Why Are My Gerbils Fighting

2 gerbils facing each other for the article: Why Are My Gerbils Fighting

Have you ever witnessed two of your gerbils locked in a battle for supremacy? or questioned ‘why are my gerbils fighting?’ It may seem like they are going at it tooth and nail, but don’t worry – it’s all in a day’s work.

In this article, we’ll explore the underlying reasons why gerbils fight, from dominance issues to overcrowding and stress factors.

We’ll also look at solutions for resolving these territorial disputes.

So, don’t fret – let’s get to the bottom of why your gerbils are fighting like cats and dogs.

Key Takeaways

  • Dominance issues: Gerbils fight to establish dominance within their social group, displaying behaviors such as chasing, nipping, and pinning. Separate gerbils into different cages or areas to prevent one gerbil from having complete control.
  • Overcrowding: Overcrowding can lead to fighting among gerbils. Find a cage large enough to comfortably accommodate your gerbils, increase cage size, or provide separate spaces for each gerbil. Introduce toys to alleviate stress caused by confinement and allow gerbils time to play outside of the cage in a larger space.
  • Stress factors: Unequal access to resources, gender differences, and lack of space can contribute to gerbil fighting. Provide enough food, water, and space to reduce tension between gerbils. Hormonal differences between genders can create an imbalance of power.
  • Territorial disputes: Gerbils are naturally territorial animals and may fight when housed together. Pair bonding and environmental enrichment can prevent territorial disputes. Provide two of the same items for both gerbils to establish their own territories and offer hiding places and enrichment activities like tunnels and tubes.

Dominance Issues

It’s common for gerbils to fight when one of them is trying to establish dominance. This type of hierarchical behavior is a natural part of the hierarchical structure within a gerbil’s social group. Understanding this behavior can help you to better manage and prevent disputes between your pet gerbils.

When two gerbils are fighting, it’s often a sign that one of them is trying to establish dominance. The dominant gerbil will display certain behaviors, such as chasing, nipping, and pinning the other gerbil, in order to show its superiority. If the fight continues, it can lead to serious injuries.

In order to prevent such disputes, it’s important to keep your gerbils in separate cages or in different areas of the same cage. This will help to ensure that no one gerbil has complete control over the other. It’s also important to provide enough space and resources so that they both feel comfortable and secure.


If you’re housing more than two gerbils in the same cage, they could be fighting due to overcrowding. It’s important to find a space that’s large enough to comfortably accommodate your gerbils and prevent overcrowding. Without enough room, gerbils will become stressed and territorial, leading to fighting and possible injury.

Here are some tips to prevent overcrowding in your gerbil cage:

  • Increase the size of the cage: If possible, upgrade to a larger cage that will give your gerbils the space they need to live comfortably.
  • Introduce toys: Providing plenty of toys can help alleviate some of the stress caused by being in a confined space.
  • Separate gerbils: If you have multiple gerbils, it’s important to give them their own space to avoid overcrowding.
  • Give them time to play: Spend time outside of the cage to allow your gerbils to explore and play together in a larger space.

Stress Factors

Apart from overcrowding, there are other stress factors that can contribute to gerbil fighting. Unequal access to resources, gender differences, and lack of space are all possible contributors. To understand how these factors work, let’s explore them in more detail.

Stress FactorExamplesImpact
Unequal Access to ResourcesKeeping gerbils in a tank that is too small; not provide enough hiding placesGerbils can become aggressive towards each other as they compete for resources.
Gender DifferencesIntroducing a new male gerbil to an established female gerbil; one gerbil is more dominant than the otherHormonal differences between genders can create an imbalance of power, leading to conflict.
Lack of SpaceKeeping gerbils in a tank that is too small; not providing enough hiding placesWhen gerbils feel insecure, they are more likely to become aggressive towards each other.

It’s important to be aware of these stress factors and to take steps to avoid them. Providing enough food, water, and space for gerbils can help reduce tension between them. Additionally, separating gerbils of different genders can help prevent fighting. With the right care and attention, gerbils can live happily without resorting to aggression.

Territorial Disputes

Your gerbils’ territorial disputes may be the cause of their fighting. Gerbils are naturally territorial animals who, when housed together, will often compete for dominance. This can result in one or both gerbils becoming increasingly aggressive, leading to fighting.

The best way to prevent territorial disputes and fighting is to create an environment that allows for pair bonding and environmental enrichment. Here are four tips to help:

  • Provide two of the same items for both gerbils, such as two-wheeled toys, two water bottles, two houses, or two tunnels.
  • Allow for plenty of space so your gerbils can establish their own territories.
  • Make sure to provide hiding places and plenty of enrichment activities, such as tunnels, tubes, and other items to explore.
  • Monitor your gerbils for signs of stress and adjust the environment as needed.

If you follow these tips, your gerbils should be able to form a bond and avoid territorial disputes. However, if your gerbils continue to fight, it’s best to separate them immediately and consult your veterinarian for further advice.

Solution Strategies

To help resolve your gerbils’ fighting, there are some solution strategies you can put into place.

First, make sure to provide plenty of socialization opportunities for your gerbils. Give them enough space to interact with each other without feeling threatened. This can be done with multiple housing options, such as separate cages or play areas.

You can also introduce toys and other enrichment activities that give them something to focus on instead of fighting. Additionally, it’s important to provide an appropriate diet and plenty of exercise. This can be done by introducing foods that are high in fiber and low in fat, as well as offering plenty of opportunities to exercise and explore.


It can be heartbreaking to watch two gerbils fight, but it’s important to remember that they’re simply acting out a natural instinct.

By understanding why they’re fighting, you can take steps to help them resolve their issues.

With patience, a little understanding, and a calm environment, your gerbils can learn to coexist peacefully and enjoy each other’s company once more.

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