While some animals are sociable and like to live in large groups, others prefer to live alone. When choosing a pet, it is important to know how they prefer to live. If you are getting a gerbil, you will probably wonder whether it is best to get one to live on its own or whether you should get two or more to live together.
Can Gerbils Live Alone or Do They Get Lonely?
Although gerbils can live alone, they prefer to live with other gerbils. A single gerbil will become lonely and this leads to depression. Therefore, it is best to keep two or more gerbils of the same sex that are preferably from the same litter.
How Do They Usually Live in the Wild?
In the wild, gerbils live in large family groups that can have as many as 20 members. They interact with each and sometimes search for food as a group. Each clan, as the groups are called, has a distinct smell. If wild gerbils smell another gerbil with a different scent, they may see it as a threat to their clan and attack.
Can You Put More Than One Gerbil in the Same Habitat?
Gerbils are much happier when kept with another gerbil, so this is fine. It is better to keep them with another gerbil from the same litter as they recognize the other gerbil as being part of their clan. It is also best to have a same-sex pairing for two reasons. The first is that there is less chance of aggression. The second is that gerbils of the opposite sex will mate at a rapid rate, regardless of whether they are related or not.
What Precautions Should You Take Before Introducing New Gerbils?
The best option is to have pairs or groups from the same litter living together from birth. However, if you have only one gerbil for some reason, it is still possible to introduce new gerbils to each other later.
You should only introduce a single adult gerbil to another single adult gerbil as trying to force a single into an existing clan rarely works. Similarly, you should not choose a gerbil from an existing clan and remove it to create a clan with your gerbil.It is important not to put two gerbils in a cage together instantly as this is most likely to cause fighting. It is better to introduce them slowly.
How to Introduce New Gerbils to the Habitat to Avoid Fighting
The best method for introducing new gerbils is the split tank or split cage method. A slit tank or split cage is a tank or cage that is specially designed for introducing new gerbils. It is a larger habitat divided into two. It means the gerbils are separated, but still able to see, smell, and hear each other. This allows them to become accustomed to each other before forcing them into the same space. You can buy these split habitats from a pet store or online. Alternatively, if you are good at DIY, you can even make one yourself.
Once you have the split tank, put your own gerbil in it first. Then, introduce the new gerbil to the other half of the tank. Swap the gerbils over every day as this will make the habitat smell of them both equally. This helps them to recognize each other’s smell and to think of them as part of their clan. After a few weeks, you can remove the divide, and this allows them to meet each other properly in their shared habitat. You can then move them into the normal habitat or leave them in the split tank with the dividing section removed.
Gerbils are sociable animals that do not like to live alone and live in large family clans in the wild. It is best to buy a same-sex pair of gerbils from the same litter. If you have a single gerbil for some reason, it is possible to introduce a new gerbil later and the best method of doing this is to use a split tank.