A lone gerbil is a sad gerbil!
Unlike the solitary Syrian hamster, gerbils live in fairly large social groups when found in the wild. This makes gerbils ideal pets, as they are naturally more outgoing, trusting and often bond to their human companions!
The Myth: If I get two gerbils, they will bond to each other and not me!
The Truth: Not so! Gerbils require the security and companionship of another of their species! When kept alone, gerbils often become lonely, depressed, paranoid and more prone to biting and bolting. A lone gerbil will be more likely to be overweight, it’s lifespan will decrease, and it may develop obsessive behaviors such as bar biting. Gerbils need to be housed in same gender pairs in order to live a long, happy, healthy life! They enjoy grooming and sleeping with each other, playing together, and even running on the same wheel together! They will also be more active and enjoyable to watch when kept in pairs, as well as easier to tame.
Female gerbils tend to be a bit more temperamental than males, and may fight as they become older. If it is a companion pet you seek, I suggest a pair of males, preferably purchased at the same time from the same cage.
If you have unknowingly purchased a lone gerbil and are seeking a companion for it, first identify it’s gender, and then seek out a reliable source for it’s same gender companion! Once acquired, use the split cage method to introduce them. Gerbils are usually open to accepting new friends, especially when already alone, but don’t get in a hurry! Gerbil fights can be bloody and violent! Be sure your gerbils are displaying friendly behavior (such as sleeping next to one another on opposite sides of the divider) with one another for an extended period before leaving them alone together.