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Can Separated Gerbils Become Friends Again?

If gerbils are separated from each other, can they live together again peacefully?

By Donna Anastasi
Posted: December 13, 2010, 5 a.m. EST

Q: We have three male gerbils that all got along very well together until one became ill. We had to split him from the others for a week, and although not completely better now, we decided to let them out together as he is no longer contagious and is missing the others. However, they ended up fighting each other and we had to separate them again. Is there anything we can do?
 
A: Unfortunately, once you separate gerbils for more than a day or so they lose scent memory for each other. You can introduce gerbils one-on-one using a "split cage," which is a tank divided by sturdy wire mesh where the gerbils are swapped between sides frequently. This method is described in detail in the American Gerbil Society’s online care handbook. But, since you have three gerbils this method won't work: it is difficult to get an established clan of two or more to accept another gerbil.
 
I recommend that you keep your pair together and find a new friend for your single gerbil. Males usually love gerbil pups and take to them right away. So you might decide to get a baby. You could see if the older male gerbil takes to him right away with a direct introduction in a clean tank. Just wear a sturdy glove in case it doesn't work out and you need to do a more gradual introduction. If your male gerbil is older, you might consider introducing him to two babies so they will have each other once he passes. If he is elderly, you also can contact a gerbil breeder via the American Gerbil Society and see about getting him a past-breeding age female. These older gerbil mixed-sex pairs bond well and are very sweet together. Good luck!

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Reader Comments
I purchased two gerbils from the pet store. They were in the store as a group of three so the other was alone for a day. The next day I went back to the store to buy some supplies(and to check on the lone gerbil because I felt bad) and saw that the store got three more new gerbils. The one that we left alone was in a corner by himself while the new gerbils were snuggling together. I was then sure that the one in the corner was the one I didn't purchase so I asked a woman who worked there to have the one in the corner. When I got home I introduced him to my two new gerbils and they were very happy to all be together again. LONG STORY SHORT: they remembered each others scent for a two day period and were happily and safely reunited. So yes, separated gerbils can become friends again
Jen, Totowa, NJ
Posted: 6/20/2016 7:50:23 AM
I need some help with my male gerbil. He got out of the cage and we didn't get them back together for about a week. When we reunited the foursome one attacked the escaped one, and his tail and lower back have scabs.i tried putting them back together after a little,and they have been fine ever since. He has been kind of sluggish, and not very playful lately, he seems slightly lighter than the rest, but I'm pretty sure that he is eating, and drinking. What is wrong?
Joslyn, Bend, OR
Posted: 1/16/2015 3:35:59 PM
Good article
Tyler, Dover, PA
Posted: 12/31/2010 7:28:03 AM
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