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Libby Hanna

and Cathy Bickel


The most common symptoms of illness in gerbils are:

  • listlessness
  • a change in temperament such as biting or hiding
  • diarrhea
  • weight loss or gain
  • fur loss
  • red or scabby skin
  • labored breathing, with or without clicking noises


In general, assume any of the symptoms above will require your vet’s attention and do not wait. As prey animals, gerbils hide their symptoms as long as possible. By the time you notice they are sick, they are very sick. For more information on illness, see the sections for specific illnesses, or visit this article. Sick gerbils may require pain relief to recover.


Showcase of various custom cages built for gerbils.

Be sure the size and type of cage is manageable and one you can keep clean. It's not all about size. Gerbils need stimulation and ideally time to explore out of the cage: gerbils love to run, climb, dig, nest, take dust baths, tunnel and chew.

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