Why Do Gerbils Shake: Understanding Gerbil Behavior and Health Issues

One reason gerbils shake is because it’s a sign of comfort and relaxation. When a gerbil is relaxed and feeling safe, they may shake as a way to release tension and calm down. This type of shaking is usually very gentle and rhythmic.

1.2 Greeting and Communication

Gerbils also shake as a way to communicate with one another. When two gerbils meet, they may shake their tails or their entire bodies as a way to say hello. This type of shaking is often accompanied by other behaviors like sniffing and grooming.

1.3 Play and Exploration

Gerbils are naturally curious creatures, and they love to explore their environment. When they’re playing or exploring, they may shake as a way to express excitement or anticipation. This type of shaking is usually more energetic and may be accompanied by jumping or running.

Chapter 2: Reasons for Gerbil Shaking

While shaking is usually a normal part of gerbil behavior, there are some situations where it may indicate a problem. Here are some reasons why gerbils may shake that are cause for concern:

2.1 Normal Shaking Behavior

As we’ve discussed, shaking is often a normal part of gerbil behavior. If your gerbil is shaking gently and rhythmically, there’s probably nothing to worry about.

2.2 Stress or Fear

If your gerbil is shaking more vigorously or seems to be shaking out of fear, it could be a sign of stress or anxiety. Gerbils are sensitive creatures, and they can become stressed by changes in their environment or routine. If you suspect your gerbil is stressed, try to identify the source of the stress and remove it if possible. Providing a safe, comfortable environment can also help reduce stress.

2.3 Illness or Pain

Shaking can also be a sign of illness or pain in gerbils. If your gerbil is shaking, but also showing other symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, or difficulty breathing, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian right away. Some common health issues in gerbils are respiratory infections, dental problems, and digestive issues, which we’ll discuss further in the next chapter.

Chapter 3: Common Health Issues in Gerbils

As with any pet, it’s important to be aware of common health issues in gerbils and how to prevent and treat them. Here are some common health issues to look out for:

3.1 Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections are common in gerbils and can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor ventilation and exposure to other sick animals. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, sneezing, and discharge from the nose or eyes. If you suspect your gerbil has a respiratory infection, take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

3.2 Dental Problems

Gerbils have constantly growing teeth, and if they don’t wear them down naturally through chewing, they can develop dental problems. Symptoms of dental problems include drooling, difficulty eating, and weight loss. Providing your gerbil with plenty of chew toys and a diet high in fiber can help prevent dental problems.

3.3 Digestive Issues

Gerbils are prone to digestive issues like diarrhea and constipation. These issues can be caused by poor diet, stress, or other underlying health problems. Symptoms include changes in appetite, weight loss, and abnormal stools. Providing your gerbil with a healthy diet and plenty of fresh water can help prevent digestive issues.

Chapter 4: Gerbil Care and Prevention

Preventing health issues in gerbils is key to ensuring they live happy, healthy lives. Here are some tips for gerbil care and prevention:

4.1 Proper Nutrition

A healthy diet is essential for preventing health issues in gerbils. Make sure your gerbil has access to fresh water and a high-quality food that’s high in fiber and protein. Avoid feeding your gerbil sugary or fatty treats, as these can lead to obesity and other health issues.

4.2 Hygiene and Cleaning

Keeping your gerbil’s environment clean and hygienic is important for preventing illness. Clean their cage regularly, and provide fresh bedding and toys. Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners that could be harmful to your gerbil.

4.3 Medical Checkups and Treatment

Regular checkups with a veterinarian can help identify health issues early on and prevent them from becoming more serious. If your gerbil is showing any signs of illness or discomfort, don’t hesitate to take them to a veterinarian for treatment.


Gerbils are fascinating and fun pets, but it’s important to understand their behavior and health needs. Shaking is usually a normal part of gerbil behavior, but it can also be a sign of underlying health issues. By understanding the reasons for gerbil shaking and taking steps to prevent and treat health issues, you can ensure that your furry friend lives a happy, healthy life.

ThePetFaq Team