Do Gerbils Eat Each Other? Understanding Gerbil Cannibalism

Gerbil cannibalism is when one gerbil eats another gerbil. This can happen in both the wild and in captivity. In some cases, the gerbil may kill the other gerbil before consuming it, while in other cases, the gerbil may eat a dead gerbil. This behavior is not common in gerbils, but it can occur.

Reasons behind Gerbil Cannibalism

There are several reasons why gerbils may engage in cannibalism. One of the most common reasons is stress. If gerbils are kept in an environment that is too small or not enriched enough, they may become stressed and aggressive towards each other. This can lead to fights and even cannibalism.

Another reason for gerbil cannibalism is hunger. If the gerbils are not provided with enough food, they may turn to cannibalism as a way to survive. This is more common in the wild than in captivity, as pet owners are usually careful to provide their gerbils with enough food.

Lastly, gerbil cannibalism can occur if there are too many gerbils in one cage. Overcrowding can lead to fights and aggression, which can lead to cannibalism.

When does Gerbil Cannibalism occur?

Gerbil cannibalism is more likely to occur in certain situations. As mentioned earlier, if the gerbils are stressed or hungry, they may turn to cannibalism. Additionally, gerbil cannibalism is more likely to occur during breeding season. Male gerbils can become aggressive towards females during this time, and may even kill and eat them.

Preventing Gerbil Cannibalism

Providing Proper Nutrition

One of the best ways to prevent gerbil cannibalism is to ensure that your gerbils are getting proper nutrition. This means providing them with a balanced diet that includes both dry food and fresh fruits and vegetables. It is also important to make sure that your gerbils have access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Enhancing Habitat

Another way to prevent gerbil cannibalism is to enhance their habitat. This means providing them with a cage that is large enough for all of the gerbils to live comfortably and with enough space to move around. Additionally, it is important to provide your gerbils with toys and other items to play with, as well as hiding spots where they can retreat if they feel stressed.

Introducing Gerbils Properly

When introducing new gerbils to an established group, it is important to do so slowly and carefully. This means keeping the new gerbil in a separate cage for a period of time before introducing them to the others. This allows the gerbils to become familiar with each other’s scents and helps to prevent fights.

Monitoring Gerbil Behavior

Finally, it is important to monitor your gerbils’ behavior closely. If you notice any signs of aggression or fighting, it may be necessary to separate the gerbils to prevent cannibalism. Additionally, it is important to provide your gerbils with regular veterinary care to ensure that they are healthy and happy.


In conclusion, gerbil cannibalism is a rare behavior in gerbils, but it can occur in certain circumstances. By providing your gerbils with proper nutrition, enhancing their habitat, introducing new gerbils carefully, and monitoring their behavior, you can help to prevent cannibalism from occurring. As with any pet, it is important to provide your gerbils with the care and attention they need to live happy and healthy lives.

ThePetFaq Team