Understanding the body language of your gerbils

Gerbil body language

As with any pet, it is important to understand your gerbil’s body language and what they mean by their various gestures. More often than not, we tend to misinterpret these subtle signals and end up doing more harm to our pet than good. So just buying another gerbil is not sufficient company for your pet, you have to spend time with it and learn to understand its body language.

  • If you have a pair of gerbils in your house, you are probably aware of the curious way in which they say hello to each other. One gerbil runs to the other and touches her mouth or nose to kiss them. Gerbils do this because they recognize each other by the taste of their individual saliva or by their body odour.
  • If your gerbil stands up tall on its hind legs with its front paws joined together as if in prayer, it means that your gerbil is alert and on the lookout.
  • If he is standing in the same posture but his hands are not joined together, but instead they are hanging limp on either side in front of his chest, it means that the gerbil is curious and expecting something to happen. He may not be scared but it definitely means that he is aware of his surroundings and expecting a threat signal from fellow gerbils or from outside. In this posture, gerbils may turn and look around themselves. But if it is looking straight to the front, without moving its head in any direction, it means that it is definitely looking for ominous signs.

  • Sometimes when a gerbil stands and looks straight ahead, it means it is trying to see what is going on in the household.
  • When a gerbil rolls over onto its back and exposes its belly to its partner, it means that it is in a submissive mood and would like to be pampered by the other gerbil. This submissive posture wins the confidence of the other gerbil, tells him who is in charge and even beckons him to tend the fur of the other gerbil.
  • Gerbils also request grooming by placing their chins on the ground and using their noses to touch the underside of the other gerbil’s mouth.
  • When gerbils are angry with each other or try to impose something, you will see them with their backs arched, pressing their faces against each other with their fur standing up on end.
  • It is natural for gerbils to burrow and dig in one corner of the cage. It does not mean they are frustrated or want to escape. They are just being gerbils as they love to dig holes and they form elaborate tunnel networks in their natural habitat.