What to Do if Your Gerbil Has Babies

A mother gerbil sat with her baby in soft bedding. The picture is for the article; What to do if your gerbil has babies.

You might not know this, but gerbils can produce up to seven litters a year, each consisting of three to ten pups.

Now, if you’ve recently discovered that your pet gerbil has unexpectedly become a mother, don’t panic, there are definite steps you can take to ensure the well-being of the newborn pups and their mother.

The process involves much more than simply providing food and a cosy nest; you’ll need to understand how to handle the pups, when to separate them from their mother, and how to prevent unintentional breeding in the future.

Curious to know more about this and how to navigate these small but significant challenges? Well, let’s get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Recognize the signs of gerbil pregnancy, such as increased appetite, rounded belly, and nesting behaviour.
  • Prepare a suitable gerbil nest with soft bedding, a quiet location, and low entry points.
  • Ensure the health of baby gerbils by monitoring their development, limiting handling during the first week, and providing a balanced diet for the mother.
  • Take steps to prevent future unintentional breeding by sex-identifying gerbils, separating males and females, and considering spaying or neutering as a permanent solution.

Recognizing Gerbil Pregnancy Signs

To recognize if your gerbil is pregnant, look out for signs such as increased appetite and water intake, steady weight gain, a rounded belly, personality changes, and nesting behaviour. These are vital clues that your gerbil could be expecting.

The appearance of an increased appetite is often the first sign. It’s not just about the amount they’re eating, but also the frequency. They might be nibbling more often, and you’ll notice they’re drinking more too.

Another sign is steady weight gain. While gerbils don’t gain a lot during pregnancy, the increase is consistent and noticeable. Their belly will also start to round out, particularly towards the latter part of the pregnancy. The shape is more oval than their usual sleek silhouette.

Personality changes are another giveaway. Your normally sociable gerbil might become more reclusive, or an active one might slow down.

Also, keep an eye out for nesting behaviour. If your gerbil starts gathering and arranging bedding materials, they’re likely preparing for the arrival of their babies.

As a responsible caretaker, recognizing these signs early allows you to make the necessary preparations for the new arrivals.

Preparing the Ideal Gerbil Nest

When your gerbil is expecting, you must create an ideal nest using soft, clean bedding material such as shredded paper or aspen shavings to ensure a warm and comfortable environment for the mother and her babies. Hygiene is paramount; regularly replacing the bedding material is necessary to maintain cleanliness in the nest box.

Now, let’s talk about the placement of the nest box. It should be in a quiet, secluded area of the cage to provide a peaceful haven for the new family. It’s also important that the nest box has low entry points, allowing the mother easy access and preventing the babies from falling out.

Temperature control is another key aspect of the wellbeing of newborn gerbils. The nest area should remain between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit to provide a cosy environment for the pups.

Ensuring Baby Gerbil’s Health

Keeping your newborn gerbils warm is crucial as they can’t regulate their body temperature on their own. A good way to do this is to provide a nest box filled with soft bedding material, where the mother can snuggle with them.

To ensure your baby gerbils’ health, you need to pay attention to the following:

  1. Monitor their development: Gerbil pups should start growing fur within a week and open their eyes in about two weeks. If they’re not meeting these milestones, it might indicate health issues.
  2. Limit handling: Newborn gerbils can easily get stressed. Avoid handling them during their first week unless necessary.
  3. Provide a balanced diet: The mother needs a high-quality diet to support her milk production. This, in turn, will help the pups grow and develop healthily.

Lastly, always be vigilant for signs of illness, such as malnourishment, respiratory problems, or diarrhoea. If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek veterinary assistance.

Weaning and Separating Baby Gerbils

Around the age of three weeks, you’ll need to start weaning your gerbil pups onto solid food, marking a crucial turning point in their growth and development. Introducing solid food too early could be problematic as they mightn’t be ready to digest it. Hence, it’s important to strike a balance between their milk intake and their new diet.

To facilitate this transition, provide a low-food dish and a water bottle within their reach. This allows them easy access to solids and water independently. As the pups grow, gradually increase the portion of solid food while decreasing the amount of milk they consume.

This process should be carried out with care and observation as every pup is unique and might adapt to changes differently.

Preventing Future Unintentional Breeding

To prevent a gerbil population boom, it’s crucial that you take steps to avoid unintentional breeding in the future. Unwanted litter can strain resources and lead to poor health for both the mother and the babies. It’s important to be proactive and ensure that your pets don’t breed unless you’re prepared for the responsibility.

Here are three steps you can take to prevent unintentional breeding:

  1. Sex Identification: It’s vital that you correctly identify the sex of your gerbils to avoid unplanned pregnancies. Male and female gerbils should be housed separately unless you intend for them to breed.
  2. Proper Housing: Use separate cages for male and female gerbils. If you’re housing more than one gerbil in a cage, ensure they’re of the same sex.
  3. Neutering or Spaying: This is a more permanent solution. Consult with a vet to determine if this is the right option for your gerbils.


In conclusion, if your gerbil has babies, it’s crucial to handle the situation correctly. Recognize pregnancy signs, prepare a cosy nest, and monitor the pups’ health.

Gradually wean them onto solids and separate them by week nine to avoid inbreeding. Always remember to remove the male gerbil post-birth to prevent consecutive pregnancies.

By doing so, you’re ensuring the well-being of your gerbil family.

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