For you as a gerbil owner it is important to know exactly the menstrual cycle of a gerbil.
Not only if you want to breed gerbils offspring.
In this article you will learn whether gerbils have their period at all, how the cycle looks exactly and how you can recognize the period.
Do female gerbils have menstruation?
No, female gerbils do not have menstruation in the true sense of the word. Nevertheless, they are not continuously fertile, but also have a cycle – but they do not bleed during it.
The uterine mucus is not shed here, but reabsorbed.
Nevertheless, gerbils have a high fertility and become pregnant in almost every fertility phase, if the possibility for mating arises.
What does the cycle look like in gerbils?
As already mentioned, gerbils do not have a menstrual cycle, which is characterized by the body excreting unwanted or rejected tissue during the period.
This is the reason for the menstrual period.
But what does the cycle of gerbils look like?
The cycle in gerbils is called estrus. Here, the body also sheds the endometrium, but it is not excreted, but reabsorbed.
The classic menstrual bleeding is therefore omitted – and for this reason it may well be that you do not even notice that your gerbil is currently in heat.
A healthy gerbil will come into heat approximately every 28 days and will then want to mate between four and six days.
If you are interested in your gerbil having offspring, it is best to watch for their behavior as well as a whitish vaginal discharge, which can sometimes turn slightly reddish. I
f your gerbil is noticeably restless, chances are good that it is ready to mate.
By the way, gerbils can mate again the same day they have given birth, so you should separate the males from the females early after a successful mating if you do not want any more offspring.
How exactly can you recognize a gerbil in heat in detail? You will find out in the next section.
How can you recognize a gerbil in heat?
If you observe your furry friend a little more closely, you will notice some changes during heat.
On the one hand you can recognize the heat by the above mentioned discharge. In addition, your gerbil will be either more restless or already almost apathetic, because a heat is very exhausting and can affect your gerbil both physically and psychologically.
If you keep several females together in one terrarium, you may also notice changes in their coexistence.
Some animals in heat are more moody than usual and fight much more often.
They are also more susceptible to stress than usual. Also, your gerbil in heat may squeal a lot to get attention.
If you put a male with a female in heat, you will quickly see if the suspicion of heat is confirmed.
A gerbil in heat will ‘chase’ the male to attract attention. If the male shows interest, the female may make herself even more interesting by letting the male chase her.
In addition, the animal in heat will literally offer itself to the partner animal by raising its butt a little bit as soon as the male gerbil is near.
If you keep two males together and a female in heat is nearby, there is a high probability of rivalry fights between the males.
Since these fights can be quite violent and even end in the death of one of the animals – after all, they are in a confined space so that none of the animals can escape – you should avoid such a constellation at all costs.
The surest sign for a gerbil in heat is of course the mating act itself. If the male mates with the female, you can look forward to offspring!
Dealing properly with gerbils in heat
A gerbil in heat is not a disease, so you do not need to take any special precautions.
However, you should keep a close eye on your gerbil and check its general condition once a week to make sure it does not develop uterine inflammation or other problems.
Also make sure that your gerbil has plenty of rest and little stress in his environment to make the heat as comfortable as possible.
If you do not want to have offspring, do not keep males and females together in the same cage unless the male is neutered.
If your gerbil is pregnant, you should remove the male from the cage to avoid re-fertilization.
Give your gerbil a lot of rest during the next 3.5 weeks – because that’s how long the gestation period lasts in gerbils.
Of course you should always check if your gerbil makes a healthy impression, but avoid taking the animal out and other unnecessary stress.
In addition, the gerbil should have enough hay available, so that your gerbil can build a really cozy nest shortly before birth, which can keep the little babies nice and warm.
The diet during this time should be balanced and include as much fresh food as possible.
If you notice that your gerbil seems noticeably weak or even sick, you should consult a veterinarian as soon as possible to clarify the cause.
What else changes in the behavior of a gerbil in heat?
Gerbils are quite low on the food chain and are on the menu of many predators.
When a gerbil is in heat, it emits a distinctive odor that may attract potential predators in the wild.
They are instinctively aware of this fact, so it may well be that your gerbil spends most of its time in heat secluded in a safe haven.
The main activity time is shifted to the night hours, as gerbils are not seen in the dark and are much more likely to venture outside.
Therefore, don’t be surprised if your gerbils feed and water almost exclusively at night for a few days and you barely if ever see them during the day.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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