Can Gerbils Die from Stress? Solved & Explained!

If you’re a gerbil owner, you may have wondered at some point if your furry friend could die from stress. After all, it’s not like they can tell us how they’re feeling! Well, wonder no more! In this blog post, we’ll explore the possible causes of stress in gerbils and explain why it’s important to take steps to reduce any potential stress in their lives.

Believe it or not, gerbils can actually die from stress. While they are relatively low-maintenance pets, they still require a certain level of care and attention. So, if you’re thinking about getting a gerbil, make sure you’re prepared to commit to taking care of it properly.

Why Do Gerbils Get Stressed?

If your gerbil is acting stressed, there’s usually a reason. Something in its environment isn’t right, and it’s trying to tell you something! We’ll explore some of the most common causes of stress in gerbils and what you can do to help them feel more comfortable.


As any pet owner knows, animals can get bored just like humans. When they don’t have enough to do, they can start to feel stressed and anxious.

This can be a problem for gerbils, as they are active little creatures that need plenty of stimulation. If a gerbil is left alone in a cage that is too small, it will quickly become bored and may start to engage in destructive behaviors, such as chewing on its cage or its own tail.

It is important to give your gerbil plenty of toys and space to play. A large cage with plenty of hiding places and tunnels is ideal.

You should also make sure to spend time playing with your gerbil every day. By giving it the stimulation it needs, you can help to keep your gerbil happy and healthy.


Gerbils may become afraid if they are introduced to new environments or if they are handled roughly. This can cause them to become stressed and may even lead to them getting sick.

To prevent this, it is important to handle your gerbil gently and slowly at first. Once the gerbil gets used to you, it will be less likely to feel fear when you interact with it.


Gerbils are social creatures and do best when they live in pairs or groups. If a gerbil is left alone, it may become stressed and depressed.

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This can lead to the gerbil becoming withdrawn and may even stop eating. A lone gerbil may also become aggressive and bite. If you have more than one gerbil, it’s important to introduce them slowly so that they can get used to each other.

Once they’re friends, they’ll groom each other and play together. They may even sleep huddled up together for warmth. If you can’t have more than one gerbil, make sure to provide plenty of toys and enrichment activities to keep your pet stimulated and happy.

Environmental Stressors

Cats and dogs may look cute and cuddly, but to a gerbil, they’re huge potential predators. As a result, gerbils can become very stressed when they see or hear these animals.

Even if the cat or dog is well-behaved and poses no threat, the gerbil’s instinctual fear can still cause a great deal of stress. Similarly, loud noises can also be very unsettling for gerbils.

While they are capable of making some noise themselves, they prefer quiet environments and can be easily startled by sudden loud sounds.

Gerbils are very sensitive to changes in their environment, so anything from a new piece of furniture to a change in the room’s temperature can cause them stress.

As a result, it’s important to create a stable, calming environment for your gerbil if you want them to stay healthy and happy.

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How Do You Tell if A Gerbil Is Stressed?

Can Gerbils Die from Stress?

Frequent Vocalizations

One of the first signs that a gerbil is stressed is that it will start to make more noise than usual.

Gerbils are usually very quiet, so if yours starts to chatter, squeak, or even scream, it’s a sign that something is wrong. This increased vocalization is usually a way for the gerbil to try to relieve its stress.


Another common sign of stress in gerbils is hiding. If your gerbil starts to spend more time than usual in its nest or in other hidden areas, it may be trying to avoid something that is causing it stress. This could be anything from a loud noise to another animal in the home.

Loss of Appetite

When gerbils are stressed, they may stop eating or drinking as much as usual. This can lead to weight loss and dehydration, so it’s important to keep an eye on your gerbil’s food and water intake.

When your gerbil isn’t eating or drinking as much as usual, try to figure out what might be causing the stress and remove it from the gerbil’s environment.

Excessive Grooming

Another common sign of stress in gerbils is excessive grooming. Gerbils groom themselves as a way to stay clean and remove parasites, but they will also do it when they’re feeling anxious or stressed.

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If you witness your gerbil grooming itself more than usual, it’s a sign that something is bothering it.

Change in Toilet Habits

When gerbils are stressed, they may also change their toilet habits. They may start to urinate or defecate more often, or they may stop using the toilet altogether. This can be a sign of stress or an underlying medical condition, so it’s important to take your gerbil to the vet if you see any changes in its toilet habits.

Foot Stomping (Drumming)

One of the most obvious signs that a gerbil is stressed is foot-stomping, also known as drumming. When gerbils are feeling anxious or threatened, they will stamp their feet on the ground as a way to warn other animals to stay away.

This behavior is usually only seen when the gerbil is very stressed, so if you see your gerbil stomping its feet, it’s a good idea to try to figure out what’s causing the stress and remove it from the gerbil’s environment.

Red Tears

When gerbils experience stress, they may develop red-colored stains around their eyes and nose. This is due to a substance called porphyrin, which is found in the tear ducts. (source:Petmd)

When porphyrin becomes unbound, it can leave deposits in the tear ducts, causing the tinted tear fluid to stain the fur around the eyes and nose.

Obsessive Behaviors

If you have a pet gerbil, you may have noticed that they like to groom themselves frequently. They may also scratch or bite their cage, or even dig at the ground. These are all normal behaviors for gerbils. If you are worried if they might chew through it, I wrote about this in this article.

However, when gerbils are stressed, these behaviors can become much more frequent. If you notice that your gerbil is engaging in these behaviors more than usual, it may be a sign that they are feeling stressed.

If you think your gerbil is stressed, try to make their environment as calm and consistent as possible. You should also avoid handling them too much. If the problem persists, you may want to consult a veterinarian for advice.


If you have a gerbil as a pet, you might be wondering why they sometimes act strange. For example, your gerbil might suddenly become aggressive or cranky.

This behavior is usually a sign that your gerbil is stressed. Gerbils are usually very friendly creatures, so it’s most concerning if this behavior persists over several days.

There are many things that can cause stress in gerbils, such as changes in their environment, loud noises, or even being around other animals.

If you think your gerbil is stressed, try to identify the cause and remove it from their environment if possible.

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Gerbils are active little creatures that love to play. When your gerbil is excessively active and seems to be trying to escape its cage, it may be a sign of stress.

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Gerbils are prone to stress when they feel trapped or threatened, and this can cause them to become hyperactive. If your gerbil is all day and night awake and active, it is likely experiencing stress and you should take action to help reduce its anxiety.

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What Are the Consequences of Stress in Gerbils?

If left unchecked, stress can lead to a number of serious health problems in gerbils. These include:

Gastrointestinal Issues

One of the most common health problems caused by stress in gerbils is gastrointestinal issues. When gerbils are stressed, they produce more stomach acid, which can lead to ulcers, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Immune system problems

Another consequence of stress in gerbils is that it can weaken their immune system. This makes them more susceptible to infections and diseases.

Reproductive problems

Gerbils that are stressed can also experience reproductive problems. This is because the hormone cortisol, which is released when animals are stressed, can interfere with the production of sex hormones.

As a result, gerbils that are stressed may have difficulty reproducing.

How Do You Cheer up A Stressed Gerbil?

When a gerbil is stressed, it can have a number of negative effects on its health. As a result, it’s important to try to help your gerbil feel more relaxed.

One way to do this is to provide it with hiding places, like tunnels or cardboard boxes. Gerbils also like to gnaw on things, so offering them chewing toys can help reduce their stress levels.

You can also try placing your gerbil’s cage in a quiet, low-traffic area of your home.

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How to Prevent a Gerbil to Get Stressed

Noise and a lack of environmental stimulation are two of the leading causes of stress in gerbils. As such, it’s important to provide your gerbil with a low-noise environment and plenty of things to do.

Try to avoid keeping your gerbil in an area where there is a lot of foot traffic or other loud noises. Instead, choose a quiet spot in your home where your gerbil can feel safe and relaxed.

It’s also important to provide your gerbil with a varied environment. This means including different types of toys, tunnels, and other enrichment items in its cage.

Finally, consider getting another gerbil as a friend for your pet. Having another gerbil to play with and cuddle up to can help reduce stress levels and keep your pet healthy and happy.

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Gerbils can die from stress, it won’t happen overnight but if a gerbil is constantly stressed it will weaken its immune system and make it more susceptible to disease and infection, which can ultimately lead to death.

To prevent this from happening, it is important to provide your gerbil with a stimulating environment, plenty of space to play, and social interaction.