With small animals like a gerbil, it is not always easy to tell if a pregnancy is present.
The result: unexpected gerbil babies.
To save you from unpleasant surprises, we have collected 5 signs of pregnancy in gerbils for you in this article.
How can you tell if a gerbil is pregnant?
There are a number of symptoms that may indicate that your gerbil is pregnant.
However, it should also be said that you may have to work a little hard to interpret the signs correctly, as gerbils are true masters at hiding pregnancy until just before birth.
Since gerbils go through a fairly short gestation period of about 24 days, you don’t have much time to detect the pregnancy.
So it can happen that you suddenly and unexpectedly find offspring in the terrarium of your animals without having noticed the pregnancy before.
To save you from such surprises, we now list the most important signs of pregnancy in gerbils.
Sign 1: Increased interest of the males
Gerbils are already sexually mature from the age of 12 to 16 weeks and can therefore reproduce very early.
If you keep your gerbils in a mixed group and the animals are not neutered, your gerbil may well be impregnated by one of the males.
In some cases you can observe this mating act directly, in other cases you will see that many males are interested in the female.
By the way, gerbils do not mate during pregnancy.
Sign 2: Weight gain
If a new life is growing in the belly of your gerbil, this will also show on the scale.
If you suspect that your gerbil might be pregnant, but you are not sure, weighing the animal might give you information about a possible pregnancy.
This is a fairly sure sign, as your gerbil cannot intentionally hide its weight.
Sign 3: Change of shape
Gerbils usually look a bit pear-shaped during pregnancy and are no longer as slim and narrow as usual.
This sign very definitely indicates pregnancy, but only shows up at a very advanced stage.
Therefore, this sign is not suitable for early detection.
The pear shape can be seen particularly well if you look directly down on your mouse from above.
Note, however, that a bump does not necessarily indicate pregnancy, because it can also be a tumor, a cyst or some other growth.
For this reason, you should take your pet to a veterinarian to determine whether the change in shape is actually due to pregnancy.
Basically, it never hurts to consult a veterinarian if you suspect a pregnancy.
Sign 4: Nesting
Shortly before the birth your pregnant gerbil will show a very clear nesting behavior.
That means: Your gerbil will build a cozy nest with more hay and other soft things.
If you observe this behavior, you can be sure that your gerbil is expecting offspring in a few days.
From this point on it is also recommended that you separate the male representatives from your pregnant gerbil to give it as much rest as possible and to prevent the animal from being mated again directly after birth – because this is quite possible!
Sign 5: Behavioral changes
Not only in humans, but also in gerbils the hormones that are released during pregnancy can lead to behavioral changes. For example, your gerbil may behave more aggressively than usual towards its mates, may withdraw more often or may be particularly jumpy.
Since these changes in behavior are completely normal in relation to pregnancy, you do not need to worry about this.
You only need to take action if your gerbil behaves extremely aggressive – then you should separate it from the other animals.
After the successful birth you can assume that the behavior of your mouse will normalize by itself after a few days.
Do pregnant gerbils need more food?
It is not necessary to provide your gerbil with twice the amount of food. Also, the feeding behavior of the animal will most likely not change very much.
However, it is not wrong to offer your gerbil one or the other additional healthy snack.
Especially during pregnancy it is important that you feed only high quality food that is optimally tailored to the needs of your gerbil.
Giving fresh food such as fennel, cucumber, carrot, etc. ensures that your animals take in enough water and are supplied with valuable vitamins and nutrients.
Protein-rich food, which also has a fairly high proportion of healthy fats, can help your gerbil to stimulate milk production, so that the offspring will be full after birth in any case.
There are also some animals that eat more often and more during pregnancy, so you should make sure that your other gerbils also have enough food available and do not lose weight.
There are also some things you can do to actively support your gerbil during and after pregnancy. In the following section you will find out what these things are.
6 tips for you: How you can support your pregnant gerbil!
Pregnancy is a very stressful time for your gerbil, which demands a lot from it both physically and mentally.
It is therefore all the more important that you ensure that your pet can feel as comfortable as possible in its environment. How you can achieve this, you will learn through these six tips that we have picked out especially for you.
Tip 1: Provide a quiet environment
Gerbils are very sensitive to noise and not very resistant to stress.
For this reason, you should take extra care during pregnancy to ensure that your gerbil’s terrarium is in a quiet place where there is little noise and commotion.
You should also choose a place where people are not constantly coming in and out.
Rapid movements and high-pitched, loud talking should also be avoided at all costs.
Make yourself heard by speaking to your gerbil in a calm, soft voice before reaching into the terrarium. This will prevent your gerbil from becoming frightened and triggering the flight reflex, which in turn will cause stress levels to skyrocket.
Tip 2: Plan a visit to the vet or two
To make sure that the pregnancy is going according to plan, it is advisable to have at least one check-up with a veterinarian you trust.
Especially if you are not yet 100% sure if your gerbil is actually pregnant, a trip to the vet is always a good idea.
If your gerbil is not pregnant but instead sick, your pet’s life may be in danger if the disease is not detected and treated early.
Tip 3: Provide nesting material
To make sure your gerbil and the babies are comfortable in their nest, it is good to provide extra hay for nest building. In addition, you can also provide other soft materials, such as kitchen roll, so that your gerbil can build the nest even more cozy.
However, make sure that the materials do not contain any toxic substances. After all, gerbils are rodents and therefore it is not impossible that your gerbil nibbles a little bit on the material.
Especially newsprint should be avoided, because the printing ink is toxic for the animals.
Ideally, you should focus on natural materials and make sure that no sharp or hard objects protrude into the nest.
Tip 4: Enrich your gerbil’s diet
Mealworms and crickets are very popular with gerbils and provide a very good source of protein.
Nuts and seeds also provide valuable fats, are highly nutritious and will taste great to your gerbil.
However, be careful not to overdo it with nuts, as they can quickly lead to obesity. Especially pumpkin seeds and almonds are very popular with the racers.
Scrambled eggs, hard cheese and cooked chicken are also healthy for your pregnant gerbil in moderation.
However, these foods should really only be given in small amounts as they are not a natural part of the gerbil diet.
Tip 5: Monitor the birth of your baby gerbils.
It’s finally time for your pregnant gerbil to retire to the nest to give birth to between two and eight babies – called pups in gerbils.
To ensure that your gerbil gives birth well, it is advisable that you position yourself at a safe distance and monitor the birthing process.
However, you should only intervene in extreme emergencies so as not to stress your gerbil unnecessarily!
Since the puppies are born blind, deaf and naked, they are unprotected immediately after birth and cannot regulate their body temperature themselves. Therefore, make sure that the babies are all in the nest and do not fall out.
Tip 6: Separate the puppies in time
Until the puppies are about five weeks old, they are 100% dependent on their mother.
When the puppies are six or seven weeks old, it is the ideal time to separate them from their mother and place them.
Don’t wait too long to separate them, as socialization still works best at this age. In addition, the babies become sexually mature at about twelve weeks of age, which can lead to inbreeding if the group has not been separated by then.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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