Unfortunately, once a pet gerbil has reached adulthood it’s extraordinarily difficult to accurately determine how old it is. These animals reach adulthood at about three or four months, at which point they will be adult-sized and shaped, with a full body of fur and less rounded heads than the youngsters.
It can be tricky to tell the age of a young gerbil, but it’s an important skill to learn if you intend purchasing a pair from a shop. You’ll want to purchase gerbils that are old enough to be safely and naturally separated from their mother - the earliest age at which you should aim to bring gerbils home is when they are about six or seven weeks old.
Knowing how old your gerbils are can be tricky - but this one is very obviously a baby
How To Recognize a Young Gerbil
Make sure the gerbils you are looking at are not too young to be purchased. Buying them when too young will endanger their lives and help prop up to a business that doesn’t have the best interests of the animals at heart. Remember, you’re aiming to find a pair of gerbils that are at least six or seven weeks old.
DO NOT PURCHASE if your potential pets have any of the following characteristics:
- Eyes that have not yet opened (this happens at about the three week mark).
- Sparse or thin fur - gerbils are bald when they are born and develop hair over the course of several weeks. Once they have thick, full fur they are probably about four weeks old.
- Still suckling - i.e. not on solid food. These animals have not yet been weaned off their mother’s milk.
It is quite difficult to determine when a gerbil is the right age, so to some extent you will have to rely on the breeder, store assistant, or shelter/rescue worker for accurate information. Don’t be afraid to quiz them, and make sure the dates they give you add up, based on the note above.