Posted: May 13, 2011, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: I have a male gerbil named El Pipi. A friend and I were thinking about bringing our gerbils together, but she has female gerbils. How many gerbils do they produce if they mate? How can you tell if gerbils are spayed or neutered? How much does it cost to get them spayed or neutered? Is it too risky to spay or neuter?
A: It is unlikely that a gerbil has been spayed or neutered already. You can get a male gerbil neutered. Just make sure you find a small animal veterinarian who has done this procedure with high frequency and success in the past. The cost varies widely depending on the part of the country and the animal hospital, but likely will cost $100 at a minimum.
When gerbils mate, they usually have about six babies in a litter. They mate again as soon as the babies are born, so a second litter will come even if you remove the dad when the first litter arrives. The initial gestation is about 24 days. A nursing female gerbil will have a delayed gestation and usually be pregnant with the second litter for about five weeks.
Male gerbils make great fathers and raising the babies is most successful when the dad is in with the mother gerbil to help out. Another option is to leave a female baby from the older litter in with the mom to help raise the next litter of gerbils.
See all gerbil expert Q&A>>