Can Gerbils Shed their Tails? Find Out How Gerbils Lose their Tails Here!

Gerbils are small rodents native to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. They are popular as pets because of their playful and sociable nature, as well as their low maintenance requirements. Gerbils are known for their long, furry tails, which serve several important functions.

The Importance of Gerbil Tails

Gerbil tails are important for several reasons. They help the gerbil maintain its balance while running and jumping, and they also act as a counterbalance when the gerbil is carrying food or other objects in its mouth. Additionally, gerbil tails help regulate the animal’s body temperature, as they are covered in a network of small blood vessels that can expand or contract depending on the temperature.

Gerbil Tails: Facts and Function

Physical Characteristics of Gerbil Tails

Gerbil tails are long and slender, with a length that can vary between 5 and 15 centimeters depending on the species. The tails are covered in short, soft fur, which can be either the same color as the rest of the gerbil’s body or a different color.

The Function of Gerbil Tails

As mentioned earlier, gerbil tails are important for maintaining balance, carrying objects, and regulating body temperature. In addition to these functions, gerbil tails also play a role in communication. When a gerbil is excited or agitated, it may flick its tail rapidly back and forth to communicate its emotions to other gerbils.

Gerbil Tail Loss: Understanding the Causes

Natural Tail Loss

It is possible for gerbils to lose their tails naturally. In some species, the tail will break off at a specific point when the gerbil is under attack by a predator. This is known as autotomy, and it is a defense mechanism that allows the gerbil to escape from the predator while leaving behind a part of its body that the predator can grab onto.

Stress-Induced Tail Loss

Gerbils can also lose their tails due to stress. If a gerbil is kept in a noisy, crowded or otherwise stressful environment, it may begin to bite and chew on its own tail. This can lead to the tail becoming infected or even falling off.

Injury-Related Tail Loss

Finally, gerbils can lose their tails due to injury. If a gerbil is caught in a cage door or is attacked by another animal, its tail may become injured or even severed.

Preventing Gerbil Tail Loss

Proper Handling Techniques

One of the best ways to prevent gerbil tail loss is to handle your pets properly. Always pick up your gerbil gently, supporting its entire body, and avoid pulling or tugging on its tail. This will help prevent injury and stress-related tail loss.

Avoiding Stressful Environments

Another way to prevent tail loss is to create a calm and comfortable environment for your gerbils. This means providing them with a large, clean, and well-ventilated cage and avoiding loud noises and sudden movements in their vicinity.

What to Do if Your Gerbil Loses its Tail

Assessing the Situation

If your gerbil loses its tail, it is important to assess the situation carefully. If the tail was lost due to injury, you should take your gerbil to a veterinarian for treatment. If the tail was lost due to stress or natural causes, you should monitor your gerbil closely to ensure that it is not showing any signs of infection or other health problems.

Caring for Your Gerbil Post-Tail Loss

If your gerbil loses its tail, you should provide it with extra care and attention to help it recover. This may include providing a soft, comfortable bedding material, feeding it a balanced diet, and monitoring its behavior and health closely.


In conclusion, gerbils can lose their tails due to a variety of reasons, including natural causes, stress, and injury. However, by handling your pets properly and providing them with a comfortable and stress-free environment, you can help prevent tail loss from occurring. If your gerbil does lose its tail, it is important to assess the situation carefully and provide your pet with extra care and attention to help it recover.

ThePetFaq Team