How Fast Can a Gerbil Run?

How Fast Can Gerbils Run?

Have you ever wondered how fast your gerbil can run? Or perhaps you’re interested in ways to make your gerbil run even faster? If you’re a gerbil enthusiast, this article is sure to satisfy your curiosity. Here, I’ll share some interesting facts about gerbil running speed and methods to enhance it. Let’s dive into the world of gerbil sprinting together!

Average Running Speed of Gerbils

Gerbils, native to Asia and Africa, are small rodents with round bodies, long tails, and adorable little ears. They typically inhabit dry desert or grassland areas, burrowing underground to escape heat and predators. Gerbils are known for being lively and curious animals, exploring their surroundings, playing with companions, and engaging in territorial battles.

So, how fast can gerbils run? According to a study, the top sprinting speed of gerbils can reach 10.8 kilometers per hour, equivalent to 3 meters per second. This speed surpasses the average human running speed and is faster than some other rodents like hamsters and guinea pigs. Gerbils’ short bursts of speed are mainly used for evading predators or launching sudden attacks during confrontations.

However, gerbils are not continuous high-speed runners. Their average running speed is 0.89 kilometers per hour, equivalent to 0.25 meters per second. This speed is considerably slower than their sprinting speed and slower than some other rodents like rabbits and squirrels. Gerbils’ average running speed is primarily used for daily activities such as building burrows, searching for food, or playing with companions.

Gerbil Running Style

The running style of gerbils differs from some other rodents. They primarily use their hind legs and long tails for balance instead of all four limbs. Gerbils have longer hind legs than front legs, enabling them to jump higher and farther. With tails that make up half their body length, gerbils can adjust their direction during turns or maintain stability while jumping.

Gerbil running can be classified into two styles: hopping and running. Hopping is their primary mode of running, where they alternate between front and hind legs, covering a distance of up to 30 centimeters per jump and leaping 10 times per second. This hopping style allows gerbils to move quickly and maintain balance on uneven surfaces. Running, the secondary style, involves using all four limbs simultaneously, covering a distance of 15 centimeters per stride and running 20 times per second. This running style helps gerbils conserve energy on flat surfaces and accelerate in urgent situations.

Factors Influencing Gerbil Running Speed

Gerbil running speed is not fixed; it is influenced by various factors such as age, physical condition, genetics, and environment. Let’s explore how these factors impact gerbil running speed:

Age: Generally, younger gerbils run faster than adults, and older gerbils run slower than their younger counterparts. This is attributed to the greater agility, strength, and quicker reflexes of younger gerbils.

Physical Condition: Healthy gerbils run faster than unhealthy ones. Good health contributes to stronger bodies, better cardiovascular function, and lower energy consumption.

Genetics: Gerbil genetics play a role in running speed. Those with genes for fast running exhibit increased muscle fiber efficiency, improved nervous system function, and higher hormone levels, resulting in enhanced speed.

Environment: The environment significantly affects gerbil running speed. Providing ample space stimulates their natural running instincts, encouraging them to move freely, adjust speed, and change direction. Conversely, confined spaces limit their running abilities, making them lazier and more prone to injuries.

Enhancing Gerbil Running Speed

If you want your gerbil to run faster, consider implementing the following methods:

Provide Adequate Space: Offer a large and spacious cage or a dedicated play area with tunnels, wheels, slides, and other toys. These additions provide choices and challenges, stimulating their running instincts.

Choose Suitable Bedding: Opt for soft bedding materials like wood shavings, paper, or cotton, allowing gerbils to dig, build burrows, and hide food easily. This facilitates freer movement and reduces the risk of injuries from hard or sharp objects.

Create a Safe and Stimulating Environment: Eliminate potential hazards from the cage or play area, such as wires, plastic bags, or glass shards, ensuring gerbils won’t be fearful and restricting their running. Add climbing structures like wooden bridges, ladders, and huts to offer varying heights and angles for running, promoting physical exercise and improving balance.

Ensure a Healthy Diet: Provide a balanced diet, including gerbil pellets, hay, fresh fruits, and vegetables, to supply the necessary proteins, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. Avoid excessive treats like chocolate, chips, or biscuits to prevent negative impacts on their speed due to weakness or obesity.

Offer Sufficient Playtime Daily: Allocate at least 30 minutes of daily playtime for your gerbils. Allow them to run freely in the cage or play area or interact with you, promoting happiness and bonding. Rotate different play equipment, such as wheels, slides, and tunnels, to introduce variety and stimulation, encouraging your gerbils to run with interest and motivation.


Exercise is crucial for a gerbil’s health, maintaining strength, uplifting mood, and prolonging lifespan. As a gerbil enthusiast, actively create an environment conducive to their running, ensuring a healthy and joyful life. By providing enough space, selecting appropriate bedding, establishing a safe and stimulating environment, guaranteeing a healthy diet, and offering sufficient daily playtime, you can enhance your gerbil’s running speed, enabling them to run faster, farther, and more freely. I hope you enjoy this article and that your gerbil becomes a happy and enthusiastic runner!

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