How to Handle a Gerbil

Handling your gerbil

Before you start handling your gerbil  let it get used to your hand first. You can do this by placing your hand inside their cage and just letting them sniff around it. They may occasionally lick or nibble at your fingers. You should let them do this, as gerbils hardly ever bite to hurt. They do this to learn what you taste and smell like. It is how they will recognise you in the future.

After your pet gerbil has gotten used to your hand , you can try to pick it up  and let it play around. It might want to jump off and run away at first, but with time it will learn to get used to being around your hand. Sometimes they want to jump from one hand to another. You should let them do so instead of forcing them to stay put. Forcing them to do anything or holding them up too high frightens them. Also holding them at high raises the risk of injury if they manage to jump off.

It is good to have the gerbils on your hand facing you. They tend to get less frightened when they are looking at you. Even then if they try to run away or jump off your hand, you should not stop them. Gerbils are shy creatures who can get easily startled if you make a loud noise. They need to get used to the kind of noise humans make.

You should try feeding them when they are playing around on your palm. Gerbils don’t usually bite, but they tend to nip at your fingers to gain familiarity. Therefore, it is important for you to not be scared when they do this. If your gerbil is particularly jumpy about human touch and bites whenever someone tries to cuddle it, you should first try holding it by wearing a pair of gloves. Keep using the gloves until the gerbil is used to your touch. You will be able to handle it after bare handed when it stops biting your hand.

Once the gerbils are used to your hands you can stroke them or cuddle them as much as you wish. The key to taming a gerbil is patience. They are timid creatures that are not used to the amount of activities and noise that humans are used to. Therefore, they may take some time to get accustomed to the size and sound of a human.

This is the reason why children should not be allowed to handle gerbils until they learn to do it properly. They may not realize that holding them too tightly will scare the gerbils and they will to jump out of their hands. They might also bite the children’s hands a little too hard causing injuries.

About the Author

I'm a (fairly) old Welsh guy who writes about keeping small pets as hobby. I live in the beautiful Italian Alps with my long suffering partner and three very spoiled cats.

12 Comments on "How to Handle a Gerbil"

  1. do gerbils
    attract other mice coming in to the house?

  2. Gerbils are very social animals but you need to take special care when introducing two gerbil that don’t already live together. To introduce gerbil you need to separate them by making a divider out of mesh wire (you can get it at the hard-ware store). put one gerbil on each side and let them live like this for a week or so. Then remove the divider and watch extremely closely for 35 min. keep an eye on them for the next day or so. if a fight should break out start over with the divider method.

  3. oh now i get the question!!! no not at all!!!

  4. Question actually…I have a gerbil who is about 10 months old. He was adopted a few months ago from a family that paid him little attention. He has warmed up quite a bit since he was first introduced to his new home, but has some unusual traits for a gerbil.

    He will be very friendly for some time of play, but out of the blue, with nothing to startle him or threaten his territory he will bite hard. Usually he will occasionally give you a ‘familiarity nibble’, but twice he has broken people’s skin and drawn blood. Then, as if nothing ever happened, he will go right back to friendly play where you can even pet him.

    Can anyone offer some helpful explanations or advice on this?

  5. It kind of hurts when a gerbil bites u but if u let him do it then he will never learn. U have to blow (gently) in to his face when he bites. If u keep doing it then he will soon realize that when ever he does bite, he will get a blow in the face. I hope he does not like it (getting blown on) so he will then stop.

    Hope this helps!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Hi, so I just got two gerbils and they were already introduced and all. I am wanting to get a third one but I don’t know how to introduce it to the two I already have. Could someone please help me?

  7. so i want to get a new gerbil but my grandparents do not like pets what sould i do?

  8. When I hold my gerbil it runs but now it’s getting used to me because it comes on my hand. I’m 11

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  11. I have 2 gerbils, at first one of them would come up to my hand and was easy to catch, the other was slightly more shy, I’ve had them for a few months and now they are very hard to catch and seem to hate being handled as they bite quite a bit and try their best to get away! Is this normal or am I doing something wrong?

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