Gerbils are great pets that many people love to keep in their homes. If you already have one gerbil, then you might be thinking about buying another.
Introducing a new gerbil to the habitat can be tricky in some ways. Ordinarily, you would want to use a split cage to introduce new gerbils.
What if you don’t have a split cage that you can utilize, though? Is it still possible to introduce gerbils safely?
Continue reading to learn how you should go about introducing gerbils when you don’t have a split cage. This will show you how to get things done as safely as possible so that the gerbils will be happy.
It Isn’t Recommended to Introduce Gerbils Without a Split Cage
Sadly, most experts recommend using the split cage method to introduce gerbils. If you don’t use the split cage method, then there’s a much higher chance that the gerbils will wind up fighting.
Since you don’t want either of your gerbils to get injured, it’s going to be best to go out and buy a split cage. Doing so won’t be difficult, and you’ll be able to know that you’re introducing the gerbils in the best way possible.
Some people don’t like the idea of having to go out and buy a split cage, though. Many enthusiasts simply make their own split cages using household items.
You could create some type of divider that will allow you to give each gerbil one half of the cage. This isn’t necessarily hard to do.
It’s also easy to just go out and buy a divider panel that will fit into your current gerbil cage. They can be purchased at pet stores that sell gerbils very easily, and you’re not going to need to spend a lot of money to get what you need.
Why Is a Split Cage So Important?
The split cage method is important because it gives the gerbils a chance to get used to each other. It’s a very reliable method that anyone will be able to pull off.
Essentially, you’re just going to put one gerbil on the left side of the cage and another on the right side of the cage. The gerbils will get used to each other via being able to smell the other gerbil.
Most say that it’s best to switch sides each day as well. This means that you will have the gerbils swap sides with each other each day.
It simply further exposes the gerbils to each other’s scents. Over time, the gerbils will get so used to each other that it will be simple to let the barrier down.
Eventually, you’re going to be able to have the gerbils live together in the same cage without a divider. Taking the time to use the split cage method significantly reduces the likelihood that the gerbils will fight.
When Should You Remove the Divider?
You might be wondering how long the gerbils should remain divided in the split cage. Is there a set amount of time that you’re supposed to wait to remove the divider?
Not necessarily. You’re supposed to monitor how the gerbils are doing to see if things are fine before removing the divider.
Check to see if the gerbils show signs of aggression. If the gerbils are standing and staring at each other, then that could be a sign of aggression or trying to intimidate the other gerbil.
If the gerbils are sniffing one another through the cage, then that is a good sign. It shows that they’re curious about one another.
A very good sign will be when the gerbils start sleeping close to each other. If they are sleeping near the divider to be closer to each other, then it’s a good sign that the divider is ready to come down.
Sometimes it might take weeks for the two gerbils to be ready. When things appear to be fine, you can remove the divider.
The “Cage-in-Cage” Method
There is a way to try to introduce two gerbils without using the standard split cage method. The problem is that you’re still going to have to basically do the same thing.
You can buy a smaller cage and put it inside of the larger cage that your original gerbil is occupying. The new gerbil stays in the smaller cage that is placed inside of the larger enclosure.
It gives the gerbils the same chance to get used to each other that the normal split cage method does. However, there is a risk to this method that might make you want to think twice about trying it.
Using this smaller cage-in-cage method will make it so that the gerbil in the large cage can get on top of the smaller cage. If the gerbil does this, then the gerbil in the smaller cage might get angry.
Some gerbil owners have stated that this can lead to problems. For example, the gerbil in the smaller cage might try to bite off the tail of the gerbil that is standing on top of its cage.
You want to avoid such gruesome and unfortunate things. Thus, it’d be far better to use a standard split cage method.
Keep an Eye on the Gerbils for Several Weeks
Once the gerbils start living together in the same cage without a divider, you’ll want to keep an eye on them. They will likely bond and form what is known as a “clan.”
If the gerbils fight during the first few days or weeks, then they might break that new bond. A severe fight can lead to “declanning.”
Look out for situations where the gerbils are fighting. You might need to separate the two gerbils if things don’t go well.
If you took the time to introduce them properly, then things should go okay. Hopefully, if the two gerbils fight, it’ll only be a minor spat.
Gerbils can form close bonds and get along nicely. You just have to keep an eye on them for the first few weeks to ensure that things go how you want them to.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. I have a wife and two children and love taking them to the zoo to see all the animals. I grew up with dogs and fish and now have two dogs and two cats. I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.