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Gerbils
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Hamsters and Gerbils

Hamsters

Behavior

Nocturnal, Exploratory, Gnawing, Burrowing, Foraging, Exercising

Social Structure

Adults can be socially housed with the same sex.  Female Syrian hamsters that are litter mates can be social , but as they mature they will increase aggression.  Males can be socially housed with minimal aggression.  Clear dominant submissive relationship when housed together.  However in the wild, are solitary.

Abnormal Behaviors

Cannibalism, Fighting, Bar Mouthing

Hamster in a cage. The hamster gnaws a stick.

Gerbils

Behavior

Exploratory, Gentle, Burrowing, Gnawing, Jumping, Hind Limb Thumping, Exercising, territorial

Social Structure

The males of Mongolian gerbil (M. unguiculatus) occupy well defined territories with high level of individualization.

Abnormal Behaviors

Scratching at Cage Corners, Aggression

Gerbils are the cutest animals ever. They love to cuddle, play and sleep together. They cannot be separated. They make excellent pets.

Enrichment for Hamsters and Gerbils

Enrichment items that promote burrowing, shelter, gnawing, exercising such as wheels, blocks, platforms, and a sufficient amount of nesting material enrichment work best to exhibit their natural behaviors. 

Resources

Featured studies related to refinement, enrichment, handling, behavior management, and training techniques.

AALAE FORUM

Join The Conversation

Our AALAE Forum is open to all lab animal professionals with the intent to serve as a think tank for new enrichment ideas, behavior management practices, as well as innovative enrichment/behavior management techniques.  It’s imperative to push the conversation around animal welfare in a positive way.