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Do Gerbils Like to Swim or Play in Water?

do gerbils like to swim

Gerbils are quite energetic which often leaves pet owners wondering if gerbils can swim. 

While swimming is a typical activity for many pets, such as dogs and fish, it is not a common sight to see gerbils swimming.

This enjoyable activity isn’t limited to only pets either. We see an array of wild animals delving into the water to hunt and swim.

 So, the question remains – do gerbils like to swim? 

And even more importantly, can gerbils swim if needed?

Today, we’ll find out if water is a gerbil’s best friend and if they really enjoy swimming for fun.  

So, if you’re a gerbil owner or just curious about these small furry creatures, this post will satisfy your interest in their swimming abilities. 

Do Gerbils Like to Swim?

gerbils do not like to swim

That’s gonna be a no for me dawg!

Gerbils do not like swimming at all.

They can swim if they need to, but they don’t in most cases.

It’s quite unnecessary for gerbils to swim because this activity is not a requirement for them to survive nor is it needed for physical activity.

Can Gerbils Swim if Needed?

Gerbils are not natural swimmers, and they can drown if they are not careful. 

Putting gerbils into a situation where they are forced to swim can cause stress which isn’t good for their tiny hearts.

They can swim if needed, but never force them to swim. 

Do Gerbils Swim in The Wild?

Gerbils are no Michael Phelps when it comes to swimming. 

In the wild, these tiny adventurers prefer to keep their paws on dry land. 

Gerbils are true desert dwellers, thriving in arid environments where swimming pools aren’t exactly part of the scene.

Their incredible adaptations are more about conquering sand dunes than conquering the backstroke!

So, while you might catch them digging tunnels and scurrying through the sands like miniature superheroes, you won’t find them doing the doggy paddle. 

Remember, gerbils are all about the land-loving life – no swimsuits required!

 Do Gerbils Swim in Captivity?

In captivity, gerbils are like beachcombers – they prefer solid ground to watery depths.

 Unlike their amphibious cousins, gerbils aren’t built for swimming.

 Those adorable paws are designed for digging and scurrying across land, not for breaststroke championships.

Stick to the sandy terrain, and your gerbil will be as happy as a clam (or a desert-loving rodent) on dry land

 Can Gerbils Drown?

Gerbils are remarkable creatures, but when it comes to water, they’re not naturals. 

In fact, gerbils can indeed drown if exposed to water sources that are too deep or inaccessible for them to escape.

Their anatomy is tailored for desert life, with fur that isn’t water-repellent like that of aquatic animals. 

Also, gerbils lack the instinctive swimming abilities found in animals adapted to aquatic environments.

 If a gerbil finds itself in deep water, it might struggle to stay afloat, leading to potential drowning.

To ensure your gerbils’ safety, avoid providing deep water containers or habitats where they could accidentally fall in and get trapped. 

Stick to shallow water sources, like water bowls or bottles designed for small rodents, and keep their environment dry to prevent any unwanted aquatic adventures.

Remember, while gerbils might not be Olympic swimmers, they’re certainly champs at exploring their desert-like habitats!

Watercolor gerbil


Gerbils should never be exposed to water for swimming. Their fur lacks water-resistant properties, and wet conditions can lead to hypothermia, stress, and even fatalities. Keep gerbils away from water to ensure their safety and well-being.

Can You Bathe Gerbils in Water?

Bathing gerbils in water might sound like a cute idea, but it’s generally not recommended because gerbils don’t have natural oils in their fur that help them stay dry and clean. 

This can lead to discomfort and potential health issues. 

 Introducing water for bathing could stress your gerbils and even lead to respiratory issues if they get wet. 

How Do Gerbils Bathe?

Gerbils have an interesting and unique way of maintaining their hygiene – they don’t use water for bathing like some animals do.

Instead, gerbils take sand baths to keep their fur clean and free from excess oils.

In the wild, gerbils live in desert environments where water is scarce.

To adapt to these conditions, they’ve developed a grooming ritual that involves rolling in dry sand.

They use their paws to flick sand over their bodies, effectively absorbing oils and dirt from their fur.

This process helps to keep their fur clean, prevents matting, and removes any unwanted scents that could attract predators.

As a pet owner, you can provide a shallow container filled with chinchilla sand for your gerbils to enjoy their sand baths.

gerbil taking a sand bath

Place it in their habitat, and they’ll instinctively roll and groom themselves in the sand.

This behavior is not only adorable but also a key part of their natural grooming routine.

So, while gerbils might not take traditional baths, their sand baths are an integral part of their self-care regimen, helping them stay clean and comfortable in their desert-inspired lifestyles.

Can Gerbils Go In Water?

You may be wondering, can gerbils get wet?

Gerbils cannot naturally adapt to water activities and may drown when exposed to deep or challenging water sources.

 Their fur is not water-resistant, and their bodies are not designed for swimming. 

Unlike aquatic animals, they lack specialized adaptations for moving in water.

Their paws are built for digging and moving on solid ground, not for effective swimming.

Gerbils may be curious about water and briefly wade in shallow water, but it is generally not recommended to introduce them to water for extended periods. 

Wet fur can cause discomfort, stress, and potential health issues.

Instead, focus on providing dry sand baths for their grooming needs, which aligns with their natural behaviors and preferences.

gerbil nibbling food

Do Gerbils Like to Play in Water?

Gerbils are originally from desert regions and are not naturally inclined to play in water.

Unlike aquatic animals, gerbils are more land-based and have adapted to thrive in arid environments.

Gerbils typically do not enjoy playing in water and their bodies are not suited for swimming.

Instead of water play, gerbils prefer activities such as digging, tunneling, exploring their surroundings, and socializing with their fellow gerbils.

To provide entertainment and enrichment, it is better to offer them opportunities for these natural behaviors by providing tunnels, hideouts, and safe digging substrates.

Do Gerbils Like to Swim?

Gerbils are not known to be great swimmers and may not enjoy being in water.

If you want to provide your gerbil with a safe and enjoyable experience, you can just play with them.

Try creating a maze using cardboard tubes, giving them a stimulating environment to explore and hide in.

Or you can construct a mini agility course with tunnels, ramps, and obstacles to encourage their natural curiosity and physical activity.

Bond through gentle hand-training, offering treats from your palm to foster trust.

Every gerbil is unique and may have different preferences, so observe their behavior and adjust accordingly.

Overall, gerbils do not naturally gravitate towards water and it’s best to avoid it.

If you notice that your gerbil does want to get in the pool, he’s the exception and not the rule!

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