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How Do Gerbils Die?

how do gerbils die

Losing a beloved pet is a hard thing for anyone. 

It’s no different when your gerbil passes away.

Because of this, pet parents would like to know how gerbils die, just in case they can prevent it from happening.

So, how do gerbils die?

No matter what we do, our pets will eventually die, but there are ways we can stop it from happening too quickly.

The death of a gerbil can be a sad and emotional experience for pet owners, particularly if they are unsure about the cause of death. 

Today, we’ll look at the different ways in which gerbils may die, and provide information on how to prevent and recognize common health issues that can lead to gerbil mortality.

 We’ll also discuss the importance of proper nutrition, exercise, and hygiene in ensuring the overall health and longevity of gerbils. 

Let’s go!

How Do Gerbils Die?

gerbils with dead friend

Gerbils are generally healthy and easy to care for, but they are prone to certain health issues that can lead to their eventual death. 

There are various ways in which gerbils can die, just like any other animal.

We’ll discuss how or why they die below.

What Causes Gerbils to Die?

Several reasons which include:

1. Old Age

Gerbils have an average lifespan of 2-4 years, but some can live up to 5 years. 

When gerbils reach old age, their bodies begin to slow down, and they become more susceptible to diseases and infections.

This can lead to a decline in their overall health, which can eventually result in their death.

As gerbils age, their immune system weakens, making them more vulnerable to infections. 

They may also develop health problems such as dental issues, tumors, or arthritis. 

Signs of aging in gerbils include a decrease in activity level, weight loss, loss of muscle tone, and a decrease in fur quality. 

Gerbil owners should monitor their pet’s health closely as they age and seek veterinary care if they suspect any health issues. 

The good news is, that gerbils can reach an old age if you care well for them.

2. Illness or Disease

Gerbils, like any other living organisms, are susceptible to illness and disease. 

Gerbils can acquire bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, which can lead to severe health complications and even death. 

The most common health issues that gerbils face are respiratory infections, diarrhea, Tyzzer’s Disease, heart failure, and stroke.  

Respiratory infections are usually caused by bacteria and viruses, and symptoms include sneezing, coughing, labored breathing, and discharge from the nose and eyes.

 Diarrhea can be caused by a poor diet or bacterial infections and can result in dehydration and weight loss. 

One of the most common causes of death for gerbils is Tyzzer’s Disease, which is caused by the bacterium Clostridium piliforme.

 This disease can spread quickly and cause severe illness, including lethargy, diarrhea, and dehydration. If left untreated, Tyzzer’s Disease can result in death within just a few days.

Therefore, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention promptly if your gerbil displays any symptoms of illness.

In addition to Tyzzer’s Disease, gerbils are also prone to heart failure and stroke. 

These conditions can be caused by various factors, including genetics, diet, and lack of exercise. Gerbils that are overweight or have a diet high in fat and cholesterol are particularly at risk for heart problems. 

Meanwhile, strokes can be caused by high blood pressure or blood clots in the brain.

3. Stress

Stress can affect gerbils in a number of different ways, including decreased appetite, reduced activity levels, and even a weakened immune system.

 In extreme cases, stress can lead to death. You can better understand the causes of stress and take steps to minimize it in order to ensure the health and well-being of your furry friends.

There are different things that can cause stress in gerbils. 

One of the most common causes is overcrowding. Gerbils are social animals but they also need their space.

When too many gerbils are kept in a small enclosure, they may become agitated and aggressive towards each other.

 Other factors that can cause stress include loud noises, sudden movements, exposure to bright lights, and changes in their environment.

Watercolor gerbil

Regular Vet Visits

Schedule routine veterinary check-ups to monitor your gerbil’s health and catch any issues early.

 4. Inadequate Nutrition

Gerbils are cute and active pets that require a balanced and nutritious diet to maintain their health and longevity.

 Inadequate nutrition is one of the leading causes of gerbil deaths, so definitely need to understand the nutritional needs of your pet to avoid any health complications.

Gerbils are omnivores and require a diet that contains both plant and animal-based foods.

A good quality commercial gerbil food provides a good foundation for their diet, but it should always be supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables

Foods high in protein, such as cooked chicken, eggs, and mealworms are also great sources of nutrition for gerbils. 

You should avoid feeding them sugary or fatty foods, which can lead to obesity and other health problems. 

Gerbils require a constant supply of fresh water, which should be changed daily to prevent bacterial growth and contamination. 

5. Injury

Gerbils are small rodents that are popular as pets due to their cute and playful nature. 

Because they’re such active creatures that love to run, jump, and climb, which can sometimes lead to accidents and injuries.

dead gerbil

Injuries can occur in a variety of ways, such as falls from high surfaces, fighting with other gerbils, or getting caught in their cage accessories.

 If a gerbil sustains a serious injury, you should quickly seek veterinary care. 

Delaying treatment can lead to further complications and even death.

 In some cases, injuries may not be immediately apparent, so it’s very important to monitor your gerbil closely for any signs of discomfort or distress. 

6. Scent Gland Tumor

Gerbils are equipped with specialized scent glands that serve as a mode of communication and territorial marking. 

These glands are found on the abdomen.

 They release pheromones, which are chemical signals that transmit information to other gerbils. 

These signals can convey various aspects, including dominance, readiness for mating, and territorial boundaries.

To establish their presence within their environment, gerbils will rub their scent glands on surfaces, leaving behind their unique scent.

Gerbils can sometimes develop scent gland tumors when the area becomes inflamed or irritated. 

If the tumor is malignant, it can kill or pet so seek medical attention if you notice anything out of the ordinary. 

7. Toxic Substances

Toxic substances can come from many sources, including household chemicals, pesticides, and certain foods.

Toxic substances can cause serious health problems for gerbils, including organ damage and even death. 

Gerbils have a fast metabolism, which means that their bodies process toxins quickly and efficiently. 

This can be both a blessing and a curse, as it allows them to recover quickly from certain health problems, but also means that even small amounts of toxic substances can have a significant impact on their health. 

As a pet owner, it’s a good idea to be aware of potential sources of toxins in your home and to take steps to keep your gerbil safe.

 This can include storing household chemicals and pesticides in secure locations, avoiding feeding your gerbil foods that are toxic to rodents, and being cautious about bringing new plants or other items into your home that may contain harmful chemicals.

Watercolor gerbil

Prevent Fighting

Ensure gerbils have enough space and resources to prevent territorial disputes.

What are the Signs of a Gerbil Dying?

It can be difficult to witness your gerbil showing signs of illness or declining health. 

A common sign of a gerbil dying is a loss of appetite. 

If your gerbil is refusing to eat or drink, this can indicate that they are experiencing pain or discomfort. 

A gerbil that’s dying may become lethargic and spend more time sleeping than usual. 

Other signs to look out for include labored breathing, diarrhea, and a decrease in body weight.

 If you notice any of these symptoms in your gerbil, it’s important to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible to ensure that your gerbil receives the proper care and treatment.

What can Cause a Gerbil to Die Suddenly?

gerbil nibbling food

Sudden death in gerbils can sometimes be caused by:

  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Respiratory problems
  • Heat stress
  • Trauma
  • Ingesting toxins
  • Gastrointestinal blockages
  • Infections
  • Stroke
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Old age
  • Seizures
  • Organ failure
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Dehydration
  • Allergic reactions
  • Fighting
  • Tumors
  • Stress
  • Sudden collapse
  • Genetic factors

What do Gerbils do When One Dies?

Gerbils are social creatures that thrive in groups.

 They are known to form strong bonds with their cage mates and display a range of behaviors that indicate their social nature, such as grooming, huddling, and play-fighting. 

When one of the gerbils in a group dies, the surviving gerbils may exhibit various responses depending on the circumstances surrounding the death and their individual personalities.

One common behavior observed in surviving gerbils is mourning. 

Gerbils may display mourning behaviors such as lethargy, decreased appetite, and increased vocalization. They may also spend more time huddled together and groom each other more frequently than usual. 

Mourning behavior can vary among individuals and may last for several days or weeks. It is important for gerbil owners to provide extra attention and care to their surviving gerbils during this time to help them cope with the loss of their cage mate. 

In some cases, the surviving gerbils may actually eat the deceased gerbil, so you should remove the body as soon as possible.

What Happens When a Gerbil Dies?

When a gerbil dies, there are a few things that should be done to properly handle the situation. 

Firstly, it’s important to remove the body of the gerbil from the cage as soon as possible to prevent other gerbils from eating it. 

This is because gerbils are social animals and they may resort to cannibalism if they feel threatened or stressed.

You should dispose of the body in a respectful and sanitary manner. You can wrap the body in newspaper or a paper towel and place it in a plastic bag for disposal.

In any case, losing a pet can be a difficult experience, and you must take the time to grieve and remember the memories you shared with your gerbil.

How Do Gerbils Die?

Gerbils are wonderful pets that bring joy and companionship to their owners. 

Unfortunately, like all living creatures, gerbils have a limited lifespan and will eventually pass away.

 Understanding the various factors that can contribute to gerbil health and longevity, such as proper diet, exercise, and care, can help to prolong their lifespan. 

If your gerbil does pass away, it’s important to handle the situation with care and respect. 

By following proper procedures for disposing of a deceased gerbil and taking time to grieve, owners can honor the memory of their beloved pet and cherish the happy times they shared.

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