger.

How long it takes for Gerbils to start eating the remains of another gerbil depends on how soon they realize it’s dead and how hungry they are. A hungry gerbil won’t waste much time before it descends on the remains of another gerbil and begins its cannibalistic act.

They may start by eating the brain of the dead gerbil and eventually finish the whole body.

To prevent your dead gerbil from being eaten, you should pick it out of the cage and dump or bury it as quickly as possible. If the pet died from a contagious disease, its remains become dangerous for the other gerbils in the cage.

If they feed on it, they could be infected too. To avoid such a widespread disease, you should do the following when your gerbil dies:

  • Remove the remain from the cage as quickly as possible
  • Take out the other gerbils and keep them in a separate cage
  • Take out the old bedding
  • Disinfect the cage with antibacterial spray
  • Replace the bedding with a new one
  • Put the remaining gerbil back inside the cage

How do you keep a lone gerbil happy?

You can keep a lone gerbil happy by spending more time with it, providing them with an exercise wheel and running balls, and getting them a new partner. You can also allow them to spend some time outside its cage.

Keeping a gerbil happy is more than providing enough food and drinks; they also need your presence. Being a social animal, Gerbils love it when they find people they identify around them. You can make this beautiful pet happy by following the tips below:

  • Hold them every day
  • Provide them with holes to hide
  • Give them something to chew
  • Provide exercise wheels
  • Get them a partner
  • Take them for a checkup

1. Hold them every day

Gerbils love to be held by the people they know. Thus, if it is comfortable around you, you should hold it for at least 20 minutes every day.

Gently rub your hand over its fur and let the little pet enjoy the warmth of your hand. If you notice it’s feeling uncomfortable, you put it back on the ground.

2. Provide them with holes to hide

In the wild, Gerbils love to hide and curl in holes. You can simulate this as well. Provide them with tiny holes enough to make them curl and hide, so they have a feeling of being in the wild.

3. Give them something to chew

Get something to keep them busy. Such things may include cardboard boxes, papers, and chew toys. Just make sure what you give them is safe and won’t choke them. If they’re busy chewing, they’ll forget about loneliness.

4. Provide exercise wheels

Providing your pet with an exercise wheel is an excellent way to distract them from loneliness. It also helps them remain fit.

5. Get them a partner

Gerbils don’t enjoy being alone, which is a leading cause of their loneliness. One of the best ways to solve this is to get them a partner they can play and relate with. If you have a Male gerbil, it is best to get them a male partner. Also, if you have a female gerbil, it is best tí get them a female partner.

6. Take them for a checkup

Healthiness is a crucial factor that determines the happiness of your little pet. Thus, you should take your gerbil to a rodent vet once in a while for a checkup.

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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.