Why Do Gerbils Scratch Their Cage

Why Do Gerbils Scratch Their Cage 1

Do you have a pet gerbil that scratches its cage? Why do gerbils scratch their cage? You’re not alone! An estimated 75% of gerbil owners have experienced this behavior.

Understanding why gerbils scratch their cages and what to do about it can help you provide a safe and comfortable home for your pet.

Learn what health benefits gerbils get from scratching, what signs of stress to look out for, and how to set up your gerbil’s cage for success.

Key Takeaways

  • Gerbils scratch their cage for various reasons, including nesting habits, cage design, and it being natural behavior.
  • Providing sufficient bedding and chew toys can help reduce the amount of scratching.
  • Scratching the cage offers health benefits for gerbils, including physical activity, stimulation, and stress reduction.
  • To address excessive scratching, gerbil owners can increase playtime, provide nesting materials, consider a scratch-resistant cage, maintain cleanliness, and add extra bedding or litter.

Reasons for Scratching

You may notice your gerbil scratching its cage for various reasons. One of the most common is nesting habits. Gerbils are natural burrowers, and they often use their claws to dig out nesting areas in their bedding. This is perfectly normal behavior and is nothing to worry about.

Additionally, the design of the cage can also play a role. If your gerbil doesn’t have enough room to dig and burrow, they may scratch the walls or bars of the cage in an attempt to make more space. This is especially true if the bedding is too deep or too shallow.

It’s important to understand that scratching the cage is a normal behavior for gerbils, and it’s not something that should be discouraged. In fact, providing them with enough bedding and toys to tunnel with can help reduce the amount of scratching that they do. Additionally, make sure that your gerbil has access to plenty of chew toys, as these can help them keep their claws in good condition and can give them something to scratch besides the cage.

Health Benefits

And why exactly is this behavior beneficial to their health?

Scratching their cage is an important part of a gerbil’s playtime activity and exercise regimen. It helps them stay physically active, burn off excess energy, and maintain muscle tone. Additionally, it offers stimulation for their mind, enabling them to satisfy their curiosity and explore the environment around them.

Here are five key health benefits of cage scratching for gerbils:

  • Strengthens bones and muscles
  • Improves coordination and balance
  • Enhances brain activity
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Minimizes aggression and hyperactivity

Scratching their cage also gives gerbils a sense of security and confidence. As they explore the environment inside their cage, they’re able to identify objects and differentiate between items they can interact with and those they should avoid. This activity also helps them develop social skills, as they interact with other gerbils and their environment.

Deterrents and Solutions

If your gerbil is scratching their cage excessively, it may be time to consider some deterrents and solutions. The first and most obvious solution is to give your gerbil more playtime outside the cage. If your gerbil has plenty of time to explore and play, it may be less likely to become bored and start scratching the cage walls.

Additionally, providing nesting materials like shredded paper can help keep your gerbil occupied and create a comfortable environment. This can also help to reduce scratching.

If playtime and nesting materials aren’t enough, you may need to consider a different type of cage. Some cages are designed to be more scratch-resistant. Furthermore, you can look for cages with additional features such as ramps, platforms, and toys that can help keep your gerbil entertained.

Finally, make sure to keep the cage clean and free of any debris that could encourage your gerbil to scratch. If the cage hasn’t been cleaned recently, it may be a good idea to do so. Additionally, you can add extra bedding or litter to the cage to help keep it clean and comfortable.

Signs of Stress

Excessive scratching can be a sign that your gerbil is feeling stressed. Other signs of stress to look out for include:

  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Loss of appetite
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Excessive scent marking
  • Unexplained weight loss

To ensure your gerbil is comfortable, create an appropriate environment for them. This means having a cage that’s the correct size for them and their habitat. Make sure to check the cage size and adjust the size if necessary. The cage should also contain the necessary items such as bedding, toys, food, and water.

Gerbils are social animals, and they may become stressed if they’re left alone for too long. If possible, have multiple gerbils in the same cage to provide companionship. Spend time with your gerbil every day to help them stay active and provide mental stimulation.

Gerbils may become stressed if their environment is too loud or too bright. If possible, try to keep their environment quiet and dimly lit. Also, make sure the temperature of the room is appropriate for them.

Proper Cage Setup

Have you ensured that the cage you have for your gerbil is properly set up? Setting up a gerbil’s cage correctly is essential for their mental and physical well-being. It’s important to provide a safe and comfortable environment for your pet. Here are some key things to consider when setting up a gerbil’s cage.

Bedding OptionsEnrichment Activities
Aspen ShavingsExercise Wheels
Fleece LinersHideaways
Paper BeddingChew Toys
Bedding MatsPlay Tunnels

The bedding you choose should be non-toxic and dust-free. Aspen shavings, fleece liners, paper bedding, and bedding mats are all great options. Additionally, provide enrichment activities like exercise wheels, hideaways, chew toys, and play tunnels. This will help keep your gerbil entertained and active.

Next, make sure the cage is large enough for your gerbil to move around. The bigger the cage, the better. Additionally, the cage should be kept in a quiet area away from other animals. Be sure to clean the cage regularly to keep it hygienic.

Finally, provide plenty of food and fresh water for your gerbil. A healthy diet is essential to your gerbil’s health and well-being. You can also give your gerbil fresh vegetables and fruits as treats.


Gerbils are fun and active pets that require proper cage setup and maintenance to ensure their well-being.

Interestingly, gerbils can scratch their cage for a variety of reasons, from health benefits to signs of stress.

With the right deterrents and solutions, you can ensure your gerbil has a safe and comfortable environment.

On average, gerbils scratch their cages for about 37 minutes each day, so make sure to take the necessary precautions to make their habitat as comfortable as possible.

Similar Posts