2020 updates by Cathy Bickel
Nibbling is defined here as the application of a gerbil's teeth to your skin in a light but repetitive fashion.
Unlike a nip which is quick, slightly painful and often seems to stem from agitation, nibbling involves more than one small nibble on your finger or clothing.
It's not really painful but it's not pleasant. It's also generally well-intentioned, or at least simplistic: your gerbil is either grooming you, which is a compliment, or has smelled something intriguing and is gently trying to get a little of whatever it is. Give your gerbil a gentle "no," a small puff of air, and move him or her on to another part of your body.
Nibbles triggered by a search for food are often preceded by some lengthy sniffing while your gerbil sizes up what you might taste like. Put him home and wash your hands to remove any food smell.
Nibbling on your clothing is an annoying habit that some gerbils seem obsessed with and others never try at all. Devoted nibblers will sneak up on your shoulders to secretly nibble. If this is the motivation, have a special gerbil shirt, one where an occasional new hole won’t matter.
Some nibbling degrades into nipping. See the Nipping and Biting sections.