Note: This site contains affiliate links. You can see the full disclosure by clicking here.
Baby gerbils are called pups after emerging at around a week when they look for the entire world like a newborn pup. Gerbils make outstanding parents, caring for their own children with the minimum of human intervention. This article can help you to learn what you can do to help, what to watch for, and what you can do if things start to go wrong. Let’s get started.
Something To Consider First When Caring For a Baby Gerbil
Unlike other small rodents, gerbils are entirely dependent on their parents for the first weeks of their lives. Although these little animals are so sweet, we warn against breeding them. It is partly because there can be many problems and the process can be very distressing for all concerned, but there are also hundreds and hundreds of gerbils in shelters in desperate need of homes.
Instead of introducing more gerbils to the limited number of available homes, you might want to help some of the animals in need.
At Which Point Will Gerbils Get Pregnant?
Gerbils (Also known as Desert Rats) usually start mating around their 3rd month. Since they’re monogamous, they usually have a partner with them. You can tell when your gerbil mates, as you’ll see the chasing and mounting each other routinely.
Interestingly, pregnant gerbils prefer not to look overweight — just a bit of a mid-section bulge. And most people are shocked that newborn gerbils appear in their pet’s cage!
To start breeding, gradually introduce your females and males if they don’t already share a cage. The female gerbil will be involved in mating around every 4 days, and they will compete sporadically for a few hours.
But, once they get pregnant, it only takes 24 days to get their pups.
How to Understand If Your Gerbil’s Going To Become A Mother Of A Baby Gerbil?
The signs your gerbil will soon give birth start 1-2 days before it actually happens. You’ll notice:
- Your gerbil’s belly looks much broader and rounder than average.
- Gerbils give birth quietly, in or nearby the nest. Baby gerbil pup is shorter than an inch long, hairless and pink. The litter may consist of one to ten pups, averaging 3-6.
- Behavior nesting. Your gerbil will pick the softest materials which she can find nearby, and build a nest. That’s a sure sign that birth is imminent.
Labor typically happens in the early morning hours. You’ll most likely sleep in bed while your gerbil has her children.
What To Do When Your Gerbil Gives Birth To A Baby Gerbil
When you’re lucky enough to actually witness the birth, don’t interfere. Your gerbil won’t need your help. She’ll be anxious, watching for predators, so try leaving her alone in order to avoid stressing her out.
The moment the last pup is delivered, the mother goes into heat. When she’s in the cage with a male gerbil, she’ll suit and get pregnant again immediately.
And, if you think your gerbil would have children, remove the gerbil from the enclosure. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a second litter a few weeks later.
After birth, you’ll find that gerbil babies are very vocal. They will squeak a lot during their youth , particularly in their first few days. In the first few days, it’s necessary not to touch a gerbil infant, as the mother still adapts to them.
They’ll start growing their coat this week. Typically, the litter huddles for warmth in the mother’s nest. When she feels nervous or anxious, it’s not unusual for the mother to push the litter around within the first few days. Yet she usually calms down given time.
It’s also important this time you don’t push things in the enclosure. It will only discourage the mother from caring for her pups, because she will spend more time rearranging than tending to them.
In the first few days, the mother may even kick the father out of the nest, while attending the pups. It is just temporary, and after a day or two, the father is welcomed back into the nest.
Your gerbil babies’ coats will be almost fully grown by the second week. Generally it’s around 10 days. They’ll become even more mobile at this stage in their lives, despite being blind!
Growing gerbil babies are also very quick for their size and can start exploring the nest. It’s a good idea to try first handling pups around this age. It means they are used to human hands and taken from a young age.
It is a very critical week in a gerbil ‘s growth as the pups begin their first steps towards independence. During this week, the baby gerbils will first open their eyes. They normally open one a day, or so apart. Some litter pups can open their eyes late compared to other pups. If so, wiping the closed eye with a moist, humid cloth will help.
The day their eyes open first and the next few days after, you’ll need to be very vigilant with the pups. Since they’re still getting used to seeing, when they first see you, they can confuse you for something dangerous. Therefore, treat them very carefully and just do it during this growth process for a short time.
Week three is also important, as this is when the pups start to get rid of their mother. Baby gerbils will only be fed their mother’s milk before week three. If you have an orphaned gerbil kid, you should feed them after being advised from your vet regarding the issue..
At this time, they’ll mainly get sustenance from her milk. But pups may try some food from the parent or something small to nibble on, to try their teeth.When you find baby gerbils struggling to consume food from their parents, they can be offered some special foods. One of these is roasted peanut bits or peeled sunflower seeds, easier to gnaw.
At this point, the gerbils should also have water. Don’t use a water bath, though, because pups will slip into the tub and drown. Alternatively, using a water bottle low enough to the ground. This even helps them find water while splashing around the cage on the way to the tank.
The baby gerbil’s ears will start to open this week and they will actually start looking more akin to their parents.They will begin to become more confident by eating more foods for adults and relying less on their mother’s milk.
You’ll also see a lot more mobile at this point. We can also play with other litter members and burrow.Continue to treat them carefully and get used to being in your hands. They will even start running your head!
In most cases, this can be considered infancy ‘s final week. Your baby gerbils will get rid of their mother’s milk and consume only solid food.
They’ll have some growing to do, for sure. But they will have developed an independent personality and a fair deal of freedom. Around week six, they’ll be strong enough to leave home and mother. They will grow over the next few weeks, reaching sexual maturity.
To sum up, pups grow very quickly, so we looked at baby gerbils every day — practically. Each week, the pups will need a watchful eye to make sure they ‘re all right. If you’re an owner, baby gerbil care is critical.
Gerbils, however, typically make good parents, so it’s vital not to mess too much with the natural process of raising.
Exposing the pups to be treated slowly over time, ensuring the cage is safe while keeping an eye out for disease and weakness are major priorities for you as a human parent.
The mother of the baby gerbil will do the rest. Remember to treat the baby gerbils with extreme care and caution to prevent them from slipping when handling.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out these neat resources and accessories on Amazon for your Pet Gerbils.
- Are Chinchillas Good Pets? What You Need To Know
- Are Guinea Pigs Smart? Things To Know When Training Your Guinea Pig