Gerbil behavior – 1

A gerbil will not run away and hide whenever there are sudden noises and movements. Your pets is attracted by anything new and goes to inquire before if decides whether there is danger or not. Mongolian gerbils are therefore not easily annoyed, and they only bite in exceptional cases.

Gerbils do not speak a language as people do. Although they do not talk to each other, they can still communicate. They express their feelings and intentions (such as readiness for mating) via various non-verbal signals. Gerbils are in constant contact with each other via high, squeaking sounds, which are hardly audible for human ears. Very young gerbils squeak a little louder. The owner will often notice the presence of newly born young by the squeaking. Older animals, too, sometimes squeak louder. They do this when playing, but it can also be the expression of fright or sexual excitement.

Body language
The most important means of communication for gerbils are not via sounds, but through body language, which hey use to express a whole range of emotions.

A typical gerbil action is its so-called “drumming”. The gerbil stands upright and quickly thumps on the ground with its hind legs. One of the functions of this stamping is to warn other members of the group when danger is approaching. The drumming is the signal to escape or attack. Drumming is also very important during courting and mating behaviour between male and female. Young gerbils learn to drum from their parents. You can observe young gerbils imitating their parents’ drumming even when there is no danger approaching.

When gerbils greet each other, it looks like they are kissing. They lick each others mouth, as they recognize each other by the taste of their saliva.

Gerbils that feel at home love a good cleaning session. They wash their face, belly and paws, and clean their tail by holding it with their front paws.

When gerbils are excited or under pressure, they jump in the air with all four feet at once. Sometimes this excited jumping is combined with boxing movements of their front paws. The boxing of two animals is often playful, but it can sometimes be very serious.

A frightened gerbil sits upright as if frozen, with its front paws folded as if it is praying.

A curious gerbil, too, sits upright with its front paws folded. It is, however, not as tense as a frightened animal. It sniffs around with whiskers trembling and moves its head up and down at the same time.

Asking for a cleaning session
If your gerbil wants to be cleaned, it will roll in front of a friend and turn its head, offering its throat. The gerbil cannot usually resist this gesture and will gives its friend a good cleaning session.

Leave me alone
An irritated gerbil that wants to be left alone will dismiss other gerbils or your hand by pushing it away with its head.

When gerbils are ready to fight, they box each other with their heads. Then they start boxing and wrestling match.