How Long Do Gerbils Live

Picture of an old gerbil standing infront of an old alarm clock that has a bell ringer on the top. The picture is for the article: How long do gerbils live

You may have heard the old adage that ‘life is short,’ but how long do gerbils live, it’s especially true. The average lifespan of a gerbil is only two to three years, although certain factors can affect it.

In this article, we’ll explore the diet, environment, and health risks that can influence how long your gerbil will live. With proper care and attention, it’s possible to extend their lifespan and ensure your gerbil lives a happy and healthy life.

Key Takeaways

  • Gerbils live for an average of 3-4 years.
  • Lifespan depends on factors like genetics, environment, and veterinary care.
  • Gerbils kept as pets tend to live longer than wild gerbils.
  • Factors like diet, genetics, exercise, and companionship can influence gerbil lifespan.

Average Lifespan

On average, gerbils live for 3-4 years. The exact lifespan of any particular gerbil, however, will depend on a variety of factors, such as genetic inheritance, environmental conditions, and the quality of veterinary care they receive. In general, gerbils kept as pets tend to live longer than their wild counterparts.

The most important factor in determining the lifespan of a gerbil is the quality of care they receive. Gerbils kept in captivity must have access to a regular diet of nutritious food, clean water, and a clean and comfortable living environment. They should also receive regular veterinary checkups to ensure their health.

Gerbils that live in the wild often have shorter lifespans due to environmental factors such as predators, disease, and insufficient food. As such, they aren’t likely to live as long as their captive counterparts.

In addition to environmental factors, the genetic inheritance of a gerbil can also have an impact on its lifespan. Some gerbil species tend to live longer than others, and some gerbils may be more prone to certain diseases which can shorten their lifespan.

Factors Affecting Lifespan

Typically, several factors influence the lifespan of gerbils. These include their diet, genetic makeup, exercise levels, and breeding habits. Quality nutrition and regular exercise are important for their wellbeing and to help them reach their full life expectancy.

Genetically, some gerbils may have a longer lifespan than others. It’s important to research the breed you’re interested in to get an idea of the lifespan. Breeding habits can also affect how long a gerbil lives. For example, a gerbil who lives in a large cage with multiple companions is likely to be healthier and live longer than one who’s alone in a small cage.

Good exercise habits are important for gerbils. They need daily activity and stimulation to stay healthy and be able to reach their full life expectancy. Exercise wheels and tunnels can provide the necessary stimulation for gerbils to stay active.


Continuing on from the importance of exercise and genetics, diet is another key factor that plays a role in how long gerbils can live. Gerbils, like all other animals, require a balanced diet to remain healthy. A gerbil’s diet should include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, and a small amount of proteins, such as cooked egg whites, small insects, and mealworms. The gerbil should also have access to a supply of hay and grasses to help with digestion. Additionally, it’s important to provide a variety of bedding materials, such as wood shavings, for the gerbil to socialize and exercise in.

The quality and amount of food a gerbil consumes will have an impact on its lifespan. Too much food can lead to obesity, which can put a strain on the gerbil’s organs and lead to early death. On the other hand, not enough food can lead to malnutrition and weaken the immune system. Therefore, it’s important to monitor the gerbil’s diet and adjust it accordingly.


Considering the environment in which gerbils are kept is also important for their longevity. Gerbils need plenty of exercise to stay healthy, and having an appropriately sized cage is essential for them to move around and explore. When it comes to cage size, bigger is usually better and should provide plenty of room for them to move and play. Some of the items to include in the cage are:

  • A wheel for running and exercising
  • Chew toys to keep their teeth at a healthy length
  • Shelves and tunnels to encourage exploration
  • A bedding material to keep them warm and comfortable

Gerbils also require a clean environment free from drafts and other hazards. This means changing and cleaning their cage often since gerbils can be sensitive to odors and dust. Additionally, gerbils should be kept in a temperature-controlled environment that’s comfortable for them.

With these considerations in mind, gerbils can have a healthy and happy life that can last anywhere from two to five years.

Health Risks

Although gerbils can live a long and healthy life if properly cared for, there are certain health risks that can reduce their lifespan. Gerbils are prone to a variety of medical conditions including obesity, respiratory issues, digestive problems, and mites. To help your gerbil stay healthy and prevent potential illnesses, it is important to follow a few simple guidelines.

First, make sure to keep your gerbil’s diet balanced and nutritious. Offer a variety of fresh vegetables and a small amount of high-quality gerbil pellets. Additionally, it’s important to provide exercise opportunities for your gerbil so that they can stay active and maintain a healthy weight.

It is also important to keep an eye on your gerbil’s stress levels. Gerbils are easily stressed by sudden changes in their environment or lack of social interaction. Make sure that your gerbil has adequate space to explore and enough toys to keep them entertained.

Care TipsPotential Health Risks
Balanced DietObesity
Exercise OpportunitiesRespiratory Issues
Monitor Stress LevelsDigestive Problems
Social InteractionMites

Taking these steps to ensure your gerbil’s environment is healthy and safe can go a long way in helping them live a longer, happier life. Creating and following a regular exercise routine, and monitoring your gerbil’s stress levels, will help them stay healthy and reduce the risk of potential illnesses.


Gerbils have an average lifespan of two to three years. However, many factors can affect their longevity. Caring for them properly is crucial. Providing a healthy diet and a safe environment is essential for ensuring that they live a long and happy life. With proper care and attention, you can look forward to many years of companionship with your gerbil.

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