I have two gerbils, Thelma and Louise. They were very attached to each other; they played and romped and groomed, and it was very cute. However, today Thelma died unexpectedly
Do I get another gerbil to keep Louise company? Do gerbils accept new gerbils easily, or will I have a bloodbath on my hands?
RIP Thelma The Fat.
My condolences. But if Thelma died unexpectedly, Louise might not have long to go either. How old is Louise?
I had gerbils, once, and they died regularly. Fortunately, however, they died quite near to one another, so I always bought new ones in pairs.
Thelma and Louise were both acquired a year and a half ago. Thelma was really, really fat and lethargic ever since I first got her; Louise is hyper and neurotic and skinny. I think Thelma ate herself to death, whereas Louise probably has a while to go.
Has anyone ever introduced a new gerbil to a gerbil they’ve had for a while? I will get another one as long as it doesn’t all end in tears.
Also, the ground it totally frozen now and I can’t bury Thelma. What do I do with her fat little fuzzy body? I could put her in the freezer and keep her until spring, but ewww. I will not just throw her in the garbage either.
I’d have to cremate her myself, since I can’t afford to pay a vet to do it (between moving, my cat’s health problems, my new transmission and Xmas, I’m broke). So that’s right out. I think I’m going to freeze her, as gross as that is.
My main concern is about poor Louise, who is now living alone in her cage for the first time ever.
God, this December has sucked.
Sorry to hear about Thelma. Gerbils are pretty social animals, but it’s always a gamble to introduce a new gerbil into another’s habitat. If you notice aggression, a good trick is to take both gerbils and put them in a very small box. A box just big enough to hold the two of them, without smashing them. Clean out the enclosure and rearrange the items inside. The idea is, the gerbils will be unable to fight in such a small space, and I’m guessing they get used to each other’s scent, without being threatened.
Cleaning the cage and rearranging it, seems to put the new introduction on more equal footing with the existing gerbil, as it’s difficult to feel protective of a territory, if it’s foreign. I’ve always held the box in my hands at first, to make sure it is small enough to prevent fighting. (you’ll definitely feel it if the two start wrestling, it means you need a smaller box) I don’t worry about the thickness, since I never leave them in there long enough to chew through. After about 15 minutes, supervising the box the entire time, I set the box in the enclosure and open an end. I continue to watch until I’m sure there isn’t going to be bloodshed.
15 minutes is long enough for a gerbil to chew through a thin box, but with a strange gerbil to smell and get acquainted with, the chewing doesn’t start until you’ve already accomplished what you wanted - a truce. This plan is not 100% effective, and there have been occasions where I’ve needed to put them back into the box for another “I can smell you, but I can’t kill you” session. Good luck.
Aw, I’m sorry that this happened to you.
Perhaps you should call the local humane society/animal control/whatever to see what the prices are for cremating a gerbil. For such a small animal, perhaps they would be willing to negotiate a lower price for it than usual.
Good luck on finding a solution you’re comfortable with.
My condolences. My gerbil, Tim, died in May. Then his brother Terry developed cancer and had to be put to sleep in August. Then I got two new (female) gerbils, one of whom was pregnant. She had seven babies and five of them died of an infection.
My track record for gerbils this year sucked.
As for introducing a new gerbil to Louise, it really depends on how old she is. If she’s less than a year old, go for it. If she’s older, you won’t have much luck. Gerbils get very attached to each other and don’t take to “strangers” kindly. Especially females. Best chance to increase Louise’s lifespan is to handle her a lot and give her extra love. Gerbils do get depressed after their buddy dies.
I can’t help you with the cremation issue, since I buried all mine.
If you’re like me (and I know I am), you’ll probably feel like a bad Gerbil Mommy when you lose one of those lil’ darlings. Just to reassure you, from what you said about Thelma “eating herself to death,” it sounds like there was a thyroid problem. Veterinary science can’t do much with such tiny organs.
Give Louise an extra pat for me.
SpazCat, who has owned six pairs of gerbils
I got a recipe for gerbil stew if you want it . . .