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gerbil lifespan pet
Gerbils are generally diurnal animals (active during the day), constructing deep, dark, underground burrows. Gerbils may live for up to 3-4 years, although some may live longer.
Take a look at our pet search page to find gerbils up for rehoming.
The Mongolian gerbil or Mongolian jird (Meriones unguiculatus) is a small rodent belonging to the subfamily Gerbillinae. Their body size is typically 110–135mm, with a 95–120mm tail, and body weight 60–130g, with adult males larger than females. The animal is used in science and kept as a small house pet. Their use in science dates back to the latter half of the 19th century, but they only started to be kept as pets in the English-speaking world after 1954, when they were brought to the United States. However, their use in scientific research has fallen out of favor.
albino gerbil lifespan
Tyrosinase is encoded by the Tyr (c or albino) locus and is the key enzyme in pigment biosynthesis. Loss of function of this enzyme caused by gene mutation results in albinism. Most cases of albinism are caused by missense mutations of tyrosinase. Albino mutations in Tyr have been identified in various animals, including human, mouse, rat, rabbit, cattle, cat, and ferret, but not in gerbil. We created two new gerbil strains: MON/Num/a (inbred agouti phenotype) and MON/Num/c (albino phenotype).
Here, we report that four nucleotide substitutions in the Tyr gene caused two missense mutations in amino acids in the albino gerbil: a G-to-A mutation at position 204 in exon 1 caused R77H, and A-to-G at position 1392 and G-to-T at position 1393 in exon 5 caused Q473R. The substitution at position 1408 in exon 5 was silent. These missense mutations are conserved in all albino phenotypes we tested. Therefore, we suggest that these mutations are responsible for albinism in gerbil.
black gerbil lifespan
There is no specific health issue called ‘gerbil sudden death syndrome.’ However, gerbils can die suddenly when their owners least expect it.
There are many reasons why gerbils pass away. Like people, these pets can experience many health issues. These issues relate to the environment, diet, exercise, and transmittable diseases.
The issue is that you may not know why your gerbil died. If you didn’t spot any symptoms before your gerbil’s passing, then you can’t tell what killed it. This is an unfortunately common circumstance that owners find themselves in.
This is a problem because good care is key to good health. If you have other gerbils, you should try to learn why your gerbil got sick and died. But this may not be possible. In many cases, you’ll never know what killed your gerbil.
are black gerbils rare
There is no one color or pattern, or color and pattern combo, which is the rarest. That’s because what’s ‘rare’ depends on where you live. Some kinds of gerbils are rare in certain places, while others are more common.
So, golden agoutis are common everywhere you go. They’re available from almost any pet store. But aside from that, the color or pattern you’ll find is down to random chance. Which is common depends on what breeders you have near you.
Also, ‘rare’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘good.’ There’s a kind of gerbil called the extreme white gerbil, which has a 90% white coat. Unlike many other types of white gerbils, this white is pure and clean. So, given that they’re unique and rare, you might want one.
how long do domestic gerbils live
How To Tell If Your Gerbil Is Getting Old
From around 2 and a half years old your gerbil will start to show signs of aging. Older gerbils less energy and are less active. They may lose weight.
Consider monitoring your gerbil’s weight monthly from the age of about 2 years. Speak to your vet about any rapid loss or gain in weight. Gain can indicate a tumor, and loss could suggest a problem with their teeth.
A gerbil with broken or misaligned teeth may need their food ground up or softened for them. Be guided by your vet when feeding an elderly gerbil.
Gerbil Lifespan Is Improved By Good Teeth
Overgrown teeth are an easily prevented threat to your gerbil’s health.
Gerbils’ teeth never stop growing. In the wild they are kept trim by breaking in to tough seed casings and eating fibrous grasses.
In captivity, your gerbil still has the urge to chew, chew, and chew some more.
Providing safe toys will keep them happy and engaged in their surroundings, and help wear down their teeth.
Overgrown teeth can turn eating into a struggle and lead to malnutrition – if your gerbil’s teeth get too long ask your vet to help trim them before his health suffers.
Factors Affecting Gerbil Life Expectancy
As we have seen, nutrition is a big factor in gerbil health, so diet and dental health have a big effect gerbil life expectancy.
Make sure your gerbil always eats the right diet for their age, and keep an eye on their weight and the health of their teeth, to give them the best possible chance of a long and happy life.
Gerbil Lifespan and Social Contact
Isolation is very stressful for gerbils, and can shorten their lifespan considerably.
Gerbil Lifespan and Epilepsy
The most common health problem associated with gerbils is epilepsy.
In most cases, this condition is genetic, and inappropriate breeding practices have caused it to become more prominent.
Death from the seizures, however, is rare, and most gerbils appear to outgrow it.
The seizures can also often be reduced by medication, although the type of seizure does greatly affect which medication is effective.
Because the seizures are not usually life threatening, and anti-epileptic drugs can have strong side effects, many vets will recommend avoiding medication.
Seizures are increased by stress. You can reduce the chance of your gerbil having multiple fits by keeping them otherwise healthy. And by taming and handling them a lot when they are very young, so that they don’t find being picked up as adults too stressful.
Tyzzer’s Disease and Gerbil Lifespan
One of the most fatal diseases gerbils are prone to is Tyzzer’s disease.
This is a serious disease caused by a strain of bacteria called Clostridium piliforme.
Gerbils are not the only rodent prone to it, but an otherwise healthy rat or mouse will fight off the infection before symptoms even appear, whereas gerbils get very sick, very quickly.
The symptoms are usually easy to spot and include a rough coat, weakness, lethargy and diarrhea.
Sadly, nearly 80% of all gerbils who begin showing symptoms of the disease die within 48 hours.
Because of their social nature, gerbils pass the disease very easily in between them. Once the disease infects a colony of gerbils, a very high death rate is usually expected.
This makes Tyzzer’s disease one of the leading causes of death in gerbils and can greatly affect how long a particular gerbil lives.
You can reduce the likelihood of your gerbils getting Tyzzers by keeping their living space scrupulously clean, and isolating new gerbils for a quarantine period before introducing them to your current gerbil family.
Gerbil Life Expectancy and Cancer
Gerbils aged over 2 years are prone to cancers. In particular they tend to get skin cancer, cancer of the scent glands, and ovarian cancer (females only).
In most cases the best chance of survival is to remove the cancer surgically, as early as possible. It’s important therefore to let your vet know about any odd lumps and bumps or changes in your gerbil’s health.
Increasing Your Gerbil’s Lifespan
Your gerbil will have the best chance at a long, healthy life, if you follow these guidelines:
- Keep gerbils in pairs or groups
- Clean their cage regularly and thoroughly
- Use a reputable breeder
- Isolate new gerbils until you are sure they are healthy
- Feed a complete gerbil food suitable for their age
- Handle your gerbils regularly (but gently!)
- Tame them while they are young
- Monitor the teeth and weight of gerbils over 2 years old
- Involve your vet promptly if you have any concerns
How Long Do Other Species of Gerbil Live?
So far we have focused on the Mongolian Gerbil, or Meriones unguiculatus – the most common species of pet gerbil. But what other types of gerbil do people keep as pets, and how long do they live?
How Long Do Fat Tailed Gerbils Live
Fat tailed gerbils, also known as Duprasi gerbils, are a rarer pet alternative to the Mongolian gerbil.
Their owners report that they live longer than common gerbils, at 4-7 years. However it is hard to find any scientific evidence to support this lifespan.
If you decide to keep Fat Tailed Gerbils, do research how their needs differ from common gerbils’ first. For example, Fat Tailed Gerbils are not as sociable as Mongolian gerbils.
How Long Do Libyan Gerbils Live
Another alternative species of pet gerbil is the Libyan gerbil. They look a lot like Mongolian gerbils, although they have a slightly narrower head.
Libyan gerbil lifespan is very similar to common gerbils’; an average 2-4 years.
Oldest Living Gerbil
According to the book of Guinness World Records 2014, the oldest ever gerbil lived to be 8 years and 4 months old.
She was a Mongolian gerbil named Sahara, and she died back in 1981.
There are claims of gerbils living to be 12 years old, but these haven’t been scientifically verified.
Gerbil Lifespan Summary
Gerbils typically live around 3 years, though there are a number of factors that can contribute to a particular gerbil living longer, or shorter, lives.
Certain diseases can greatly decrease the lifespan of a gerbil, as can neglect and physical injury.
By buying your pet from a good breeder, and taking care of their diet, lifestyle and teeth, you can maximise their chance of living a long and happy life.
what do mongolian gerbils eat
The Mongolian gerbil natural diet is full of grasses, such as lyme grass and bristle grass. These food hoarding animals also often feed on other green sustenance, such as mugwort and saltwort. Other components of their diet are roots, seeds, desert vegetation fruits, bulbs and grains. Once in a while, they even feed on bugs.
are mongolian gerbils nocturnal
Whether or not a gerbil is nocturnal depends on what species it is. There are two main species of gerbils kept as pets, and although many gerbils are active during the day, some are what is known as crepuscular – if an animal is crepuscular then this means that they will be active generally around the periods of dawn and dusk.
Mongolian gerbils are the most commonly available pet gerbil. They are diurnal, which means, like us, they are active during the day. However, they sleep frequently throughout the day, and during these sleeps they should be left alone.
does a gerbil make a good pet
Gerbils are an incredibly popular pet in the USA, and it’s not difficult to see why. They are, after all, abundantly cute in appearance and have fantastic and friendly personalities. They are also reputedly one of the easiest pets to care for that require very little space. This makes them all the more appealing to many people.
Do gerbils make good pets? There are many factors when you’re thinking of buying a gerbil as a pet. Gerbils do make good pets and are easy to care for and feed. These cute and fun pets love being handled and enjoy human interaction. Inexpensive to buy and keep makes them the ideal pet.
how long do pet gerbils live for
do gerbils make good pets
Generally speaking, gerbils make absolutely amazing pets for the very reasons mentioned above. They are, after all, incredibly cute, friendly, and amusing with the ability to build strong relationships with their owners. However, these traits are not the only thing to take into consideration when assessing the gerbil as a pet, you also need to take a look at their requirements of care.
FUN FACT: Gerbils and Hamsters are illegal to own in Hawaii and California.
Gerbils need appropriate housing, daily care, and plenty of interaction with their owners. If you cannot provide this, they are not a good pet for you. They also have a certain level of cost involved with them. Though these costs are relatively small compared to many other animals, you still need to take it into account.