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New Friend for Gerbil?

7704 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  VanillaRat
Hey guys... i recently rescued a gerbil from the high school and she has been with me for almost 4-5 months now and she is very happy and well-socialized now! I read online that gerbils benefit greatly from living in pairs and i was sorta thinking i would go and get Mitzy (gerbil) a friend! so first of all, as far as i know, Mitzy is a little over a year old and she is a very friendly gerbil now.
i know Mitzy is a female and i was thinking about getting her a female friend to keep her company. my older brother is telling me it's a bad idea cuz apparently gerbils can change sexes? they don't right?
well anyway i was just wondering if the setup i have currently is enough to house two grown female gerbils... here is details...
-currently lives in a 10gallon aquarium with a vent lid rigged up to a 8gallon rodent hutch (i rigged it up so Mitzy could go throw tunnels up to the top floor-it's like a 2story mansion!)
-1exercise wheel (Mitzy doesn't even use it)
-about 3-4hides (2 on each floor)
-1 tunnel to get to the top floor
-1 water bottle (full at all times)
-1 food bowl (full of gerbil commercial feed at all times-occasional gerbil-appropriate treats are offered)
-plenty of substrate for digging....
so is that enough space for 2gerbils? i would think so... can anyone tell me if they think Mitzy would house well with another gerbil? when she was housed at the high school, they housed her with a senior female Dumbo Rat and they got along really well (strangely...)
if i watched them really closely do you think they'd be okay?
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It's a bad idea to get a friend for your female gerbil at this point because introducing adult females to anyone but an adult male is very difficult (they are very aggressive) and you wouldn't want to introduce a male, unless he has been neutered, because they will breed prolifically.

A friend of mine has had a lone female gerbil for years now (the pet store should have insisted that they buy two females from the same litter but didn't) and she is just fine on her own because she gets alot of attention from her owners. Another option is to have a separate cage that houses other gerbils – gerbils can sense that there are others nearby (but not in their territory) and that comforts them as well.
Actually it is never too late to introduce a female or a male gerbil to a friend. Gerbils will be happier and live longer lives if they are in pairs, trios, or 4-somes. Females are best in pairs, since they are the dominant sex and can have dominance issues in trios. Males can be kept in groups up to 7 or 8 gerbils depending on the amount of space you have them in.

I would recommend getting your gerbil a female friend, but you will have to use the split-cage method to introduce them. You do this by getting some hardware cloth mesh to split up a tank. Put one gerbil on each side and switch their sides 3 or 4 times a day. (Do not clean the tank completely for a while.. just spot clean) Switching their sides allows them to get used to each other's scent without harming each other, so they eventually both smell the same and consider each other clanmates. Ways to know your split-cage has worked is sleeping beside the mesh near each other, sleeping in each other's nests and trying to groom each other through the mesh.
You can find out more information about how to build a split cage and how to do it here:

Gerbils do not change sexes... That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. People can sex them wrongly and mistake a female for a male or male for female, but really gerbils are very easy to sex.

A 10 gallon tank is big enough for two gerbils, but they would always be grateful for more space if you can allow it. :)

Keep in mind that two females are one of the hardest introductions, so the split-cage might take 1-3 weeks or even months. Don't give up though!
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i went and got a 6-month old female gerbil and introduced them using the split-cage method... they immediately got along and i removed the barrier and they immediately started grooming each other and got along fine after i observed them for about an hour :)
I'm glad to hear that the introductions went well!

Gerbils are territorial which makes intros kind of scary. Good thing your girls are so sweet! :)
My Muirne is alone now, since her sister passed away in August. She has been doing wonderfully on her own since though.

I have been wanting to get a friend for her, but I also heard gerbil intros are very hard to do with adult gerbils...a lot harder then with other rodents. So I have been holding off on getting her a friend. But she is kept busy and seems pretty happy regardless.
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