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Do Gerbils and Mice Get Along or Will They Duke it Out?

do gerbils and mice get along

Do gerbils and mice get along?

This is a common question from pet owners worldwide.

As small and furry pets, gerbils and mice are often considered as the perfect pets for those who live in apartments or have limited space.

However, if you are considering getting two small pets, you may wonder whether gerbils and mice can coexist peacefully in the same habitat.

After all, both species belong to the rodent family and share a lot of similarities in terms of their physical appearance and behavior.

The answer to whether gerbils and mice get along is not straightforward, as it largely depends on various factors such as the individual temperament of each pet, their age, gender, and their prior socialization experiences.

While some may argue that gerbils and mice can be compatible with each other, others believe that it is best to keep them separate to avoid any conflicts or stress.

In this blog post, we will delve deeper into the topic of whether gerbils and mice can coexist, exploring the different factors that can affect their relationship.

We will provide you with valuable details to help you choose the right pet pairs.

Do Gerbils and Mice Get Along?

gerbil and mice looking to duel

Gerbils and mice are both popular pets, and many people may wonder if they can be kept together.

It’s definitely not a good idea to keep gerbils and mice together, because they have different social structures and behaviors.

Both are social animals that prefer to live in pairs or small groups, but

they may become stressed or anxious when housed together, and there is a risk of injury or fighting between the two species.

Provide each animal with their own appropriate habitat and social companionship to ensure their well-being and happiness.

Why Do They Fight Each Other?

Territorial Behavior

Both are territorial animals and introducing them together into their established territory can trigger aggressive responses.

Social Differences

Gerbils are social animals that thrive in colonies, while mice live in hierarchical groups. These differences in social structure can lead to conflicts.

Communication Mismatch

Gerbils and mice have different communication styles and signals, which can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts when they fail to interpret each other’s cues.

Resource Competition

Competition for resources like food, water, and nesting space can lead to fights as both species vie for these essential commodities.

Predatory Instincts

Gerbils have a strong prey drive, and their presence may provoke predatory behavior in mice, leading to attacks.

Stress and Fear

The stress of cohabitation or forced interaction can make both gerbils and mice anxious, leading to heightened aggression.

Disease Transmission

Different rodent species can carry species-specific diseases or parasites. Co-habitation increases the risk of disease transmission between the two species.

Personality Variability

Like all animals, individual personality differences play a role. Some gerbils and mice may be more aggressive or less tolerant of each other.

Mice Like Living in Groups

mouse in the wild

Mice are naturally inclined to live in groups, primarily for their safety and social well-being.

Group living provides them with safety in numbers, as it allows for increased vigilance against potential predators.

Being highly social animals, mice benefit from interactions with their peers, engaging in activities like grooming and play.

Group living aids in thermal regulation, helping them conserve body heat in colder environments.

It also facilitates cooperative foraging and food acquisition, increases opportunities for reproductive success, and fosters learning through interactions with older individuals.

In captivity, pet mice still exhibit these behaviors, emphasizing the importance of group or pair housing to meet their social and emotional needs effectively.

Gerbils Like Living in Colonies (groups) Too

gerbil family

Gerbils are naturally inclined to thrive in colonies due to several compelling reasons.

Living in groups offers them safety through increased vigilance against potential predators, as well as opportunities for social interactions such as grooming, playing, and communication.

Group living also assists in thermal regulation, essential for their well-being in varying environments.

Cooperation in foraging and efficient resource gathering is another advantage, along with an increased likelihood of finding suitable mates for reproduction.

This social structure allows young gerbils to learn from older individuals and establish social hierarchies.

Gerbils can get lonely when forced to live alone, leading to stress and potential health issues, highlighting the importance of housing them in pairs or small groups to fulfill their social and emotional needs effectively.

Watercolor gerbil

Need Space

House mice and gerbils separately to prevent territorial conflicts and stress between the two species.

Can Gerbils and Mice Play Together?

This one is a definite no-no.

They would fight even more and both could possibly get hurt and become stressed and anxious.

Gerbils and mice have different temperaments and preferences, and their interactions may not always be positive.

Both will exhibit territorial behavior and may become aggressive towards mice, leading to potential injury.

Ultimately, it’s best to keep gerbils and mice in separate enclosures to ensure their safety and well-being.

What Animal Can Live with a Gerbil?

Gerbils, as social rodents, typically prefer the companionship of their own kind but may not always live harmoniously with other animals due to various factors.

Their territorial nature can lead to aggression towards unfamiliar animals, while differences in communication styles and needs may result in misunderstandings and conflicts.

Gerbils’ prey instincts can provoke predatory behaviors in other animals, posing risks to their safety.

Health concerns, such as disease transmission, can also arise when different species cohabitate.

To ensure the well-being of all pets involved and minimize potential stress or harm, it is generally recommended to house gerbils with their own kind or maintain separate enclosures.

Can Gerbils Live with other Rodents?

Gerbils should not be housed with other rodent species such as hamsters, mice, or guinea pigs.

Each species has its own set of social behaviors and communication methods that differ from gerbils, and this can lead to conflicts and stress.

Hamsters, for example, are smaller than gerbils and could easily be hurt.

Mice have a scent marking system just like gerbils and they may see gerbils as intruders in their territory.

Guinea pigs are larger than gerbils and they require more space and resources, which can create competition and tension between the two species.

Provide gerbils with a spacious and stimulating environment where they can interact with their own kind and express their natural behaviors.

Watercolor gerbil


Supervise interactions (in room, not cage) closely to prevent any harm or aggression between mice and gerbils in shared spaces.

Can Mice and Gerbils Live Together?

While it is possible for gerbils and mice to live together, it is not recommended.

Gerbils and mice have different social structures and communication methods, which can lead to conflicts and stress.

Gerbils and rats are social animals that prefer to live in pairs or groups of their own kind.

If you do plan to house both as pets, they can stay in the same room, but in different enclosures.

Do Gerbils and Mice Get Along?

While gerbils and mice can coexist peacefully if they are in the same room, they cannot live together in the same cage.

You will have to provide them with separate living spaces to ensure their safety and comfort.

At the end of the day, it’s all about providing a safe and happy home for our furry friends.

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