You should never keep gerbils alone. Ideally, you keep them as a pair, and it is advantageous to have a pair of the same gender. But if you want to keep both female and male gerbils, you need to worry about their intensive reproduction. A simple solution would be to neuter the male. But can gerbils be neutered?
It is possible to neuter male gerbils. However, this is a complicated surgical procedure that is not performed by every veterinarian. Before you purchase your gerbils, find out if your veterinarian performs this procedure. You should also know that gerbils are still capable of procreation for a while after neutering. Or you can simply get two gerbils of the same gender to avoid this problem completely.
Neutering male gerbils is not without risk. So you should think carefully if you want to take this risk. Read on to find out why it is difficult to neuter gerbils and what to look for after neutering. But we also talk about in which cases it is reasonable or necessary to neuter gerbils.
We then discuss everything you need to know about breeding gerbils. Finally, we’ll also take a look at which gerbil genders are better at living together and at what age you should pair your gerbils.
Can Gerbils Be Neutered?
Gerbils can be neutered. But it is a surgical procedure that is not without risk for your gerbil. Therefore, it is best to perform the procedure only when absolutely necessary to avoid unnecessary risks.
The procedure itself is performed under anesthesia to prevent the gerbil from experiencing pain.
After the neutering the gerbil has a wound that needs to heal. Therefore, it should not come into contact with its usual bedding or sand. Otherwise, there could be contamination and, in the worst case, infection of the wound.
If you suspect an infection of the wound, you should definitely visit the vet again. You should always follow the instructions that your veterinarian will discuss with you after the procedure.
Why Is It Difficult to Neuter Gerbils?
Neutering gerbils is complicated for several reasons.
First, there is the anesthesia. The anesthesia has to be adjusted exactly to the gerbil and its circulation. With such small animals, it is very difficult to determine the correct dose.
Therefore, you should also look for a veterinarian who has experience in anesthetizing small rodents. An incorrect dosage can be very dangerous for your gerbil.
Normally gerbils are anesthetized with inhalation anesthesia. Injection anesthesia is even more difficult to dose and can have even worse consequences for your gerbil.
Then there is also the surgical procedure itself. Gerbils are fairly small animals, and surgery on such small animals is an even greater art than it already is.
It takes a lot of experience and tact not to harm the gerbil. This is another reason to look for an experienced veterinarian.
So you see that there are some reasons against neutering gerbils. So you better think twice before you allow such a procedure.
What Do I Have to Consider After My Gerbils Were Neutered?
After neutering, there are a few things to keep in mind.
You need to know that the male gerbil is not infertile immediately after castration. This may well take up to 6 weeks.
So, if you want to keep the neutered gerbil with a female, wait at least 6 weeks before putting them in a cage together. If you want to be sure, even a little longer.
Do not use the normal bedding or sand in the gerbil’s cage. This can cause contamination of the wound. If things go very badly, the wound may even become infected.
So just keep the animal on a few sheets of kitchen roll. This can not harm the wound. However, you should change the kitchen roll regularly. Especially if it is soiled by feces.
If the female with which the neutered male is to live has already had litters, it may be very difficult to socialize them. Such females generally do not accept neutered males.
Socialization works better if the female has not had any offspring. But even then, in exceptional cases, she may not accept the neutered male. You can only to separate the two again in such cases.
In What Cases Should Gerbils Be Neutered?
Despite the high risk, it may be necessary to neuter a gerbil in some cases.
If you have an unneutered male gerbil that does not get along with his gender mates, neutering could remedy the situation. Neutering changes the gerbil’s hormone levels so that it may reduce or even completely stop its aggressive or hostile behavior.
Another case where neutering may be necessary is if you have a pair of gerbils but do not want any more offspring.
Separating the pair would not be a good idea, as gerbils should not live alone. And it would also be difficult to socialize the gerbils with new partners.
Therefore, neutering male gerbils may be the solution in such cases. The pair can continue to live together and you don’t have to expect any more gerbil offspring.
Remember, however, that it can take up to 6 weeks for the gerbil to become sterile after neutering. So during this time there is still a risk that your gerbils will successfully reproduce.
How Much Do Gerbils Reproduce?
Gerbils reproduce quite intensively. This can lead to the fact that you have a huge gerbil family in your house after not too long.
Female gerbils can become pregnant at the age of 4 months. The gestation period for gerbils is about 25 days.
A litter of gerbils usually consists of 4 to 7 cubs. However, it could be more or less, but do not expect less than 2 cubs.
Shortly after birth, the game starts all over again. A female can give birth to the next litter as early as 45 days after giving birth.
So you see, it can get very crowded very fast in your gerbil cage. It is not impossible that your 2 gerbils will become 40 gerbils within a year.
Which Gerbil Genders Can Live Together Best?
Therefore, you should seriously consider whether it is better to keep two male or two female gerbils. Then there is no danger of overpopulation in your home.
But which genders are better to live together? In principle, it does not matter whether you keep two male or two female gerbils together.
Male gerbils do live together a bit more peacefully on average. But there are also females that get along well with each other.
It is best if you socialize the gerbils at an age of less than 10 weeks. At this young age they quickly find together.
This is due to the fact that they do not yet have a group odor and thus do not yet fight rank battles with each other.
So if you want to have it as stress-free as possible, you should think about buying two young male gerbils.
Conclusion: Can Gerbils Be Neutered?
Gerbils can be neutered, but this should only be considered in exceptional cases. The surgical procedure and also the required anesthesia are risky for gerbils.
It is usually a better choice to keep two female or two male gerbils. It does not make too much difference which gender you choose.
Keeping one female and one male gerbil is consistent with their natural lifestyle, but can quickly lead to a large gerbil family because of the rampant reproduction of gerbils.
Neutering male gerbils may be necessary if there are problems within the group or if you want to complete the family planning of your gerbils. However, there are a few things to keep in mind after such an operation.
For example, the wound should not be contaminated. More importantly, male gerbils are still able to reproduce for about 6 weeks after neutering.
Keep this in mind and your gerbils should live a good and comfortable life.