When Do Gerbils Grow Up

When Do Gerbils Grow Up?

Gerbils are adorable small rodents with various breeds and colors, making them popular pets. If you’re a gerbil enthusiast, you might be curious about when gerbils grow up, the stages of their development, and factors influencing their growth. In this article, I’ll answer these questions and share some fascinating insights into gerbil life.

When Do Gerbils Mature?

Gerbils typically reach sexual maturity around 3 months after birth, allowing them to begin breeding. However, male gerbils mature approximately 2 weeks earlier than females. If you want to prevent breeding, it’s advisable to separate them or consider neutering when they are around 2 months old.

Growth Stages of Gerbils

Gerbils have a lifespan of around 2-3 years, and their growth stages can be categorized as follows:

  • 0-2 weeks: The most vulnerable period, where they rely entirely on their mother’s milk and protection. They are blind, deaf, and have sparse fur, revealing their skin color.

  • 2 weeks: Eyes open, allowing them to see their surroundings and siblings. Fur starts to grow, showcasing their breed and patterns.

  • 3 weeks: Ears open, enabling them to hear and make squeaking sounds. They begin trying solid foods like seeds, fruits, and vegetables, though still reliant on mother’s milk.

  • 4-5 weeks: Weaning is complete, and they become more active, exploring and chewing on objects. This marks their most playful phase, requiring ample space and toys to satisfy their curiosity.

  • 1-2 months: Independent living, capable of finding food, grooming themselves, and establishing social relationships. Introduce gerbils to each other before this period to avoid conflicts if planning to keep them together.

  • 3 months: Sexual maturity is achieved, allowing gerbils to reproduce. Pregnancy lasts around 24-26 days, yielding 3-10 pups per litter.

  • 6-8 months: Full-grown size is attained, with males no longer increasing in height or weight. Size varies between 2-4 ounces and 4-6 inches, depending on the breed.

  • 1-2 years: Entering middle age, gerbils become less energetic and have reduced reproductive capabilities. Fur color lightens, especially around the eyes and nose.

  • 2-3 years: Approaching the end of their lifespan, gerbils exhibit signs of aging, such as shorter front teeth, elongated back teeth, slower movement, decreased appetite, weakened immunity, and susceptibility to illness. Providing extra care during this stage is crucial for their happiness and well-being.

Factors Influencing Gerbil Growth

Various factors, beyond age, impact gerbil growth:

  • Genetic factors: Determine breed, color, patterns, size, and personality traits. Different breeds exhibit distinct growth rates and sizes.

  • Dietary nutrition: Affects growth; imbalances can hinder or accelerate development. Gerbils primarily eat seeds for energy and protein, supplemented with fruits and vegetables for vitamins and hydration.

  • Size influencing male dominance: Gerbils are social animals, forming hierarchies in shared enclosures. Larger males have advantages in leadership and earn respect from other gerbils. Choosing similarly sized males or opting for a solitary male can prevent competition and conflicts.

  • Gender differences (larger males): Males tend to be larger than females, requiring more muscle and strength for protection and territorial disputes. Gender can be distinguished by observing reproductive organs.

    Size Variations in Different Gerbil Breeds

    Gerbils come in various breeds with differing sizes:

    • Long-eared gerbil: Notable for exceptionally long ears, reaching up to 2 inches, exceeding their body length. They measure 2-4 inches in length and weigh between 1.7-4.7 ounces. Available in colors like black, brown, and white, with some displaying spots or stripes. Known for their gentle and easily trainable nature, they make great pets.

    • Giant gerbil: This large breed can reach up to 8 inches in length, making it the largest gerbil. Weighing between 6-12 ounces, they are robust and come in colors like grey, brown, and black, often with white spots or stripes. Giants are lively, curious, intelligent, but may be mischievous, requiring more space and toys to expend their energy.

    • Dwarf gerbil: The smallest gerbil breed, measuring only 3 inches in length. Weighing between 0.7-1.4 ounces, they are lightweight and come in colors like brown, grey, and white, sometimes with black spots or stripes. Dwarfs are gentle, friendly, easily trainable, and ideal as pets.

    Determining Gerbil Age

    Judging a gerbil’s age isn’t straightforward due to subtle appearance changes. However, you can estimate their age through the following methods:

    • Lightening fur color: A significant sign of aging; fur around the eyes and nose turns white or grey as gerbils enter middle or late age. This occurs due to a reduction in melanin-producing cells.

    • Shorter front teeth, longer back teeth: Indicative of aging as gerbil teeth naturally wear down with age. Providing soft, easily digestible foods and items for teeth grinding becomes crucial.

    • Slower movement: The most noticeable sign of aging; gerbils become less active and prefer sleep and rest. Offering a warm, comfortable environment and companionship or toys can enhance their well-being.


    Through this article, you should now have a comprehensive understanding of when gerbils grow up, the stages of their development, and factors influencing their growth. You’ve also learned about the varying sizes of different gerbil breeds and how to estimate a gerbil’s age. Gerbils are fascinating and lovable creatures, and by caring for them attentively, providing suitable food and environments, they will bring you endless joy and warmth. I hope you enjoyed this article and adore your gerbils. Thank you for reading.

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