Do Gerbils Kill Each Other? The Gerbil Killer Myth Explained in Detail!

Gerbils are social animals that are known for their playful and active nature. These small creatures are popular pets, and they are often kept in pairs or groups. However, there is a common myth that gerbils are prone to attacking and killing each other. This myth has caused many people to hesitate before getting gerbils as pets. In reality, gerbils are not inherently violent creatures and can live peacefully with each other. In this blog post, we will explore the gerbil social structure, communication, aggression, and factors that can lead to injury. We will also discuss ways to prevent injury and aggression and dispel the gerbil killer myth.

Gerbil Social Structure

Gerbil pack dynamics

Establishing dominance

Gerbils are social animals that are naturally pack animals. They live in groups in the wild, and when kept as pets, they enjoy living with their own kind. In a group of gerbils, there is always a hierarchy, and each gerbil has its role in the pack. Dominance is established through play fighting, and the gerbil that wins these fights becomes the alpha gerbil. The alpha gerbil is responsible for leading and protecting the pack. This hierarchy is crucial for the stability and well-being of the group.

Gerbil Communication

Vocalization and body language

Understanding gerbil behavior

Gerbils communicate with each other through various means, including vocalizations and body language. They use different sounds to indicate different things, such as warning others about danger or calling for attention. Gerbils also use body language to communicate with each other. They may display certain behaviors, such as grooming or huddling together, to indicate their mood or intentions. Understanding gerbil behavior is essential to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts between gerbils.

Aggression vs. Play Fighting

How to tell the difference

Why gerbils play fight

Gerbils engage in play fighting as a way to establish dominance and hierarchy within their group. Play fighting involves wrestling, chasing, and nipping each other. It is a normal and healthy behavior for gerbils. However, it can sometimes escalate into aggression, which can lead to injury or even death. It is crucial to learn to tell the difference between play fighting and aggression to prevent any harm.

Factors That Can Lead to Injury


Mistaken identity

Stress and illness

Overcrowding is one of the most significant factors that can lead to injury or aggression between gerbils. When gerbils are kept in an overcrowded environment, they may become stressed and agitated, which can lead to fighting. Mistaken identity is also a common factor that can cause injury. When a gerbil is introduced into a group, the other gerbils may mistake it for a threat and attack it. Stress and illness can also cause aggression, as sick or stressed gerbils may become more irritable and prone to fighting.

Preventing Injury and Aggression

Choosing compatible gerbils

Providing proper resources

When to intervene

Choosing compatible gerbils is essential to prevent aggression and injury. Gerbils of the same age and sex tend to get along better than those of different ages or sexes. Providing proper resources, such as food, water, and toys, is also essential to prevent aggression. When gerbils are stressed or bored, they may become more aggressive. Knowing when to intervene is also crucial. If you notice any signs of aggression, such as biting or chasing, it is essential to separate the gerbils immediately to prevent any harm.


Dispelling the gerbil killer myth

In conclusion, gerbils are social animals that are not inherently violent. While they may engage in play fighting, it is a normal and healthy behavior that is essential for establishing dominance within their group. However, factors such as overcrowding and mistaken identity can lead to aggression and injury. Preventing aggression and injury involves choosing compatible gerbils, providing proper resources, and knowing when to intervene. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your gerbils live happily and peacefully with each other. It is essential to dispel the gerbil killer myth and understand that gerbils are friendly and social creatures that can make great pets.

ThePetFaq Team