Recently I had to split some Gerbils up through bullying.
I’d seen them displaying stereotypical bullying behaviour but was unable to pin-point just exactly who the culprets were. I assumed it was mum – REH and a daughter but could never tell just exactly who it was.
After checking their rumps I could see no sign of scabs from fur plucking – ‘bullying’.
Eventually I happened to be looking because I was certain my time would be up pretty soon and we’d see real fighting and noticed the fur around the beta’s mouth was somewhat ‘messy’. I pulled her out and yep, there were the scabs from fur being plucked.
I removed her and two younger siblings, then I noticed her litter sister also had the scabs. So she came out too and I put a younger sibling back in with mum to keep the split at 3 and 4.
I sat and watched the new ‘clan’ for around 20/3o minutes and noticed the beta and her sister being somewhat anxious around each other.
Oh dear, urm. So was it mum bullying or these two?
After placing the sister back in with mum yet again and taking out another younger sibling and watching mum with the older daughter everyone seemed to be happy. And I’ve eventually come to the conclusion it must’ve been the litter sister trying to overthrow the beta, or even mum.
I now wish I’d left in the beta and removed the other sister, but they all seem happy enough for now.
I did think it was odd that the alpha and beta would be arguing and should’ve known straight away it must’ve been a different scenario.
Anyway, I took some photos of the new clan a few days after enjoying some millet which also show the scabs which can so easily go unnoticed to an inexperienced owner.
The beta Gerbil in question - you can just see scruffy fur around her cheek/neck
Beta again, no signs of issues in this shot.
Beta - see scabs on her paw, chin and a patch on her chest above her right arm
Just make out her injuries
N.B – the reason I have no names for these Gerbils is because they do not belong to me, so I have not named them.