Breeding & Mating
Gerbils are ready to mate at an early age but for best results they should be at least three months old. Females can produce offspring until about two years old.
To begin breeding, introduce your male and female to each other gradually if they are not already sharing a cage. The female will be interested in mating about every four days and the gerbils will mate sporadically over a couple hour period.
Gestation & Birth
Gestation is around 24 days and the female gerbil will remain active until giving birth. She will begin to show a few days before the babies arrive.
A typical litter is around six baby gerbils which are called pups. The mother may be nervous so leave her alone while she is giving birth. It is not uncommon for gerbils to mate while she is giving birth or immediately afterward.
After giving birth the mother will create a nest in the corner of the cage and move all the babies to the nest and nurse them. The female will stay alone in the nest with the pups for up to 48 hours to bond before the male returns to the nest.
Always wash your hands before touching the babies to prevent the mother from rejecting or attacking the babies. You should also remove high areas to prevent babies from falling. Everything else in the cage should be left alone to prevent stressing the mother and possibly causing her to neglect the pups.
Gerbils are born blind, deaf, and naked and could not survive without their mother. After about 10 days the babies will begin to grow fur but will still have their eyes closed. Handling at this age will allow the babies to get to know you by your taste, touch and smell.
Around 19 days the babies will open their eyes. At 4 to 5 weeks the pups will be weaned from their mother and at 6 weeks they will be ready for a new home.
To sex a gerbil check between its hind legs. There will be two bumps, the urethra and anus. On a female the two will be close together. On a male there will be a space of about 1/2 inch between them and you should also be able to see the bulge from his scrotum.
For baby gerbils, after they are a week old you can sex them. If the gerbil has nipples, it is female. The nipples look like little dents or circles in the skin. Sexing must be done before the coat of belly fur forms.