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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 16285
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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I have five female gerbils. Weve had for about 2 months .

Customer Question

I have five female gerbils. We've had for about 2 months . They have just build a nest I think one of them is pregnant . How can I tell ? What should I do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

First things first, if you have had these gerbils for 2 months, then for a pregnancy to occur one of your gerbils must be male. We can assume this, as gerbil pregnancies only last ~24-25 days. So, this would suggest a lad masquerading as a lady.

With that in mind, the next step would be to sex the gerbils to see if they truly are all ladies. The easiest way to do this is to have a look at their genitals and make sure everyone matches (females should look like THIS). Or that no one looks like this ( Male Gerbil ). If your sexing reveals a male, then he will need to be removed. But if they are all confirmed female, then a pregnancy in this group is unlikely.

Just to note, if you had noticed one gerbil looking to have a distended belly, appetite changes, or perhaps changes to its behavior, then we'd have to be worried that this may not be hints of a pregnancy but instead a health issue. Since gerbils are a prey species, they often will pretend all is well for as long as they can until their condition is advanced. Therefore, if there is no male in the group and one looks not quite right, a check up with her vet would be advisable.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We have just found a male have put him in a different cage ? Now what do we do next ? When can we expect babbies they bild there nest 3 days ago.Do we have to keep the two sexes of babbies apart? What do we need to do with the babbies ? Is the male gerbil ok on its own I know they have to be in groups ? My partners asking if there is an opp he could have or can you sergest anything ells
Waiting for your replay
Dawn
Ps sorry about my spelling
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Good morning Dawn,

So, there was a gentlman hiding amongst the ladies.
I am glad that he has been found and removed, since he could potentially have impregnated everyone and we could end up with a major boom in your gerbil population if this were to continue unchecked.

Now if we have a lad present and these changes in a female (nesting, abdominal distension, etc), then as you were initially concerned pregnancy is our most likely differential. In regards ***** ***** plethora of questions, I will copy/paste them here and then post the answer below (so we can keep track of it all). Now:

  • When can we expect babbies they bild there nest 3 days ago?

Now without knowing when they mated, you will not be able to pinpoint when she is going to go into labor. That said, if she looks to have a distended belly (which we only see right near the end of pregnancy), then she is likely to have them in the next few days.

  • Do we have to keep the two sexes of babbies apart?

Gerbils will reach sexual maturity at 3 months of age, so you should be sexing them just before then and be ready to separate them at that point.

  • What do we need to do with the babbies ?

Nothing, expect keeping the food and water topped up for her. Most Gerbils give birth and care for their little ones without any problems. Unless you see her appearing unwell, then you will not need to intervene. If she does appear unwell, then we'd want her checked by your vet.


  • Is the male gerbil ok on its own I know they have to be in groups ?

Now we don't want dad to be alone, since gerbils are communial animals. Still there is a good chance that you will have some companions for him shortly. So, once you are ready to split the males away from your ladies, they can go in with dad. Perhaps keep his cage next to theirs (so he is part of the action but not getting any more ladies pregnant -- since he can mate with mum right after she has her babies) for the time being until his sons are ready to join him.

Finally, gerbils can be castrated and this is an option to stop the breeding cycle you will have if he remains uncastrated and with his group. You will just need to speak to your vet to see whether they offer this service or if they can refer you to an exotics vet that does.

Take care,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

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