Every creature on the planet fight for its own reasons and for its own needs. They also play with their related creatures. Sometimes, we get confused about whether they are fighting or playing. So, there are some signs to find out the activities of the playing and fighting.
What actually is?
Gerbils usually get along well, especially if they were from the same litter or caged as babies. They will have strong bonds, sleep together, and play together daily.
The signs of the gerbils playing together mean that they are having a strong bond between them. They will be happy whenever they play. If they are playing that just means that they are healthy and normal.
But the signs of the fighting of the gerbils are different. They will bite aggressively, one another around the head and tail areas, usually drawing blood. These fighting gerbils should be separated immediately before it harms to another gerbil.
Reasons for Fighting
Sometimes gerbils will play fighting and it is absolutely normal. So, this will never cause injury. But sometimes the gerbils fight for real. The gerbils’ fight is too rare between their partners as they are bonded. But it can happen without warning. But no need to worry about it. It is quite common in female gerbils than in male gerbils.
Real fighting causes injuries, and sometimes it may also cause death. The reason for most gerbils fighting is because they have gone through a process called declanning(It is a term for when the clan splits apart).
Signs of fighting
- Puffed-up fur and arched back: This is a clear warning sign that a fight is imminent.
- Chasing: The attacker will chase the subordinate gerbil amd they will be fast and aggressive, accompanied by strikes to the other gerbil.
- Biting: Gerbils that have a real fighting will bite face of each other, rear ends, and tails. It is more sticky than nibbling or grooming.
- Fighting in a bal: The gerbils will dive at each other and grab on with their paws and teeth. This will be faster than the rolling around seen in play fighting.
- Teeth chattering and squealing: Adult gerbils are quiet most of the time. Fighting is often done through vocalization.
How to stop fighting?
Gerbils fighting to the death is not an uncommon activity. It is because they are uncomfortable in the same cage and can not get away from each other. They do not know to forgive and forget. So, once your gerbil pets have declanned, they will not stop fighting until they kill one of them in each other.
- If your gerbils are fighting, act fast, and they reach the arguing point of fighting, it can get nasty quickly.
- When you find your gerbils fighting each other, you need to remove one from the cage and place it in another cage.
- Try to identify which gerbil was the winner. The loser gerbil will be injured around its tail end from being attacked as it runs away.
- You need to place the other gerbil which is not involved in the fighting with the winner gerbil.
Split Cage Method
It is a method to stop the fighting between two gerbils. But if you don’t have the space in the cage, you have to use a second cage(this method is not used if there are three or more gerbils).
- Take out your gerbil pets from the cage and place them into separate cages.
- Keep your gerbils separate for at least one week. This allows them to recover from the fight and their injuries. During this time, you need to provide them an empty and thoroughly cleaned cage.
- Place a divider in the middle of the cage that should be made up of wire mesh. So that the gerbils can see each other, but they can not touch each other. On each side, provide them some bedding, a water bottle, and food dish.
- Put your gerbils back into the cage, one on each side.
- Swap the gerbils to the opposite side at least once in a day. This will allow them to get used to each other’s scent.
- Watch for positive signs. Encouraging signs include sleeping next to the divider, trying to groom each other through the mesh, and general calmness.
- Remove the divider when your gerbils have been exhibiting positive signs for at least one week. Immediately mix both sides’ bedding together, to combine your gerbils’ scents.
After removing the divider, you need to keep a close watch on your gerbils for the first 24 to 48 hours. If they start to fight again, separate them right away. Start again from step 3. It may take several weeks or months for your gerbils to lead a happy life together again.
Play fighting in gerbils is completely normal and also it is harmless. It can look like real fighting to the owner’s eyes, but nothing to worry about it. If they start to play fighting, your gerbils will finish fighting and then behave as nothing has happened and spend some time together as normal.
Play fighting is interspersed with cuddling, grooming, and toilet breaks or water breaks. It is quiet and does not cause any injuries or blood being drawn.
Signs of play Fighting
- Gerbils chasing each other: The gerbils which do play fight will chase and will be quite slow and non-aggressive. They start to chase each other.
- Jumping: The gerbils will hop around together side-by-side.
- Boxing: The gerbils stand on their hind legs and bat playfully each other with their front paws. They do not hurt or bite each another while play fight.
- Wrestling: The gerbils when they play fight gently roll around with each other in a way, it looks like wrestling. If you look closely, you will see them grooming each other.
The gerbils will fight with their partners for many reasons. But as a guardian, you have to stop their fights by following some guidelines. Because they may end up with injuries or sometimes they may end up with death. So, you have to take care of your gerbils by monitoring them again and again.