How do gerbils actually feel about water?
So: Can gerbils bathe or can gerbils swim?
The answer to these questions can be found in this blog post.
Can gerbils swim?
Yes, gerbils can swim if they fall into the water and save themselves in this way to the safe shore. However, water causes great stress for gerbils, which is associated with a significant increase in heart rate.
If your gerbil doesn’t get a chance to move to the saving shore in a timely manner, the tremendous and prolonged stress can even lead to cardiac arrest for your pet!
For this reason you should avoid to let your gerbil swim for your amusement.
These dangers exist when you let your gerbil swim
Of course, swimming is not always inevitably associated with cardiac arrest for animals, but other conditions can also be caused by the water.
So your pet can catch a cold – very unpleasant for the animal – in the harmless case, or even a severe pneumonia.
Without human help, the fur of gerbils also dries very slowly.
Depending on the temperatures in the environment, hypothermia can quickly occur. Especially for old or weakened animals, hypothermia is often followed by death.
There are no benefits to your pet from swimming, so there is no reason to put the animal in the water.
If you keep your gerbils outdoors, also make sure that your animals do not get wet from the rain! Also here diseases can be the consequence, which can bring your animal many agonies and finally even the death.
But why exactly do gerbils not like to swim?
In the following section, we will deal with this question in a little more detail, so that you can become a real expert in this field.
Why do gerbils not like to swim?
There are several reasons why gerbils don’t like to swim.
The most obvious reason is: it is simply not necessary for gerbils to go into the water, since they can find everything they eat on land.
Moreover, they know very well that they cannot survive long in the water and are defenseless against predators in the air. So it’s no wonder that the animals will do everything they can to get land under their paws again as quickly as possible.
Scientists performed many so-called “forced swim tests” on gerbils to test depression, rather the effectiveness of antidepressants.
Of course, it is cruel to deliberately put the animals under such massive stress by forced swimming that depression develops, but it was actually possible to induce depression in the animals by doing this!
Swimming has therefore been proven to make your gerbil unhappy.
Of course there will be one or two exceptions, but you will do your gerbils a big favor if you don’t test extra whether your animal enjoys swimming.
There are plenty of other ways to keep your pet busy that won’t cause psychological or physical harm to your gerbil.
Is it okay to bathe gerbils with water?
There are diseases, such as a fungal infection, where it may be necessary to bathe the gerbil with water.
However, water bathing should only be the very last option and should only be done on the advice of a veterinarian.
For the animals this action is associated with great stress and not infrequently your gerbils experience even mortal fear.
For healthy gerbils it is sufficient to provide a clean sand bath with fine chinchilla sand in which they can roll around as they wish.
If a water bath is essential, you should dry your animal afterwards as good as possible and put it in a warm place to avoid hypothermia!
If you let your gerbils jump freely in your home from time to time, make sure that there is no water in the sink or bathtub.
Also the toilet lid should always be closed, if your animals can get there.
Since gerbils are excellent jumpers, it can otherwise easily happen that your gerbil takes an involuntary bath – and in the worst case drowns miserably, if you do not notice the mishap in time!
But even in the garden there are other sources of danger besides sudden rain showers: A large water bowl for the dog can become a dangerous trap for your gerbil.
A garden pond should also be secured so that your gerbil cannot fall into it.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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