Then you have certainly wondered whether gerbils have a coat change or whether the hair loss is pathological in nature.
The fact is: gerbil fur is complex.
In this article we tell you whether gerbils have a coat change and if so, what the cycle for this looks like. In addition, there are 5 reasons for unnatural hair loss.
Do gerbils have a shedding cycle?
Gerbils do not have a shedding cycle like most dog and horse breeds do. Gerbils shed a few hairs each day, but in the spring they may shed a few more hairs than usual.
If it goes towards fall/winter, their coats become a little thicker. If you keep your gerbils exclusively indoors, however, you may well notice no or only very slight differences in the change of coat.
The coat cycle of a gerbil
The coat cycle of gerbils lasts about 28 days.
In the first 10 or 11 days the coat grows constantly, after that it is full grown and the hairs are shed again after a total of 28 days and replaced by new ones.
Real fur changes a gerbil goes through only during growth.
The baby fur of a gerbil
The baby fur of gerbils is rather a soft down and has not much in common with the fur of an adult gerbil.
This fluff is shed when the gerbil is about 30 days old and lasts about 3 weeks.
At about 7 weeks the process is complete, and at about 8 to 9 weeks the second coat change begins. This lasts longer than the first and ends only with an age of about 4 months.
It can also be good that not only the ‘consistency’ of the coat, but also the coat color changes a little. Once these two ‘molts’ are complete, you can expect your gerbil’s coat to remain as it is in terms of color from then on.
But why do gerbils shed their fur at all?
And above all: How much hair loss is normal and what can you do if your gerbil loses too much hair?
We will clarify these three questions in the following sections.
Why do gerbils lose hair?
As mentioned earlier, it is perfectly normal for gerbils to completely change their coat twice in their youth.
But even in adulthood, the hair is shed about once a month. In this way, the fur provides the animals with optimal protection from heat, cold and other weather conditions.
Gerbil hairs are very sensitive and can break off quickly.
If the animal did not replace its fur again and again, this would have far-reaching consequences for its health. Therefore, to provide the best possible protection, shedding is essential.
How much hair loss is normal?
As long as your pet’s coat looks shiny and healthy, you don’t have to worry if you find a few hairs in the enclosure every now and then.
However, if you notice that the coat of your gerbil looks dull, the animal suddenly loses more hair than usual and maybe even pale or bald spots are already visible, you should get to the bottom of the cause.
Extensive hair loss is always a clear sign that something is wrong with your pet!
Increased hair loss can have many different causes, the most common of which we have listed here.
5 common causes of increased hair loss in gerbils.
- excessive grooming
It is normal that your gerbil licks itself clean several times a day and is also licked by conspecifics.
However, excessive grooming of the coat can occur if you do not keep your animal in a species-appropriate manner and it is therefore exposed to great stress over a longer period of time.
In this case, the increased coat grooming serves as an override action to relieve stress and leads to increased hair loss.
Make sure that your animals feel less stress and the coat will regenerate all by itself without further measures.
- skin diseases
Infections and fungi can lead to skin irritations and thus to severe itching. As a result, your gerbil will scratch more, causing increased hair loss.
In so-called hotspots, the hairs fall out by themselves due to inflammation, without your pet actively working on the coat.
Hotspots are characterized by bald, inflamed, bloody and sometimes purulent areas in the coat and should be treated by a doctor, otherwise they can spread further and further.
These inflammations do not only cause itching, but also pain!
- food incompatibility
Even gerbils do not tolerate all foods, so it may well be that your gerbil is allergic to certain snacks.
If you notice increased itching, increased shedding and maybe even digestive issues, chances are good that your pet is actually suffering from a food intolerance.
Have you changed the racer’s food lately? Or occasionally feed a new snack? If so, you should leave the new food out for a while to see if the symptoms improve or maybe even disappear altogether.
- nutrient deficiency
If the body lacks important nutrients, this circumstance can also lead to increased hair loss.
Gerbils suffering from a nutrient deficiency are also often tired and listless. They sleep a lot and don’t really make a fit impression overall.
The fur is dull, breaks off, dandruff forms and eventually the fur falls out more and more.
Check the composition of your food and, if necessary, visit the vet to take a blood sample and see exactly which nutrients the animal’s body is lacking at the moment.
With the help of special preparations, the deficiency can usually be corrected within a few days or weeks – so that the whole thing does not repeat itself, a feed adjustment is of course still essential.
Unfortunately, even gerbils are not safe from parasite infestation.
So it may well be that small mites settle in the fur of the animal.
Mites in the fur of gerbils are normal in small amounts.
But if the gerbil suffers from an immune deficiency or another disease, a real mite infestation can occur, which is accompanied by skin redness, dryness, hair loss as well as a strong itching.
Since mites can often only be seen under a microscope, you should visit the vet as soon as you have the slightest suspicion of a mite infestation.
You should also separate the affected animal from the others and clean the enclosure thoroughly to prevent potential infection.
If it turns out that your gerbil is not infested with mites, you can put the rodent back with the others after the visit to the doctor.
Otherwise, it must be kept separate until the infestation has been successfully treated.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
The website will draw have authors who are vets, pet owners, and local pet breeders. All who will contribute their fantastic knowledge which in turn will be able to help you i hope.
There is a lot of information on the internet so it may be hard to know where exactly is the best place to start learning. But we will write articles that get straight to the point, and give you all the information that you need with no fluff!
If you have any questions please leave a comment on the article, and i will reply to you!