do gerbils need another gerbil

Do Gerbils Need Companionship?

Have you ever wondered if gerbils need companionship? If you’re a caring owner, you might consider getting a companion for your gerbil to keep it from feeling lonely and to enhance its happiness. However, you might be uncertain about whether gerbils truly require companions and how to choose and introduce suitable ones. In this article, I will share my experience and knowledge to help you address these questions.

Innate Social Nature of Gerbils

Gerbils are rodents native to Africa and Asia, and in the wild, they typically live in groups of 2 to 15 individuals. These social animals enjoy exploring, playing, grooming, warming up, and even sharing food and nests with their companions. Gerbils communicate through sounds, scents, and physical contact to establish and maintain harmony within the group.

Social Needs of Gerbils

Due to their innate social nature, gerbils have a strong need for social interaction. If kept alone without companionship, gerbils can experience loneliness, depression, boredom, and may exhibit behavioral and health issues such as excessive cage biting, fur loss, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Solely providing extra attention and care as an owner cannot fully replace the companionship gerbils get from their peers. To ensure the well-being and happiness of gerbils, the best approach is to provide them with one or more companions.

Choosing Companions

When selecting companions for gerbils, consider the following:

Recommend selecting same-sex companions to avoid breeding: Gerbils reproduce rapidly, with one litter producing 4-10 offspring, and they can have up to 6 litters in a year. Without adequate space, time, and resources, breeding can pose significant challenges. Inbreeding among gerbils can lead to defects and diseases. Unless you have a professional breeding plan, it’s advisable to avoid gerbil reproduction.

Choose gerbils from the same litter who are familiar with each other: Gerbils may show hostility and aggression toward unfamiliar individuals. If possible, select gerbils from the same litter to minimize the chances of territorial disputes. If you already have one gerbil, consider getting a sibling from the same litter as its companion. This way, they will recognize and accept each other more quickly.

Opt for gentle and non-dominant individuals from different litters: If finding gerbils from the same litter is challenging, choose gerbils with calm and non-aggressive personalities. Observing their behavior, such as their approachability, playfulness, and interaction with humans or other gerbils, can help you gauge their suitability.

Introducing New Companions

When introducing new companions to gerbils, avoid placing them together immediately, as it can cause fear and hostility, potentially leading to fights or injuries. Instead, use the following steps:

Prepare two similar cages: Place the cages together with a sturdy barrier between them, allowing gerbils to see and smell each other without direct contact.

Provide identical food, water, and toys: Ensure both gerbils have the same resources, fostering awareness of each other’s presence and maintaining proper nutrition and entertainment.

Swap their positions daily: Exchange the positions of the gerbils between the cages, allowing them to become more familiar with each other’s scents and habits. Continue this process for about a week, observing for signs of reduced hostility or fear.

Gradual introduction in a neutral space: In a neutral area, remove the barrier between the cages, allowing direct contact. Monitor their behavior closely, and if any aggression occurs, separate them and repeat the previous steps. If they exhibit friendly behavior, such as grooming, playing, or warming up to each other, they can coexist peacefully.

In the following days, continue observing their relationship. If conflicts or issues arise, you may need to reassess the compatibility of the gerbils or consider individual housing.

Special Cases for Solo Housing

While gerbils generally benefit from companionship, certain situations may require solitary housing:

Elderly or frail gerbils: Older gerbils or those with chronic health issues may not have the energy and patience to adapt to new companions. Providing extra care and attention to a solitary gerbil in such cases is crucial.

Sick or injured gerbils: A gerbil that is sick or injured may need a separate space for quiet recovery. Once fully healed, reintroducing it to its companion can be considered.

Gerbils with a solitary disposition: In rare cases, some gerbils may naturally prefer solitude or exhibit aggression towards other gerbils due to past experiences. Respecting their individuality by providing more space and freedom can be a suitable approach.

Owner discontinuing gerbil care: If you decide to stop caring for gerbils for any reason and have only one remaining, consider finding a new home with experienced and caring owners. Utilize pet adoption websites or organizations to connect with responsible individuals who can provide a suitable environment for your gerbil.


Gerbils are charming and social creatures that benefit from companionship to fulfill their social needs and promote overall well-being. When choosing and introducing gerbil companions, pay attention to details and employ techniques to prevent discomfort or conflicts. However, in special circumstances, such as aging, illness, or individual disposition, solitary housing may be appropriate. This article aims to assist you in resolving your queries and hopes that you and your gerbils can enjoy a happy life together.

Leave a Reply